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‘Tis the season to binge these 10 holiday episode specials

The holiday season is upon us, nights are getting colder, and days are getting shorter… and ‘tis the season for some holiday content binging. We all have our own traditions and beliefs when the holiday season comes rolling in, but one thing a lot of people enjoy doing yearly is devouring all things holiday related.

More than just the classic holiday movies, our favorite TV shows also try their hand in delivering some holly jolly holiday content. This gives show creators the chance to put our favorite characters in some stressful and relatable holiday situations that we can’t help but laugh and empathize with.

Let these TV show episodes provide short snippets of holiday fun in between your hours long holiday movie marathon mixed with cramming all your work before the holiday break begins. With so many shows giving us countless holiday episode options, here are just a few of our favorites that you should definitely watch or rewatch (or re-rewatch).

Friends – The One With the Holiday Armadillo (season 7, episode 10)

Friends – The One With the Holiday Armadillo still

While the Friends Christmas episodes don’t stand out as much as their thanksgiving episodes, no one can quite forget the Holiday Armadillo after first seeing it.

Ross tries passing down some Hanukkah knowledge to his son Ben, but all Ben cares about is Santa Claus. Giving in to his son’s disinterest, Ross tries renting a Santa outfit but finds out that there are none left. Decked in his culturally ambiguous Holiday Armadillo outfit instead, Ross tries taking the chance to again educate Ben about Hanukkah – that is before Chandler comes in wearing a Santa Claus costume, and later Joey just adds more confusion walking in dressed as Superman for the holidays.

New Girl – The 23rd (season 1, episode 9)New Girl – The 23rd still

While other Christmas episodes from this quirky show might stand out to others, like LAXmas and season 6’s Christmas Eve Eve, it may be right to pay tribute to the first of many iconic holiday episodes.

The gang attends Schmidt’s office party and brings all their individual spice (and baggage) to it. Jess must deal with a quickly progressing relationship she isn’t sure she’s ready for yet, Schmidt begrudgingly dresses up as the office’s “Sexy Santa”, Winston gets roped into babysitting, and Nick has good intentions but poor execution (which isn’t too off brand).

Gilmore Girls – Forgiveness and Stuff (season 1, episode 10)Gilmore Girls – Forgiveness and Stuff still

While episodes like The Bracebridge Dinner of season 2 provide all around drama that the holiday season may sometimes evoke, season 1’s holiday episode brings us up close and personal with the nitty gritty of family drama during the holidays.

The holidays aren’t perfect, family drama doesn’t just magically disappear, in fact the holidays are usually a major time for it to happen. The Gilmore girls’ holiday dinner is already full of drama before they find out that Lorelai’s father was hospitalized. The episode explores the duty and guilt that family obligations sometimes make us feel, but it also reminds us that every fight has a resolution if we look for it hard enough.

The Office – Christmas Party (season 2, episode 10)The Office – Christmas Party still

The Office was always an entertaining ride, but maybe even more so when these co-workers are forced to interact in non-work settings like the holidays. Join the ride as Michael uses Secret Santa as his chance to gain Ryan’s (best) friendship. Watch the chaos that ensues as Michael breaks the $20 limit on gifts and laugh along with Jim and Pam as they bond over their shared inside joke.

The O.C. – The Best Chrismukkah Ever (season 1, episode 13)

The O.C. - The Best Chrismukkah Ever still

This episode may be an old (or new) favorite for all those people that have a complicated religious upbringing. It’s the holiday season and Seth tries to take the two sides of his upbringing (Jewish and Christian) to create one whole celebration. The episode was also a chance for characters like Kirsten and Ryan to cut off some toxic ties in their life instead of trying to save face in the name of the holiday spirit.

Thanks to this show, the Chrismukkah holiday went mainstream and was eagerly talked about online as people marveled, applauded, and even celebrated it.

How I Met Your Mother – Symphony of Illumination (season 7, episode 12)How I Met Your Mother – Symphony of Illumination still

A bit more on the melancholy side of holiday specials, this episode is all around emotional. Roles are switched as it opens with Robin telling her kids the story of “how she met their father”. She tells them about some life altering news that she decided to keep to herself. Clearly distressed, Ted tries to cheer Robin up even as she pushes him away, leading to one well timed light show in their very own apartment. The drama of the episode is tempered with some classic HIMYM comedic writing and the storyline of Marshall as he tries to make his house the best decorated one in the suburbs.

Other beloved Christmas specials from the show include the censored story of How Lily Stole Christmas after Ted called her a “grinch” — what he really meant is up to your own imagination.

Community – Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas (season 2, episode 11)

Community – Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas still

Another emotional holiday watch, Community does what it does best by delivering an emotional episode wrapped in a genre and medium defying story. More than just using Claymation, this episode also has its own original songs.

Our favorite study group is turned into clay for the holidays, a change which only Abed can see. Now the motley crew must travel across the whimsical world of Planet Abed to rediscover the meaning of Christmas as they initiate a group therapy session for the sake of Abed’s mental health.

Black Mirror – White Christmas (season 2, episode 4)

Black Mirror – White Christmas still

Black Mirror took their own twist on the holiday season and it’s everything you’d expect from them. This episode is smart, dark, and eerily close to reality– but this time, set against the backdrop of the holidays.

Two men are isolated together in a cabin surrounded by nothing but snow. They decide to tell each other Christmas stories to pass the time, but as more time passes, they start to realize that they barely know anything about each other despite working together for years.

Doctor Who – Runaway Bride (2006)Doctor Who – Runaway Bride still

Maybe a lighter choice if you’re in the mood for some holiday sci-fi but aren’t feeling equipped to take on the depressing depths of Black Mirror. What better way for David Tennant’s Doctor to transition from the heart wrenching loss of Rose Tyler than by being introduced to Catherine Tate’s quick witted and sharp-tongued Donna Noble?

A woman in a wedding gown appears in the TARDIS out of thin air. The Doctor tries to bring her back to her wedding reception but it’s being assaulted by Santa Claus robots. It turns out that these holiday themed robots are being controlled by the Empress of the Racnoss as she tries to awaken her children that are buried in the ship that makes up the earth’s crust. Still reeling from the loss of Rose Tyler, the Doctor returns to his more ruthless roots. Donna declines his offer to be his next companion though she suggests that he does need one to help him reel in his temperament.

Another standout Doctor Who holiday special may be the 2010 A Christmas Carol starring Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor. This special put the iconic Doctor Who sci-fi branding on the classic Charles Dickens story it’s named after.

Mr. Bean – Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean (season 1, episode 7)

Mr. Bean – Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean still

Finishing strong with a memorable blast from the past. This episode is filled with laughs and holiday silliness. Let the wave of holiday nostalgia hit as Mr. Bean shops for décor, conducts a band, and buys his girlfriend the wrong gift. It’s impossible to keep a straight face throughout the episode, especially during the nativity scene (where a Doctor Who dalek even makes a special appearance).

Put on your favorite holiday sweater, cozy in with some hot chocolate and popcorn, and have a happy holiday episode binge!

Other POP! stories that you might like:

10 movies you probably didn’t know were based on books

10 female stars that have led an action film way before Jennifer Lawrence’s Hunger Games

10 Filipino horror movies to make your skin tingle with fear

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