Pop Culture

Best Holiday TV Episodes of All Time Ever*

*In this one writer’s opinion and based on a completely biased system.

I’m not even going to try to hide it: I am a sucker for holiday episodes of my favorite TV shows. I’ll sit and enjoy a holiday episode of shows I don’t really even like on occasion. If you’re looking for a half hour or hour of holiday cheer, here’s my list of best bets for your viewing pleasure.

How I Met Your Mother – “Three Days of Snow”

How I Met Your Mother has embraced the idea of holiday (especially Thanksgiving) episodes and every one has been great. I could populate a list just with episodes of HIMYM, but in the interest of editing, I’ve made my sole pick Season Four’s “Three Days of Snow.” While it’s not strictly a holiday episode, it’s got a holiday feel to it because of the snow storm backdrop. It’s also a great one-off episode for new viewers because you don’t need to know a lot of the character backstory. All you need to know is that Marshall and Lily are one of the loveliest TV couples ever. (Available on Netflix Instant)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – “Amends”

While the series wasn’t huge on winter holiday episodes (Halloween is another story), its one foray into that territory is a great one. A still kind of crazy and very angst ridden Angel is tortured by visions of his past victims, who are all telling him to stop his guilt by killing Buffy. Angel decides the world will be better without him, but intervention from The Powers That Be keep him from sacrificing himself in a tearjerking climax. (Available on HuluPlus)

The West Wing – “In Excelsis Deo”

Another show with an abundance of holiday episodes to choose from, but “In Excelsis Deo” is, hands down, the most Christmassy of them. Our lovely Selena MacIntosh already recapped this amazing episode, so I’m just going to copy her link to the YouTube video of the last scene. You try not to get choked up. (Available to buy on AmazonInstant)

Scrubs – “My Own Personal Jesus”

A pregnant teenager and a crisis of faith make for the perfect Christmas miracle in this first season gem. Watch Turk lose his Christmas spirit in the clip below:

(Available on Netflix Instant)

Boy Meets World – “A Very Topanga Christmas”

Topanga spends her first Christmas with Cory’s family and tensions arise when traditions clash, leading to a visit from Christmas Carol type spirits. Anyone who’s had that awkward first Christmas with the future in-laws can relate.

Seinfeld – “The Strike”

For the rest of us, there’s always Festivus. Fun fact: Seinfeld writer Daniel O’Keefe’s father actually created Festivus and celebrated it with his family. (Available to watch free at

Batman the Animated Series – “Christmas with the Joker”

The Joker actually sings “Jingle Bells, Batman Smells.” Mark Hamill’s animated version of Batman’s foe has truly become one of the most lasting versions and this episode is a high point for the Joker. (Available to buy on Amazon Instant and iTunes)

Doctor Who – “The Christmas Invasion”

I might be biased because this was my first ever Doctor Who episode, but it’s just the most perfect Christmas special ever. A new Doctor, a worldwide threat, Harriet Jones, Prime Minister, and Christmas crackers. It’s just so full of everything good in the world and such a great introduction (if you have friends who are hesitant to jump in). (Available on Netflix Instant)

What is your favorite that I missed? ER? Friends? Community (which I just started so haven’t gotten to the holiday episodes that I’ve heard so much about yet)? Share your must-views in the comments.

By Crystal Coleman

Florida girl living on the west coast. During the day, I consult in social media and community management. I have a really cute puppy (Elphaba) and a British husband (I keep him for his accent) as well as an unhealthy relationship with parentheses.

18 replies on “Best Holiday TV Episodes of All Time Ever*”

About West Wing’s “In Excelsis Deo” – I don’t know if anyone else remembers this, but it was the first West Wing they showed after 9/11 (like, before they aired “Isaac and Ishmael,” I’m guessing b/c they were still filming that ep) and I just remember losing it completely at the military funeral scene. I now can’t watch that episode without thinking of how utterly horrified i was that, because of what happened, there were going to be a whole lot more military funerals soon, and it’s kind of ruined the holiday-ness of it for me.


Out of those, I’ve only seen the Buffy episode.  A TV-holic, I guess I’m not.

But my favorite is from BONES, Santa in the Slush.

Actually, that’s my favorite episode of BONES, period.  The mistletoe kiss.  The Christmas tree in the parking lot.  The look they exchanged even though they were so far away they really couldn’t see each other.  *sigh*  So pretty.


Leave a Reply