12 best Christmas TV episodes ever

5 mins
Streaming windows with a Christmas bow.

It’s tradition to create episodes of popular TV shows specifically geared toward Christmas. Sometimes they are inserted naturally into the season during December, but other times they serve as viewing events that can stand alone from the rest of the series. Especially in the latter cases, Christmas episodes are highly anticipated and, usually, high-quality television.

So fire up your streaming device, crack out the egg nog, and hit play on a great holiday TV special. Here are our favorites!

Black Mirror: White Christmas

We’ve written about this particular episode before—specifically that it’s about non-consensual consciousness transfer, unauthorized surveillance, and murder. White Christmas stars Jon Hamm and Rafe Spall as two men conversing in a cabin situated in a remote frozen landscape. As we’ve said before, let’s leave the details on this one light—it won’t end the way you expect, we promise!

Available on: Netflix

30 Rock: Ludachristmas

Ludachristmas is the first 30 Rock Christmas episode! The staff at TGS (a satirical version of Saturday Night Live) are preparing for a debaucherous holiday party, and Liz Lemon’s (Tina Fey) family is in town to visit. Jack Donaghy’s (Alec Baldwin) overbearing mother, Colleen (Elaine Stritch), also visits, but Jack finds himself drawn to the kinder demeanor of the Lemons.

Available on: Amazon Prime Video

Frasier: Perspectives on Christmas

In one of the most fun Christmas episodes of Frasier, Perspectives on Christmas follows each of the main characters—Frasier (Kelsey Grammer), Niles (David Hyde Pierce), Martin (John Mahoney), Daphne (Jane Leeves), and Roz (Peri Gilpin)—as they air grievances about their lackluster Christmas experiences. The best part is watching Martin attempt to hit a high note on “O Holy Night” (clip above)!

Available on: Hulu

The Office (UK): Christmas Special (parts 1 and 2)

It has been three years since we last saw the staff at Wernham Hogg. Gareth Keenan (Mackenzie Crook) is now the manager and David Brent (Ricky Gervais) is now a traveling salesman and has been hard at work on his music. All staff, old and new, are preparing for a huge Christmas party reunion. For all of the show’s sardonicism, Christmas Special is quite heartwarming.

Available on: Hulu, BritBox

Mr. Bean: Merry Christmas Mr. Bean

Watch the full episode courtesy of the official Mr. Bean YouTube channel.

Mr. Bean is one of the most universally recognized and loved comedy characters in modern history. One of the show’s most successful qualities is the lack of dialogue in favor of physical comedy. In Merry Christmas Mr. Bean, we follow Mr. Bean as he does his Christmas shopping, becomes a conductor for a Salvation Army band, and prepares for a Christmas dinner with his long-suffering girlfriend Irma Gobb.

Available on: Hulu, Amazon Prime Video

The X-Files: How the Ghosts Stole Christmas

One of the funniest and most light-hearted episodes of The X-Files, How the Ghosts Stole Christmas follows Scully and Mulder into an allegedly haunted house on Christmas Eve. Mulder is motivated by the story of a young couple who committed suicide on Christmas Day in 1917 and drags a reluctant Scully along to investigate.

Available on: Hulu

Seinfeld: The Strike

The episode that brought Festivus to a wider international audience! In the universe of Seinfeld, Festivus was invented by George’s (Jason Alexander) father, Frank (Jerry Stiller), whose goal was to create a holiday free from the obligations and responsibilities of Christmas. Festivus, a satire holiday, involves use of a Festivus pole in place of a Christmas tree and an annual airing of grievances. There are other threads to this episode but honestly, the whole Festivus story outshines everything else.

Available on: Netflix

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: A Very Sunny Christmas

The gang—Mac (Rob McElhenney), Charlie (Charlie Day), Dennis (Glenn Howerton), Dee (Kaitlin Olson), and Frank (Danny Devito)—engage in a double-episode extravaganza of the exact type of nonsense you’ve come to love. In this Christmas special, Mac and Charlie uncover shocking revelations about their childhood holiday traditions, and Dennis and Dee set out to exact revenge on Frank for the miserable childhood he put them through.

Available on: Hulu

Arrested Development: Afternoon Delight

The Bluth Company Christmas party is around the corner and Gob Bluth (Will Arnett) is the new CEO. Every year, Bluth Company staff roast the CEO but Gob doesn’t take this well and fires everyone. Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) must then find a way to rehire everybody or face ruining Christmas for everyone. 

Available on: Netflix

Hey Arnold!: Arnold’s Christmas

This one’s a tearjerker! Arnold’s Christmas follows Arnold and his Secret Santa quest to reunite his neighbor Mr. Huynh with his long-lost daughter. The less said about this one the better. 

Available on: Hulu

Community: Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas

In a break in the show’s usual format—side note, what is normal for Community?—Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas is a stop-motion Christmas special. Abed (Danny Pudi) has a nervous breakdown and begins to retreat into his own mind. As grim as that may sound on paper, this episode is actually quite touching.

Available on: Hulu, Amazon Prime Video

Veronica Mars: An Echolls Family Christmas

Everybody’s favorite neo-noir detective shines in this holiday special. On the eve of the Echolls family Christmas party, Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) investigates the theft of $5,000 at a poker party. Meanwhile, Veronica’s father, Keith (Enrico Colantoni), has been hired by Aaron Echolls (Harry Hamlin) to investigate a stalker who may make an appearance at the party.

Available on: Hulu


Read more: The 53 best Christmas movies to stream in 2021

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