Winter holidays are in full swing with Christmas episodes and specials dominating the programming on our favorite channels. Whether or not you celebrate Christmas, there are still plenty of options for holiday TV.
From Chanukah to Kwanzaa to Festivus, these holiday episodes and TV special are sure to knock your socks off! We’ve even thrown in that slightly horrifying (but still hilarious) “Star Wars Holiday Special.” (You know, the one George Lucas wants us all to forget … but we all know that’s not gonna happen.) Take a look!
Friends – “The One With the Holiday Armadillo”
Ross’s son, Ben, comes to visit for the holidays, and Ross decides to introduce him (who has previously only celebrated Christmas) to Chanukah. But when Ross can’t find a Santa suit for the big day, he rents an armadillo costume and creates a very special friend of Santa: the Holiday Armadillo. Hilarity ensues as Ross does his best to paint the Chanukah picture for Ben. (Meanwhile in teh ep, Monica agonizes over how to get Rachel to move out of Joey’s apartment.)
The X-Files – “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas“
Mulder and Scully find themselves staking out a haunted house on Christmas Eve. When the ghosts of lovers who murdered one another in a pact appear, the agents are faced with a glimpse into their own identities–and their relationship.
Seinfeld – “The Strike”
After a 12-year strike, Kramer returns to his job at H&H Bagels, and George makes up a fake charity. This episode introduced the world to the miracle of Festivus, an original holiday created by George’s father, whose celebration (including the signature Festivus pole) is hilariously demonstrated for George’s boss, Mr. Kruger.
Everybody Hates Chris – “Everybody Hates Kwanzaa”
Chris’s father, Julius, convinces his family to celebrate Kwanzaa instead of Christmas because he doesn’t want to spend money on gifts. Meanwhile, Chris helps Kill Moves locate his mother as part of his Christmas project for school.
Rugrats – “Chanukah”
The Rugrats’ grandpa Boris and his long-time rival, Shlomo, are at odds over who will play the lead in the Chanukah play at the local synagogue. When the babies decide to try to defeat “The Meanie of Chanukah” at the program, they’re relegated to the nursery. Later, Shlomo and Boris reconcile, and Shlomo reads the children a storybook about the origin and meaning of Chanukah.
The O.C. – “The Best Chrismukkah Ever”
Seth introduces Ryan to Chrismukkah, a fusion of his Catholic mom’s Christmas and his Jewish dad’s Chanukah celebrations. Marissa struggles with deepening depression, while Seth continues deceiving Summer and Anna by dating them both at the same time … yet telling each of them he’s chosen her over the other. The girls figure out what’s going on, and hatch a plan to force Seth to make a choice between them.
The Goldbergs – “A Christmas Story”
Beverly creates “Super Chanukah” to get her ho-hum family more excited about the holiday, but it’s too much like Christmas. When Adam gets fed up with Barry spending most of his time with Lainey instead of him, he triple-dog dares his brother…with a very unexpected outcome.
Wanna see how a misfit reindeer with a glowing red nose manages to save Christmas for everyone? Watch this classic, based on the children’s song of the same name. Rudolph follows the famous red-nosed reindeer through a coming-of-age story that’s sure to delight kids and send waves of nostalgia (and maybe a little confusion) crashing over adults. With its stop-motion flair and a plot that twists and turns in several, ahem, interesting ways, this 1964 Rankin/Bass TV movie is a can’t-miss (at least once) classic.
The Grinch of Whoville plots to steal Christmas by dressing as Santa Claus and stealing all the Whos’ gifts and decorations on Christmas Eve. When an adorable little Who named Cindy Lou thwarts his plans, the Grinch finds that even the grinchiest of grumps can’t keep his two-small heart from growing … and leading him to restore Christmas for the entire town.
Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and the entire classic Star Wars gang face the perils of Darth Vader and the Galactic Empire to get Chewbacca back to his home planet in time to celebrate Life Day, the most important day of the year for Wookiees. Along the way, they encounter familiar faces, including Bea Arthur (why?), Harvey Korman (again…why?), and more. If you need a good laugh this holiday season–and you don’t mind being slightly disturbed by this trippy outtake from the Star Wars universe–get your hands on a copy of this gem.
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Guest post by Haley Walden, a freelance writer, editor, aspiring novelist, Renaissance woman, and geek extraordinaire.
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Do you have a favorite special or holiday episode we haven’t listed here? Share it in the comments below!