Without fail, each year brings new Christmas-themed content to everyone’s homes, be it for the ears or eyes, but that doesn’t mean years past should be ignored.
As the weather turns colder, a day on the couch under a cozy blanket might sound enticing, so here’s a look at the best holiday-themed episodes of television.
“Glee:” Extraordinary Merry Christmas
Left to right: Jenna Ushkowitz, Lea Michele and Dianna Agron in the “Glee” episode “Extraordinary Merry Christmas.” (FOX Image Collection via Getty Images)
Nothing says Christmastime like carols, which was the specialty of the “Glee” cast.
In “Extraordinary Merry Christmas,” the titular glee club is given the opportunity of a lifetime to star in a Christmas special on television, but they turn down an opportunity to volunteer for the needy to do so — until they’re filled with the giving spirit and find a way to take both paths.
“Schitt’s Creek:” Merry Christmas, Johnny Rose
“Schitt’s Creek” cast left to right: Annie Murphy, Daniel Levy, Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy (Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Admiration of “Schitt’s Creek” skyrocketed over just the last few years despite debuting on television in 2015. As the show grew in popularity, it seemed fitting that a Christmas episode be squeezed in.
In the special episode titled “Merry Christmas, Johnny Rose,” the once-wealthy Johnny Rose reminisces about the extravagant Christmas parties he and his wife, Moira, once hosted before ending up homeless and without a dime.
In typical “Schitt’s Creek” fashion, Johnny’s family — and the town — come together to throw a last-minute party on Christmas Eve, despite various obstacles.
“New Girl:” Christmas Eve Eve
“New Girl” cast with special guest star Darlene Love. (FOX Image Collection via Getty Images)
After several years together, Jessica Day decides to spruce up Christmas with her roommates by organizing a secret Santa gift exchange.
When Jessica selects her ex-boyfriend Nick, she has to put on her big girl shoes and pays to fly his current girlfriend, played by Megan Fox, out for the holiday.
Outside of gift-giving, however, the end of the episode brings a special treat with an appearance from Darlene Love, a music industry staple known for her Christmas tunes. She even sings her holiday hit, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”
“Friends:” The One with the Holiday Armadillo
Matthew Perry (left), Courteney Cox (center) and David Schwimmer (right) in “Friends.” Schwimmer’s Ross Gellar is dressed as the fictional Holiday Armadillo (Warner Bros. Television)
Not every show centers on characters that celebrate Christmas, which was partially the case with the hit sitcom “Friends.”
Ross Gellar learns that he will be hosting his young son for the holidays and decides to teach him about their Jewish heritage. Frustrated with the lack of Hanukkah-themed icons to entertain his kiddo, he chooses to make one himself.
Ross hilariously debuts the Holiday Armadillo to teach little Ben about the Jewish celebration. Ross’ friends pitch in to help celebrate a multicultural holiday and show up dressed as Santa Claus and Superman as well.
“30 Rock:” Ludachristmas
Tina Fey, Elaine Stritch and Alec Baldwin in “30 Rock.” (Nicole Rivelli/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)
For some, the holidays are known as a point of tension and stress, which is what “Ludachistmas” addresses when various characters’ families come to visit.
Liz Lemon’s loving family pays her a visit, but the crew is quickly unraveled when the mother of Alec Baldwin‘s Jack Donaghy sinks her teeth into the seemingly perfect family.
The family feud takes place all while Lemon’s employees are forced to spend the day learning about Christmas as they wait for their annual holiday celebration called “Ludachristmas” to roll around.
“Modern Family:” Undeck the Halls
A still from “Undeck the Halls,” the first “Modern Family” Christmas episode. (Adam Taylor/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)
In the long-running series’ first-ever holiday episode, the Dunphy clan goes about celebrating Christmas differently than most families.
When Phil and Claire discover a cigarette burn on their couch, they threaten to cancel Christmas until one of their kids confesses to the wrongdoing, while Mitchell and Cam get a mall Santa fired and Jay feels tense about celebrating the holiday with his wife and stepson with their Columbian traditions.
As is generally the case with “Modern Family,” each of the stories comes to a close as the large crew learns that during the holiday season, family and kindness are important above all else.
“The Jeffersons:” 984 W. 124th St., Apt 5C
Isabel Sanford (right) and Sherman Hemsley (left) in “The Jeffersons.” (CBS via Getty Images)
“The Jeffersons” was a historic television show because it was among the first to showcase a successful Black family, so it stands to reason that its holiday-themed episodes would be noteworthy and heartwarming.
In “984 W. 124th St., Apt 5C,” George asks Leroy to deliver a package to an address in Harlem that George’s wife, Louise, has never heard of. Leroy forgets to take the package and George insists on taking it himself.
Louise’s suspicions are raised by the mysterious package, and her worry intensifies when she finds out George has been sending money to the address as well. When she follows her husband to the Harlem address, she realizes that it was his childhood home and that he’s providing the family living there with the help he never received.
“Home Improvement:” ‘Twas The Flight Before Christmas
“Home Improvement” stars Tim Allen and Richard Karn in “Twas the Flight Before Christmas.” (Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)
Christmas time is full of obstacles for Tim Allen‘s character, a DIY television host named Tim Taylor, who gets stuck at an airport with his co-host, Al, due to snow.
While Tim and Al try to deal with the strange staffers at the airport, Tim’s sons are back home trying to decorate for the neighborhood Christmas lights contest.
Things are extra tense for Al, too, as his wife gives him an ultimatum — her or his mother. Luckily, everyone is able to scrape together a holiday as happy as it can be.
“The Office:” “Christmas Party”
Rainn Wilson and Steve Carrell in “The Office.” (Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank)
When it comes time for the Dunder Mifflin staff to celebrate Christmas, the whole crew dives into a gift exchange, in which Michael Scott gives an expensive iPod to an employee and receives from another an oven mitt.
Michael tries to remedy the situation in his favor, only making things worse until he leaves to buy booze, which certainly lightens the mood.
After everyone seems to have made amends and ended up with their appropriate gifts, the staff heads out to continue celebrating at a nearby bar.
“The West Wing:” “In Excelsis Deo”
Cast of “The West Wing” while filming “In Excelsis Deo.” (Eric Liebowitz/NBCU Photo Bank)
Being a drama, Christmas episodes had a bit of a different tone on “The West Wing” — this one involving death, a hate crime and collusion.
President Bartlet has to balance his positive public image and the devastating news of a hate crime with last-minute Christmas shopping while his employees find a way to keep a potential public relations problem hush-hush.
Meanwhile, Toby reflects on morality when he learns that a war veteran died while wearing a coat he once donated to a thrift store as C.J. tries to fend off a reporter with romantic intentions.