When the weather outside gets frightful, the television often serves up a variety of holiday-themed episodes and specials during which we can see how our favorite friends and families from the small screen celebrate the season. There are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of memorable Holiday specials, episodes, and even made-for-TV movies, but here are the ones I can’t resist.
Seinfeld: The Strike (1997: Season 9, Episode 10)
If you’ve never seen this classic Seinfeld ep, it’s likely that you’ve at least heard Jerry Stiller’s voice saying “Festivus, for the rest of us!” Here, Frank Costanza, George’s father, introduces us to Festivus, a new type of holiday in which, instead of a Christmas tree, there’s a Festivus pole, and instead of gift-giving, there’s an “Airing of Grievances.” Don’t like the commercialism of the holidays, or you’re not a religious person? Well, there’s always Festivus…for the rest of us.
Modern Family: Express Christmas (2011: Season 3, Episode 10)
In this episode, the Pritchett-Dunphy-Tuckers divvy up the holiday responsibilities as they need to celebrate Christmas early on December 16. Hilarity ensues as Gloria and Luke invade the attic looking for ornaments, Claire and Haley search for the perfect present, Cam and Jay bond over wrapping presents, Phil and Manny go grocery shopping, and, in my favorite part of the episode, Mitch, Alex and Lily search for a tree. It’s a great episode filled with unique pairings of your favorite ModFam characters.
Friends: The One With the Holiday Armadillo (2000: Season 7, Episode 10)
Friends was more known for its Thanksgiving episodes, but this Christmas/Hanukkah-themed episode is certainly a fan favorite. Ross looks to teach his son Ben about Jewish holiday traditions, but he worries that skipping out on Santa will be a disappointment and thus goes in search of a new holiday mascot. When a Hanukkah-themed suit cannot be found, Ross instead invents the Holiday Armadillo, who informs Ben about Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights and more. Santa (Chandler) also makes an appearance.
A Garfield Christmas Special (1987)
A Charlie Brown Christmas and Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas are certainly animated holiday classics, but for me, A Garfield Christmas is my nostalgic favorite. Jon, Garfield and Odie head to the family farm to celebrate the holidays, where we meet Jon’s sweet Mom, farmer Dad, younger brother Doc Boy, and wisecracking Grandma. Odie sneaks off to work on a secret project while Garfield learns about Grandma’s deceased husband. You just might get a bit misty-eyed when Odie gives Garfield a homemade back scratcher and Garfield presents Grandma with letters from her husband he found in the barn!
Happy Holidays, everyone! What’s a TV holiday episode you love to watch every year?
Jason is the Email Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.