12 Days of 3GEM – Day 1: Top Ten Great Christmas Episodes of Great TV Shows

We’re kicking off our 12 days of 3GEM with these episodes of some of our favourite TV shows! They all celebrate the season in their own unique ways, and are sure to spread some holiday cheer to you!

10. The X Files: “How The Ghosts Stole Christmas”

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It hasn’t been a merry Christmas Eve for FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. Mulder is spending the holiday alone, and Scully has been stuck doing last minute shopping: “If I heard Silent Night one more time, I was going to start taking hostages”. The two end up spending the night at a haunted mansion, where the spirits of two lovers try to turn the agents against each other. The episode’s heart-warming ending is a favourite among fans who “shipped” Mulder and Scully.
9. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: “A Very Sunny Christmas”

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The Paddy’s Pub gang celebrate Christmas the only way they know how. Sweet Dee and Dennis lament how their father never did anything nice for them on the holidays, and decide to give him a haunting a la A Christmas Carol. Meanwhile, Charlie and Mac get into the holiday spirit by reminiscing on past Christmases, and recover some bizarre childhood memories in the process. Their holiday antics include a mall Santa visit that ends in bloodshed, and a scene involving a couch that will have you reaching for some eye bleach.
8. South Park: “Woodland Critter Christmas”

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This is the last MA-rated episode on the list, I swear. Stan stumbles across a group of adorable forest animals with creative names (including Chickadeey the Chickadee), who are building a manger for a pregnant squirrel. After reluctantly helping them build their manger, he volunteers to help defend them from a mountain lion. Without giving away too much of the plot, all hell soon breaks loose.
7. Friends: “The One With The Holiday Armadillo”

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Ross has his son Ben over for the holidays, and wants him to learn more about his Jewish heritage. When he doesn’t seem to be interested, Ross caves, and decides to buy a Santa outfit. Every costume store in town is out of stock, forcing him to create a new character: Santa’s representative to the Southeast United States (and Mexico), the Holiday Armadillo! Ross’s attempt to teach Ben about Hanukkah becomes confusing when Chandler arrives dressed as Santa, and then even more confusing when Joey enters dressed as Superman.
6. The Simpsons: “Grift of The Magi”

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Christmas With The Simpsons is one of my favourite holiday DVDs. While the first episode ever was a Christmas episode, it was made when the series was still finding its niche. Although Mr. Plow is one of the show’s best episodes, it technically isn’t a Christmas episode. Grift Of The Magi is the one with the most laughs, with jokes aimed at commercialism (“If you don’t have Funzo, you’re nothing!”) and Homer’s own stupidity (“This’ll make three Christmases I saved, versus eight I ruined, two were kind of a draw”).
5. Mystery Science Theater 3000: “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians”

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This low budget, low quality film, made in 1964, sees Jolly Saint Nick being kidnapped by martians, and eventually trying to teach them the true meaning of Christmas. On its own, this ill-conceived film is unwatchable, but when it was discovered by the creators of Mystery Science Theater 3000, and given new commentary by Joel, Tom Servo, and Crow T. Robot, it became a favourite of “so bad, it’s good” film fans.
4. Futurama: “Xmas Story”

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It’s Fry’s first Christmas (or rather, “Xmas”) in the 31st Century, and it’s hard for him to adjust to the strange new ways the holiday is celebrated, from decorated palm trees, to a murderous robot Santa, who believes everybody is naughty. Fry looks to find the perfect gift for Leela, while Bender tries to make merry with a group of homeless robots.
3. Doctor Who: “A Christmas Carol”

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This list wouldn’t be complete without at least one retelling of the classic Charles Dickens story. On Christmas Eve, The Doctor races against time to save the passengers of an out-of-control spaceship, including his companions Amy and Rory. The closest landing point is owned by the Scrooge-like Kazran Sardick, who coldly refuses to let the ship land. With the help of his TARDIS, The Doctor gives Sardick a visit from the ghosts of his past, present, and future.
2. American Dad: “For Whom The Sleigh Bell Tolls”

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Okay, I lied, I’ve got one more MA-rated episode for you. The ultra-conservative Stan Smith gets his son Steve a gun for Christmas. His holiday joy is short-lived when Steve accidentally shoots Santa. When a group of elves bring him back to life, Santa vows to get revenge on the Smith family. Hayley also hopes her father will accept her fiancé into their family, leading to a touching moment during the climactic shootout.
1. The Office: “Christmas Party”

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Dunder Mifflin holds what is likely the world’s most awkward Secret Santa. For reasons only Michael Scott can understand, he goes far beyond the $20 limit, and buys a video iPod for temp worker Ryan. Michael becomes inexplicably upset when he gets a homemade gift from Phyllis, and turns the Secret Santa into a “Yankee Swap”. Gifts that were specially picked for other employees are thrown aside as everyone tries to get the iPod, while Jim’s thoughtful gift for his crush, Pam, is in danger of not getting to her at all. No show captured the awkwardness of office holiday parties better than The Office.