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Happy Netflixing: The 8 best Christmas episodes of classic TV shows

The holiday season comes with a number of magical things: presents, Christmas trees, carolers, and food. People gather around the television to watch their favorite Christmas movies, like It’s a Wonderful Life and Home Alone—but it’s the holiday episodes of television’s best series that go unnoticed. Luckily, a lot of them are hanging out on Netflix, just waiting to become part of your holiday tradition.

Below are eight of the best holiday episodes of classic TV shows to get you into the spirit for the warmest and fuzziest time of the year.

Grey’s Anatomy | Season 2 | Episode 12 | “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”


Grey’s Anatomy gave us some of its best material in the early years, and its first attempt at a holiday episode gave us nothing less than perfection. In the midst of the Izzie’s extreme Christmas makeover, the doctors of Seattle Grace (Mercy-West-Grey-Sloan-Memorial) are, unsurprisingly, lacking enthusiasm for the season. Derek can’t quite channel the Christmas spirit for his perky patient and his family, Cristina and Burke butt heads over faith and science when a patient needs a heart, and Alex is struggling to pass an important test during his intern year.

Christmas quotable: “It’s what Jesus would freakin’ do!” —Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl)

Orange Is the New Black | Season 1 | Episode 12 | “Can’t Fix Crazy”

Okay, so you know when your mom tells you how much she wants grandkids and your grandma keeps asking about what exactly your nonprofit job is? This is the episode you put on to send a subtle message. In the midst of the Christmas pageant, Piper is dealing with isolation from most of the prison. When facing a fellow inmate hell-bent on revenge, Piper goes full-blown Mike Tyson while a beautiful children’s choir sings “O Come All Ye Faithful.”

Christmas quotable: “I’m the angel of God. I mean, look at my dress! Have you seen it?” —Tiffany Doggett (Taryn Manning)

Glee | Season 2 | Episode 10 | “A Very Glee Christmas”

Remember when everyone liked Glee and we didn’t have all those new characters and everything wasn’t so meta? It was such a good time. The second season’s Christmas special was when the musical dramedy was at its finest. Sure, it was super-campy and tried to teach us a lesson, but when you mix together Sue Sylvester, the entire glee club, the plot of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Becky as a reindeer, it’s what Christmas is all about. Plus, this episode does circle around that really strange holiday episode that happened in season 3. Yikes.

Christmas quotable: “As satisfying as it is to be gifted enough rotisserie ovens to roast an entire hobo, to me, the real joy of Christmas was breaking the collective heart of the glee club.” —Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch)

Gilmore Girls | Season 1 | Episode 10 | “Forgiveness and Stuff”


Somehow, in this very cruel world, we were only gifted ONE Christmas episode of Gilmore Girls. Maybe it’s because the entire town always looked like it was celebrating Christmas. However, in an episode that started with a wedge driven between Stars Hollow’s two favorite ladies, it was Richard’s impromptu Christmas-dinner heart attack that brought the entire Gilmore clan back together. Plus, it’s the first time we get to see Luke and Lorelai take a step toward being the Luke and Lorelai everyone hoped they’d be for seven seasons.

Christmas quotable: “No one has ever made me something quite this disgusting before. I thank you.” —Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) to Luke Danes (Scott Patterson)

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia | Season 6 | Episode 13 | “A Very Sunny Christmas”

On the opposite end of the spectrum, It’s Always Sunny never strays away from complete absurdity. In an attempt to rediscover the meaning of Christmas, the gang ends up just as lovably horrible as they are in just about every episode. In just a short 43 minutes, you can experience the magic of the holidays through nudity, a bloody Santa Claus, a claymation dream sequence, and the long-respected Christmas tradition of throwing rocks at trains. It may not be your family’s Christmas, but it’s how some people celebrate the holidays.

Christmas quotable: “Did you f— my mom, Santa Claus?” —Charlie Kelly (Charlie Day)

The Office | Season 2 | Episode 10 | “Christmas Party”

For anyone who loves their holidays a little corporate, this is where it’s at. After the unwrapping of the most controversial oven mitt to ever exist (sorry, Phyllis), Michael switches Secret Santa over to Yankee Swap, throwing the oven mitt, an iPod, and a very special teapot into the mix. To save the day, Michael buys the office liquor, which results in an unexpected flashing, countless selfies, and a Christmas-ornament massacre for the books.

Christmas quotable: “Happy birthday, Jesus. Sorry your party’s so lame.” —Michael Scott (Steve Carell)

How I Met Your Mother | Season 7 | Episode 12 | “Symphony of Illumination”


Most series seem to hit their holiday stride somewhere in season 1 or 2, but HIMYM proved that sometimes the best episodes come after we get to know the characters better. This episode moves away from the norm and has Robin telling her kids about how she met their father, but we come to find out that Robin can’t have kids at all. The children never existed, and Robin spends the episode trying to deal with the life-changing news. It’s not the show’s funniest episode, but it is one of the most poignant, and the feels you get from it are legen—wait for it—dary.

Christmas quotable: “Yes it is. You don’t want to tell me what’s wrong? Fine. I don’t need to know. You can never stop me from trying to cheer you up.” —Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) to Robin (Cobie Smulders)

Brothers and Sisters | Season 1 | Episode 10 | “Light the Lights”

For anyone who has a mom who really cares about the holidays, this one is for you. Like any other Brothers and Sisters episode, the whole hour is chock-full of drama. In the midst of it all, Nora is working on simply getting the family together, but Paige is making a hard case for the culturally Jewish walker family to celebrate Hannukah. Unfortunately, a lot of the holiday spirit is caught up in secrets of the Ojai Foods business and Kitty’s desire to be an über-Republican. But ultimately, Nora and Paige win when all of the Walkers pull together for the holiday.

Christmas quotable: “What I believe in is the ACLU, and I’ve already signed all you kids up.” —Nora Walker (Sally Field)

Sadly, Netflix doesn’t house all of the holiday greats. For all of us who learned about Hanukkah through the wise eyes of Rugrats‘ Tommy Pickles or those who yearn for the return of the Holiday Armadillo from Friends, it’s tough luck on the Netflix front. Seeing the world through Abed’s claymation mind on Community or celebrating the beauty of Seth Cohen’s Chrismukkah from The O.C. isn’t a possibility yet. But maybe with a Christmas miracle, they’ll be uploaded soon.

What are some of your favorites? Were there any that were missed? Sound off and share your favorite holiday episodes below!

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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