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Monday, April 22, 2024

For your entertainment: The best Christmas episodes for winter break

Beginning to look a lot like Christmas (copy)
Beginning to look a lot like Christmas (copy)

Winter is coming. The Christmas season is officially upon us, and Winter Break is just around the corner. In between the baking, shopping and decorating, you’re going to have a lot of free time to watch TV guilt-free. Isn’t that the greatest gift of all? Here are some of my favorite holiday episodes to get you through the next few weeks:

“The Office” Season 3 Episodes 10 and 11: “A Benihana Christmas”

No one does Christmas quite like “The Office” (I also suggest you watch season two, episode 10 “Christmas Party” for some great Jim/Pam moments). Michael Scott is his usual charmingly pathetic self. His girlfriend dumps him for Photoshopping himself into her family Christmas card, so while nursing his broken heart at Benihana, he brings two potential girlfriends back to the office but can’t seem to tell them apart. Other fantastic moments include Kelly Kapoor serenading her reluctant boyfriend, Ryan, through karaoke and Michael listening to 30 seconds of James Blunt’s “Goodbye My Lover” on repeat.

“The O.C.” Season 1 Episode 13: “The Best Chrismukkah Ever”

Allow Seth Cohen to introduce you to the greatest holiday ever created. Why? Because it has twice the resistance of any normal holiday. As someone whose parents couldn’t quite decide what religion to raise me in, Chrismukkah is near and dear to my heart. There’s a great holiday soundtrack featured, and you get to enjoy the height of the Seth-Anna-Summer love triangle.

“Friends” Season 7 Episode 10: “The One with the Holiday Armadillo”

Ross introduces his son to the newest representative for Christmas – the Holiday Armadillo. This episode serves as a great reminder not to try and rent a Santa costume two days before Christmas because then you’ll be stuck with a road kill costume. It’s a classic “Friends” episode and further proof that Ross always has the best costumes. Anyone else remember Spudnik?

“The West Wing” Season 2 Episode 10: “Noel”

Most people regard the season one’s Christmas episode (episode 10), “In Excelsis Deo,” as one of the best episodes of the series’ run, but season two’s “Noel” is my favorite. After being shot, White House staffer Josh Lyman is beginning to experience signs of PTSD. The whole episode is him trying to figure out why he finally snapped. The soundtrack to this episode is beautiful, the acting is phenomenal, and Christmas in the White House never looked so beautiful.

“Seinfeld” Season 9 Episode 10: “The Strike”

I suppose technically this is an anti-holiday episode, but whether you like it or not, Festivus is sweeping the nation. Festivus, the holiday for the rest of us, is inspired by George’s dad’s hatred for the commercialization surrounding Christmas. Festivus is one of the most enduring legacies from “Seinfeld,” and it’d be criminal to not hear the story behind how it all began.

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