Classic television shows of Christmases past have delivered some pretty memorable episodes about the holiday season.
If you have some spare time in between shopping, wrapping and planning gifts this December, sit back and learn about the Holiday Armadillo (“Friends”), get Secret Santa inspo from Michael Scott (“The Office”) and let the Bluths show you what not to do at your office party (“Arrested Development”).
Below, we’ve rounded up our 10 favorite holiday-themed TV episodes to get your mind off all the drama that comes with the season, or better yet, to watch with loved ones for some hilarious introspection.
1. “Friends”: “The One with the Holiday Armadillo,” season 7, episode 10
“Years and years ago, there were these people called the Maccabees,” begins Ross’ quest to get his son, Ben, interested in Hanukkah. Dressed as a Holiday Armadillo, his attempt goes incredibly awry when Chandler decides to barge in with a resounding, and apparently sexy (we’re looking at you, Monica), “Ho, Ho, Ho.” What ensues is a hilarious back and forth between the “weird turtle man” and Santa Claus that we promise is “kick-you-in-the-crotch, spit-on-your-neck fantastic.”
2. “South Park”: “Mr. Hankey The Christmas Poo,” season 1, episode 9
A “South Park” classic, this episode introduces Mr. Hankey, a pile of feces with a Santa hat. When the entire town is off celebrating, Kyle, who is Jewish, feels left out and befriends Mr. Hankey. Plot twist: Kyle is the only one who can see him. In a typically satirical “South Park” way, the Christmas episode ridicules the holiday, while also making you say, “Oooh, it’s all… Christmas-y.”
3.“The Office”: “Christmas Party,” season 2, episode 10
Only Michael Scott would turn Secret Santa into a Yankee Swap for his own benefit. This episode is truly all about the gifts: Kevin gives us Christmas goals with the footbath he buys himself; Creed gives Jim an old shirt (which should resonate with all the lazy gift-givers out there); Jim almost gives Pam a teapot full of memories and a heartfelt love letter; and Michael gets the temp, Ryan, an iPod. Take some gift inspiration from the Dunder Mifflin employees because after all, you should be able to tell your family, “Hey, man, I love you this many dollars worth.”
4.“Frasier”: “Mary Christmas, season 8, episode 7
Frasier is asked to host the Seattle Christmas Parade, but his co-host is set to drive him nuts. “Dr.” Mary -- who makes an appearance in the “There’s Something About Dr. Mary” as a temporary replacement for Frasier’s radio show producer, Roz -- knows how to push Frasier’s buttons in all the right ways. After all, she has graduated from “the school of hard knocks.” With his neuroses laid bare, Frasier and gang deliver a typically farcical Christmas episode.
5. “The Simpsons”: “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire,” season 1, episode 1
The Christmas special has all the now-typical Simpson hilarity -- a Batman parody, unrelenting pony requests, Homer falling from the roof while installing Christmas lights, illegal tattoos, and sad gifts. Homer finds out that there are slashes in Christmas bonuses and takes a job as Santa in a mall, but makes up for his absence by bringing a dog back home later that night. After all, if TV has taught Bart Simpson anything, “it’s that miracles always happen to poor kids at Christmas.”
6. “Arrested Development”: “Afternoon Delight,” season 2, episode 6
The Bluths are hosting an office Christmas party, and everyone has an agenda. Lindsay decks herself up in a sexy dress so she can flirt with men at the office, Gob is expecting adulation from his employees in the form of multiple toasts (and ends up hearing roasts), and Michael wants the chance to connect with his son, George Michael.
7. “Golden Girls”: “‘Twas the Nightmare Before Christmas,” season 2, episode 12
Everyone’s favorite Miami ladies -- Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia -- plan to visit their individual families at Christmas, but get held hostage by a lonely Santa who doesn’t want to spend the holiday alone. When the women finally get out, they miss their flights anyway and realize their sub-par Christmas was actually (somehow) perfect.
8. “Parks and Recreation”: “Ron and Diane,” season 5, episode 9
The tables turn on Donna, April, Andy and Tom when they find out that Jerry has been hosting a Christmas party at his house without them. While they wistfully wait by the window to be invited in, Leslie joins Ron at the Indiana Fine Woodworking Association awards, where she spends the entire night trying to ward off his diabolical ex-wife and librarian, Tammy Two. This Christmas, treat yo’ self to the pandemonium in Pawnee.
9. “American Dad”: “Minstrel Krampus,” season 10, episode 8
An intricate, good versus evil plot thickens over the course of this Christmas special, which takes “bad Santa” to a whole new level. It turns out Jack is keeping an evil force who punishes naughty children, Krampus, locked in the basement. Stan gets roped into setting Krampus free, to which we can only say, “Daddy didn’t think that one through.” They try to enlist Santa’s help, but find that Krampus is actually the good guy and Santa is just a greedy businessman who hoards naughty kids on his list. Looks like Christmas “is getting too spicy for the pepper.”
10. “Will and Grace”: “Jingle Balls,” season 4, episode 12
Featuring one of the city’s staples -- the Barneys New York holiday windows -- this Christmas special shows us just how much Jack truly believes in the spirit of the season. Jack gets an offer to decorate the Barneys windows, but is in danger of wrecking the assignment. When Grace hears him praying to Santa, she puts her jealousy aside and uses her interior decorating skills to save the day.