Christmas Episode

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Known in Britain as a Christmas Special (but that means something different on this website), the Christmas Episode is a one-off seasonal episode of an ongoing series, typically a comedy or comedy drama. Sometimes the Christmas Episode will be shown in two or three parts over consecutive nights, typically in the build-up to Christmas Day. Only the most popular shows get shown on Christmas Day itself. Note that the Christmas Episode is not part of an ongoing season, unlike most U.S. shows' episodes that take place on Christmas.

Since it is divorced from its parent show and will probably be seen by a wider audience than usual, the Christmas Episode does not usually rely heavily on continuity, generally just using the core characters (and possibly some of the popular secondary characters). However, it is also often used to set up major changes in continuity, through events such as a Christmas wedding or - and this is a popular one for obvious reasons - a Christmas birth. These may then be carried into the next year's season. Alternatively, the Christmas Episode may be the last-ever episode of the series, as happened with the UK version of The Office, Doug (before getting Uncancelled), and Only Fools and Horses (although the latter had more Christmas Episodes commissioned afterwards).

In Britain, a more recent variation is a specially recorded Christmas day message which is then run in competition to the Queen's televised Christmas message (recent years have seen announcements from Ali G and Marge Simpson). However, since this is breaking the Fourth Wall, it is not typically part of an actual story.

During the 1980s and 1990s, British Christmas specials usually took place in some decidedly un-Christmassy part of the world such as Florida (Only Fools and Horses) or Majorca (Birds of a Feather). This has proven unpopular in recent years.

In Soap Operas such as Eastenders and Coronation Street it is traditional for the Christmas Episode to be the most depressing of the entire year. Which is saying something as Brit Soaps, especially Eastenders, tend to be depressing anyway. It is not uncommon for a long running character to die in Christmas Episodes of this kind, and another occurrence is a disastrous Wedding Day where everything goes wrong and the wedding doesn't occur, or a disastrous Birth where the baby, mother or both die in the process.

May overlap with Vacation Episode if travel is involved.

If a horror- or supernatural-themed series has a Christmas Episode, there's a fair chance it'll be a Christmas Ghost Story.

See also Christmas Special. Also see You Mean "Xmas", where a world where Christmas doesn't exist gets a similar holiday for the purposes of having a Christmas Episode. Compare Christmas in Japan. See April Fool's Plot or Very Special Episode for another themed episode found in shows. If the plot is taken by a certain Dickens' tale, you might be prompted to say Yet Another Christmas Carol. Can be a supertrope to Christmas Ghost Story. Merry Christmas in Gotham is a sub-trope.

Examples of Christmas Episode include:

Anime and Mangas

Note that in Japan, Christmas has roughly the same cultural significance as Valentine's Day does in the West—so Anime Christmas Episodes can have an additional romance theme to them.

  • Ai Yori Aoshi: Enishi's Christmas Episode doubled as a Shout-Out to Ah! My Goddess.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia had a special with Finland dressing up as Santa and answering fan mail with his puppy Blood-Smeared Flower Egg. France then hijacks the special and runs around molesting other countries and forcing them to strip.
    • There was also one where the Allies and Axis are visited by Finland as Santa, who gives them gifts, and one where Italy, Germany and Japan interview the other countries about their Christmas traditions. In the Webcomic, there's a strip where Britain and Germany call a truce on Christmas and play a game of soccer/football, based on a real-life event. There is an episode in the anime where America holds a Christmas party.
    • And then came Hetalia Bloodbath 2010...
  • Azumanga Daioh had one of these. Complete with Chiyo-Dad as Santa; courtesy of Sakaki's imagination.
    • The manga had two.
  • The Chrono Crusade anime has an episode where Chrono, Rosette, and Azmaria celebrate Christmas with the rest of the Magdalene Order before they begin their journey to California to save Joshua. The manga follows a slightly different timeline and mentions Christmas, but doesn't have a traditional "episode" per se—the final battle actually takes place over Christmas Eve and ends at sunrise on Christmas Day.
  • Crayon Shin-chan had an episode with 3 Christmas themed parts, the first being about a troupe of performers coming to Shin's kindergarten class to put on a play, the second about Shin helping his mother (and her firends) give away some gifts and the third about Shin's parents fretting over how they're going to get their son a Christmas present.
  • Dai-Guard had one where the cast attempted to have a Christmas party, but threat of attack forced everyone to wait on standby. They simply move the party to Dai-Guard's hanger and invite the repair and ground crew to join them.
  • The Death Note manga had a couple of four-panel cartoons with Light and Ryuk. "Since when do Shinigami celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ?"
  • Digimon Adventure 02 used the Christmas episode for a Relationship Upgrade.
  • While Eyeshield 21 is not essentially Christmas themed, the Deimon Devil Bats aspire to and eventually do go to the Christmas Bowl, the biggest game of the year played on Christmas.
  • Hamtaro has two of them, the first involving the Ham-hams making sure that Boss has a good Christmas since "Santa never comes to field hamsters" and the second involving Hamtaro playing the part of Santa Claus and delivering presents to his friends, with a little help from Bijou.
  • Heartcatch Precure had one, notable for Tsubomi's grandmother becoming Cure Flower once more. Also, Cure Blossom and Marie temporarily upgrade their finisher attack with a Christmas theme to it.
  • THE iDOLM@STER has one of these.[context?]
  • Itsudatte My Santa! - the whole thing is a Christmas episode.
  • Kaitou Saint Tail - interestingly, in the manga, the corresponding chapter had nothing to do with Christmas at all.
    • Particularly baffling since the manga does have one or two Christmas chapters.
  • Kamichu!! has a Christmas episode. Pretty interesting, considering the show follows the daily life of a Shinto Goddess.
  • Keroro Gunsou had an episode where Keroro plots to take over the world at Christmas while everyone's guard is down, but everyone drops out one by one. Eventually he goes to help Kogoro by dressing up as Santa and giving away Christmas presents (so as to get onto Santa's good list and to get a present for Christmas).
  • Love Hina's was a tearjerker.
  • The second season of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has an episode called "Christmas Eve". It starts out like a Christmas episode up until Nanoha and Fate visit the hospital where Hayate's staying so she won't be alone on Christmas. Little do they know that Hayate's the Morality Pet of their enemies and the mana battery for their Artifact of Doom... and, well, let's just say It Got Worse.
    • The first Megami Sound Stage takes place on Christmas Eve in A's, although strangely enough, it suggests that after Nanoha and Fate visited Hayate, they went to training without any further problems. In the sound stage, Nanoha and Fate discuss topics like believing in Santa and what they do to celebrate Christmas, in addition to their thoughts on the current situation.
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch, twice. There were actually three episodes that took place on Christmas, but one was plot-important and didn't focus on the holiday itself... although it did have a Christmas birth.
  • There is also one in Ninin ga Shinobuden, in which Kaede shows the Ninjas the true meaning of Christmas. Hilarity Ensues. (Honestly, that episode is one of the funniest of that series, hands down).
  • One Piece anime had a filler (which went on to become regular filler) of the cast in Feudal Japan with Luffy as a detective. The first episode had a Christmas ending with Chopper, who was vaguely busy all day, being one of Santa's reindeer. Chopper, the blue-nosed reindeer.
  • Pokémon has several episodes that are Christmas- or winter-themed, and the true Christmas one ended up being banned from TV for containing Jynx, perceived by one woman to be an offensive caricature (but not before it got released to video).
  • Episode 8 of Popotan, while still part of the series, is not nearly as continuity-heavy as those preceding or succeeding it. Interestingly enough, it's almost the only episode that even mentions the holiday, despite the protagonists' house doubling as a Christmas shop.
  • Ranma ½ has one with nearly all of the characters appearing in it, at least for a little bit.
  • Rental Magica has a Christmas Ghost Story for its Christmas Episode, "A Requiem Offered on Christmas Eve" (episode 12 in broadcast order, episode 13 in chronological order).
  • The Three Sisters Agency was started on Christmas in R.O.D the TV. The episode shows them sharing birthday cake with Nenene.
  • School Rumble. Harima uses Tenma's present for Karasuma as transportation.
  • Shugo Chara: The show tends to move with the seasons within Japan upon episode creation, and, there - fore, has several ones taking placed within winter: however only a portion (One where Su loses her way home, and upon being found via Amu and her other Chara, Amulet Clover is created for the first timeone involving Amu strengthen her path with Lulu at her house within christmas, and some more, slightly less christmas focused ones around them.) are more than slight christmas related tryings.
  • Suzumiya Haruhi starts off The Movie (and the novel it's based on) with a Christmas Party, though it is very decidedly not the focus of the story.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew had a two-parter with a Mew Aqua time bomb on top of the giant city Christmas tree. It also inserted foreshadowing for an event in the Grand Finale that also happened in the manga, but there, went unexplained.
  • Toradora! gets a lovely one where all the main school age characters end up alone and probably in tears because they've all been ignored, rejected or rejected someone they did like. Merrrrry Christmas! Ho ho ho!
    • Except for Yuusaku. Nobody who's willing to be in that costume could possibly be feeling down.
  • Vandread has an entire episode, with the Captain trying to entice young maids with her Santa Suit, a Yule Log, Snow-making Machines, and, oh yeah, machines trying to destroy them hiding in a comet's tail that looks like a Christmas Tree.
  • In an early Yu Yu Hakusho manga chapter, Yusuke meets the spirit of a girl who fell ill and died while waiting for her boyfriend, Kenji to show up to meet her on Christmas Eve of the previous year, not knowing that she'd been stood up. When Kenji shows up to meet another girl on this Christmas Eve, she realizes that he never cared for her, and Yusuke takes her out for some fun, enabling her to happily pass on. Yusuke then takes revenge on Kenji by pretending to be one of his other girlfriends; when he tries guessing which one, his current girlfriend gets angry after realizing how unfaithful he is.

Comic Books

  • Transformers UK featured an issue where Optimus Prime got dressed in a Santa suit and Starscream wished a kid Merry Christmas. Yeah.
  • The DCU and Marvel Universe Holiday Specials, featuring Christmas with various superheroes.
  • Marvel had at least six featuring The Punisher. Frank Castle dressing as Santa to gun down mafiosi? Two years in a row? Crazy Awesome!
    • Marvel even did a story once where a little blind boy who was kidnapped by bad guys on Christmas Eve gets rescued by Ghost Rider and is convinced for the rest of his life that he was saved by Santa Claus.
    • And another time Doctor Doom took the mantle of Santa Claus.
  • The Hellraiser comics had a Christmas special. Seriously.
  • A recent Green Lantern storyline had Larfleeze (an Orange Lantern who represents avarice) discovering Christmas and attempting to celebrate it. Hilarity Ensues. It ends with a bit of a Tear Jerker, however...
  • The Hack Slash bonus story Slashing Through the Snow, featuring a wannabee slasher named Rudolph. Despite the name, he was a Bad Santa. Also, it was done in chibi-style.
  • Against all odds, Sin City had a Christmas one-shot called Silent Night. Outside of the title and the funny pin-ups in the back, the comic simply looks as if it takes place on a snowy night.
  • Hitman #22: The Santa Contract. Tommy and Nat are hired to kill a radioactive murderer in a stolen Santa suit on Christmas eve. The best part is the rhyming narration In the Style Of "Twas the Night Before Christmas".

"Word!" Said his homie, "I got my nine! Now let's go bust a cap in that nuclear swine!" So they took their nine 'mils and a big forty four, and a hand grenade Tommy'd been keeping in store, and enough ammunition to fight a small war. And went off to inform vile Bob of the score.

Fan Works


Live Action TV

  • A.N.T. Farm had an episode entitled Santa's Little Helpers during which Principal Skidmore had a change of heart after being visited by three ghosts.
  • Doctor Who made a point of having the revival's first three Christmas Episodes--"The Christmas Invasion", "The Runaway Bride" and "Voyage of the Damned"—be a strong part of the show's continuity, following directly on from the previous series' finale. Following this was the stand-alone "The Next Doctor", and The End of Time (which is split in two parts, airing on Christmas and New Year's Day). The first four, and the sixth, "A Christmas Carol" are very Christmassy. On the other hand, The End Of Time is the final story before a complete change in production team and lead actor; aside from the lack of Christmas elements besides the time period, it starts with premonitions of darkness and rapidly gets bleaker, eventually rolling down into Wham! Episode territory.
    • Episode 7 of The Dalek's Master Plan, which was broadcast on Christmas Day, had the First Doctor Break the Fourth Wall and wish everyone at home a happy Christmas. The logic back then was that no one would watch telly on Christmas Day. This mentality changed, with the 2000s and 2010s Christmas specials having some of the show's highest ratings.
    • During the Russell T. Davies run of the show, the specials took a note from soap operas and tended to have high body counts and bittersweet endings. Since Steven Moffat took over, they've been much Lighter and Softer and Everybody Lives, at least onscreen.
  • As mentioned above, the UK version of The Office ended with a special two-part Christmas episode. The show's follow-up Extras also finished with a feature-length Christmas episode.
  • iCarly: The imaginatively named iChristmas. Complete with It's a Wonderful Life-based plot and Shout-Out to Peanuts.
  • The Royle Family had a Christmas Episode after its second season which saw Denise giving birth prematurely. The series finished with its next Christmas Episode, though it did come back for a one-off (non-seasonal) special episode six years later and a seasonal one in 2008.
  • Jonathan Creek had three Christmas episodes; the first was a typical howdunnit, but the next two both introduced Creek's new companions.
  • For three years (1995-1997), One Foot in the Grave became a series of nothing but Christmas Episodes. A concluding series was broadcast in 2000.
  • Over the past several years, WWE has produced a Christmas episode of one of their main shows (either Raw or Smackdown), in the form of a Christmas-themed wrestling show for the troops in the Middle East.
  • Like One Foot in the Grave, there was a period when Only Fools and Horses consisted entirely of Christmas Episodes, in this case between 1991 and 1996 (with a three-parter intended to be the finale). The series later had three more Christmas Episodes from 2001 to 2003.
  • The X-Files set a Christmas episode ("How the Ghosts Stole Christmas" (1998)) in a haunted house. Mulder thought staking out said haunted house was a good way to spend Christmas Eve. It was haunted due to a lover's suicide/murder pact, and said ghosts try and get our two favorite FBI agents to re-enact said pact, all to the soundtrack of Frank Sinatra's "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". (Notable for Scully's take on shopping just before Christmas: "If I'd heard 'Silent Night' one more time, I was going to start taking hostages.")
    • However, "How the Ghosts Stole Christmas" was not the first Christmas episode The X-Files ever did. The previous season has Scully discover that her stolen ova has been used to create a child while away at her brother's house for Christmas.
  • The Supernatural Christmas episode A Very Supernatural Christmas: Evil Santa, sacrifices to gods (and what says Christmas more than watching someone's fingernail be torn off?) and a surprisingly effective ending. Sniff. And a tree decorated with air fresheners and fishing flies.
  • The West Wing: "In Excelsis Deo", "Noel", "Bartlet for America", "Holy Night", "Abu el Banat".
  • Curiously, M*A*S*H had more Christmas Episodes than there were Christmases during the Korean War.
  • Casualty and its spin-off Holby City (set on the wards of the same hospital) sometimes celebrate Christmas with a Crossover in which a major disaster requires the entire hospital staff. Casualty occasionally threw in wholly unexplained supernatural elements (a superstore Santa implied to be the real Santa in one case).
  • LazyTown featured a Christmas episode in its first season. Robbie Rotten even dressed up as Santa as part of his plot to get rid of Sportacus that week.
  • Power Rangers had a Christmas episode in its third and fourth season, as well as a "Video special" named Alpha's Magical Christmas. While Word of God establishes the Season 4 episode, "A Season to Remember," as canon, the other two are in the Canon Discontinuity pile.
  • Thomas the Tank Engine has had a Christmas episode in nearly each of its seasons.
  • Master Blasters ran a Christmas episode in March 2008.
  • Mork and Mindy had a Christmas episode in the first season, appropriately titled "Mork's First Christmas" . Notably, there was no report to Orson at the end, and the ending credits ran over footage of Mork sneaking downstairs on Christmas Eve to wait for Santa.
  • 30 Rock has had a Christmas Episode in every season except the first one. The second one was creatively titled "Christmas Special". The others are "Ludachristmas", "Secret Santa", and "Christmas Attack Zone".
  • Psych (and this year,[when?] Monk) have done Christmas specials, British-style one-offs in between seasons.
  • House: Christmas Episodes are well-known for being downers but Merry Little Christmas takes the fricking cake. Wilson has just betrayed House to Tritter and gets hated by everyone for it, he and Cuddy try and force House to take the deal (rehab instead of jail) by making him detox and as for House himself? Well, he detoxes nastily, cuts his arm to avoid the pain in his leg, steals a dead patient's drugs, leaves an answer message for his parents in what can be argued as a suicide note, overdoses on his pills by drinking a ton of alcohol, gets left by Wilson in a pool of his own vomit and when he's broken enough to come crawling back to Tritter, Tritter removes the deal anyway. Good times.
  • The Bob Newhart Show had one in every season of its run. (Conversely, Newhart only had one.)
  • St. Elsewhere actually killed off Santa Claus in its Christmas episode.
  • Diff'rent Strokes had two, the first of which was also a Clip Show (in the show's very first season!).
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer did this once, with the Season Three episode "Amends". Aside from the first appearance of the First Evil (which later became the Big Bad of Season Seven), it also brought two couples back together - Willow/Oz and Buffy/Angel.
    • The week before, "The Wish" played out like another It's a Wonderful Life story, until it was derailed midway through with the wisher getting killed.
    • "The Body" showed the Scoobies celebrating Christmas for the last time in the show.
  • Friends had lots. So did Will and Grace.
    • Friends didn't really have special Christmas episodes, just ones that due to continuity took place around Christmas time and therefore mentioned it (but sometimes New Year's Eve instead.) Their "big deal" episodes apart from season finales tended to be Thanksgiving Episodes.
  • Frasier had several notable Christmas episodes. The first season episode "Miracle on Third or Fourth Street" dealt with Doctor Crane's hilariously depressing first Christmas totally alone, only to end on a sweet, uplifting note about the common good of humanity. The fifth season episode "Perspectives on Christmas" is considered one of the series' best, and in season 7, Daphne's romantic feelings for Niles secretly bloomed in the Christmas episode, having found out about Niles's long-standing feelings for her in the previous episode.
  • The Closer had a Season 3 Christmas-themed episode, aired in December well after the end of the regular season as a two-hour special.
  • Scrubs had two: My Own Personal Jesus (season 1), and My Best Day (season 4).
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 had two: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, and Santa Claus.
    • The former had inventions in the invention exchange including the Easy Bake Foundry, Mr. Mashed Potato Head, and Patrick Swayze's Roadhouse Board Game.
      • And the classic song "Let's Have a Patrick Swayze Christmas".
  • Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad had one. Kilokhan manages to brain fry the team using Christmas lights, Malcom and Jennifer help save the day, Kilokhan is defeated, and everyone promptly has their memories of the experience erased by the end.
  • Designing Women had one which centered around Mary Jo's son being determined to catch Santa Claus in the act, so Suzanne hired a mall Santa to enter Mary Jo's house (and gave him the key). Big surprise—he robbed Mary Jo blind.
  • The American version of Whose Line Is It Anyway had a Christmas Episode, complete with massive Lampshade Hanging from Drew about how they didn't even bother decorating, and just stuck Christmas-y things into the games.
  • Supernatural, given its subject matter had to do a Christmas episode at some point, and they did in the third season.
    • And, of course, being Supernatural, it featured some hilariously sick humor involving Christmas cookies, speculation on Santa being evil, Christmas rituals involving torture and blood sacrifice (some of which they showed!), and overall depicted the characters' childhoods as criminally neglected and their current lives as near-suicidally depressing. Merry Christmas!
  • All Creatures Great and Small had three: two to bridge the gap during the hiatus and one to close out the series.
  • Blackadder had the parody Blackadder's Christmas Carol, in which the Victorian Ebeneezer Blackadder, "the kindest man in England" had a series of visions of the past and future that convinced him to turn evil.
  • Top Gear's overseas specials tend to be Christmas Episodes.
  • Reba has one of these.
  • Yes Minister had precisely one Christmas Special, an hour-long episode after the end of the third series entitled "Party Games". Interestingly, it manages to be a Wham! Episode and yet not rely on any kind of continuity whatsoever. Sir Arnold retires, leaving Sir Humphrey to become Cabinet Secretary. Shortly afterward, the the Prime Minister retires as well his rival, the Home Secretary, having provided him the perfect excuse to kick him Upstairs. Through machinations and an utterly hilarious speech about sausages, Jim Hacker becomes Prime Minister, with Sir Humphrey as his chief Civil Service liaison. And Bernard? Well, the Prime Minister needs a Principal Private Secretary, too. In short, the episode manages to change everything and absolutely nothing about the show (which was rechristened Yes, Prime Minister for its remaining two series).
  • The Twilight Zone had "Night of the Meek".
    • "Five Characters in Search of an Exit" and "The Changing of the Guard" are sort of Christmas Episodes, as well.
  • Perhaps the most famous UK Christimas Episodes were those of the Morecambe and Wise Show by The BBC from the 1970s, which broke many viewership records, including the 1977 edition, which was watched by 28 million people - over of half the UK population.
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show had a classic episode where the Alan Brady Show writers all performed on a holiday variety show.
  • The Avengers episode "Too Many Christmas Trees" has Steed and Emma at a Christmas party at the estate of a Dickens-obsessed publisher.
  • An early Green Acres episode has Oliver anxious for an old-fashioned Christmas in his new country home - he finds that 'traditional' in Hooterville means (literal) Aluminum Christmas Trees.
  • Rutland Weekend Television had a Christmas show where guest star George Harrison was determined to play a pirate, although there was no pirate sketch in the schedule.
  • Lampshaded in the title of an episode of The Weird Al Show named "The Obligatory Holiday Episode", though the episode was about the characters celebrating all holidays at once, not just Christmas.
  • "A Very Glee Christmas", Full stop!
  • Raising Hope: "Toy Story".
  • Leverage: "The Ho Ho Ho Job"
  • Community did a Christmas special in which Abed hallucinates everyone being stop-motion animated. And they all go on a magical journey through Winter Wonderland.
  • The Vicar of Dibley, being set in a church, naturally had a few. These were originally major parts of the show's continuity, as Alice gave birth to her baby as part of the nativity scene. Once the show ended, the actors would get together again every year to do a special Christmas Episode for charity.
  • The Bill had so many it was difficult to count. All would generally involve Reg Hollis being sent on a menial shopping task by a higher up (so he could then turn up caked in snow) while female members of the relief try to get hardened cynics like Sgt Boyden to get into the true spirit of the season.
  • ALF also had two. The first was a wacky, zany romp for a new Christmas tree after Alf mistakenly chopped up the Tanner's first for firewood. It ends with Alf getting to see snow for the first time. The second surprisingly was not happy AT ALL. After destroying the Tanner's best laid Christmas plans (par for the course for Alf), he befriends Tiffany (an eight year old Ill Girl in the hospital with a terminal illness who "won't live to see another Christmas"), delivers a child (and talks the mother into naming her newborn daughter after Tiffany), and stops the hospital Santa from committing suicide. To top it all off, Tiffany is based on (and named after) an actual child who died that year and the episode is dedicated to her.
  • Talkin Bout Your Generation had one that aired on Christmas Eve and was (what else?) Christmas-themed.
  • The Star Wars Holiday Special has its detractors, and George Lucas has disowned it, but it's universally regarded as the best Life Day Special featuring Wookiee porn, a musical number by Bea Arthur, and a crossdressing Harvey Korman, and no one can ever take that away.
  • Married... with Children did the "It's a Bundyful Life" thing, with Sam Kinison as Al's guardian angel.
    • Additionally, there was "You Better Watch Out" (with a parachuting Mall Santa falling to his death in the Bundy's backyard), "Christmas" (Al working multiple jobs to buy gifts), "The Worst Noel", and "God Help Ye Merry Bundymen".
  • Seinfeld had several, the most famous being "The Strike", in which the Costanzas celebrate the holiday of Festivus.
  • Victorious has "A Christmas Tori", where the group has to give Secret Santa gifts, and Tori attempts to help Andre after he gets a bad grade on his Christmas song.
  • Big Time Rush has "Big Time Christmas", which features the eponymous group attempting to rush to meet a deadline and record some holiday songs so they can get home for Christmas. It features special appearances from Miranda Cosgrove and Snoop Dogg.
  • Bones has had a few, including the murder of Santa and one where the entire team was trapped in the lab for the holiday.
  • Home Improvement had one every season.
  • Beverly Hills, 90210 has some every few seasons.
  • Being Erica had one as the last episode of season 3. The main character, Jewish Erica Strange, tries to get into the Christmas spirit to cheer up Adam and learns it isn't all glamorous like on TV.
  • Round the Twist Season 1 has a very Australian version of this trope, including a spoof on the whole Santa myth.
  • Boy Meets World had several, including "Santa's Little Helper" from season 1, "Easy Street" from season 4, "A Very Topanga Christmas" from season 5, and "Santa's Little Helpers" from season 6.
  • That '70s Show had 8 Christmas episodes, one for every season. Which is a little weird considering the show was supposed to take place over a 4-year time span.
  • Rentaghost gave us "Rentasanta", the episode that introduced Dobbin the Pantomime Horse.
  • Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip had "The Christmas Show", which doubles as a meta example because it deals with Matt Albie's efforts to put together a Christmas Episode of the eponymous Show Within a Show.
  • The Monkees has "The Christmas Show", featuring the kid who played Eddie Munster.
  • Just Shoot Me had a memorable Christmas Special, "How the Finch Stole Christmas", which featured Finch starring in a How the Grinch Stole Christmas parody, complete with Dr. Seuss-style narration. Meanwhile, Elliot starred in a subplot based on A Charlie Brown Christmas and Nina starred in a Yes, Virginia inspired subplot.
  • Space: Above and Beyond has the episode "The River of Stars", which was inspired by the real life Christmas Day truce in World War I.
  • Given its somewhat elastic definitions of history, Xena: Warrior Princess has what may be the only Christmas episode in which the word "Christmas" is never mentioned for obvious reasons - "A Solstice Carol."
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. had Solo and Kuryakin trying to keep an Eastern European Premier from being assassinated in "The Jingle Bells Affair."
  • "During the course of its series' run, The Dukes of Hazzard was on the air for six consecutive Decembers. However, "The Great Santa Clause Chase" was the series' only holiday-themed show." (David Hofstede, in the unofficial companion book for the series)
  • That Girl had at least two Christmas episodes. "Christmas and the Hard-Luck Kid", where Ann Marie brings Donald on a flashback to her time as a boarding school teacher with a little boy who can't go home for Christmas, and "'Twas the Night Before Christmas, You're Under Arrest", where Ann buys theater tickets from a scalper as a present to the Baumans' and unsuspectingly gives that scalper too much information. When Donald tells her that scalpers try to use this info to break into apartments, she panics and talks her beau into hiding their presents, only to be accused of being burglars themselves.
  • "The Bells Of Fraggle Rock"
  • SCTV had two Christmas episodes.
  • Perfect Strangers had at least two. First, the pair are trying to make it to Larry's parents' house. Another had Mr. Gorpley invited to a party by Balki to the other guests' displeasure. Both times, Balki reminds people of the true spirit of the holiday.
  • Dragnet had a couple, the most well known probably being the story of the boy who 'stole' the statue of the child Jesus from the nativity scene at church to give him the first ride in the red wagon he finally got. The story was done three times-on the radio, in the 50s version of the series, and in the '60s remake.
  • Adam-12 did one as well.
  • So did Starsky and Hutch.


  • The Beatles sent a flexi-disc Christmas record to members of their fan club every year from 1963 to 1969. The records included Christmas songs, jokes, messages to Beatles fans, and general goofiness. In 1970, a compilation album, The Beatles' Christmas Album was released.
  • The Bangles also made Christmas tapes for their fan club in the '80s, "inspired by - okay, a blatant ripoff of" (said The Bangles' Vicki Peterson) the Beatles recordings. They later released Holiday in Bangleonia, a limited-edition CD with both a re-release of their 1983 recording and a new one for 2004. The Bangles revived the tradition in 2009 with an annual holiday podcast.
  • The first song released by Alvin and The Chipmunks was "The Chipmunk Song", aka "Christmas Don't Be Late".


  • Fit the Seventh of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy was commissioned by the BBC as one of these, but ended up having absolutely nothing to do with Christmas as Douglas Adams simply couldn't think of an idea. (Seeing as it was still advertised as a Christmas special, this may well be a subversion.) It was, instead, used as a way of tying the first two phases together—and, as a result, which one it's actually attached to is rather vague. The LP and CD of the Secondary Phase opens with Fit the Seventh, clearing up the confusion.
  • I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue had two Christmas Something Completely Different Parody Episodes; I'm Sorry I Haven't A Christmas Carol and Humph in Wonderland, which somehow managed to work all the usual silly games into an almost coherent storyline. (Replacing the Caucus Race with Mornington Crescent was inspired.)
  • The Burkiss Way had three episodes over its run that were broadcast around Christmas and could be considered Christmas episodes:
    • The second episode of series two, entitled "Lesson 8: Plan Christmas Schedules The Burkiss Way", which mocked the space-filling rubbish that gets shown on TV at Christmas;
    • The sixth episode of series three, entitled "Special Christmas Show", which starts with an announcement that it cannot be opened before Christmas;
    • And the final episode of series five, broadcast on the 26th of December but entitled "Eric Pode of Croydon's Easter Special". It contains nothing about Christmas, but does have a man being diagnosed with Terminal Hogmany.
  • The First Nighter, which ran on NBC radio from 1929 to 1953, first broadcast a Christmas episode titled "Little Town of Bethlehem" in 1937. By popular demand, they performed the episode every year until their last Christmas episode in 1952. The 1945 installment can be heard here.
  • As It Happens: The last episode before Christmas Day of this current-events show is always given over to Alan Maitland's reading of The Shepherd followed by a discussion of the novella. The usual news break a half-hour into the episode is skipped on this day so that the story is not interrupted.

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So much sweet loot. You'd almost think it was simultaneously your birthday, AND Christmas or something.
Of course you know that is ridiculous and could never conceivably happen.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog had a Christmas episode three years after the series finished. Princess Sally even showed up, though she had no lines.
  • The Venture Bros had a special 10-minute Christmas short after its first season.
  • The Flintstones celebrated Christmas in four different specials, despite living well before the inception of the holiday or any of the holidays Christmas is based on... or, for that matter, before the year Christ was supposedly born.
  • Pinky and The Brain had a Christmas episode, aptly titled "A Pinky and the Brain Christmas," which won an Emmy for "Outstanding Animated Program."
  • Invader Zim featured a full half-hour Christmas episode in the form of "The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever." (Thankfully, is still referred to as "Christmas" for most of the episode.) Once the series was canceled, it wound up acting as a sort of series finale.
  • The Justice League episode "Comfort and Joy" was, of course, Christmas-themed. Interestingly, it was the only one-parter episode of the series. Martian Manhunter spends Christmas with the Kents, Hawkgirl & Green Lantern go to a bar in another planet, and The Flash fights The Ultra-Humanite (who stops, once given the opportunity to give Christmas gifts to orphans...). No Batman and Wonder Woman in sight (though it is mentioned that they are on watchtower duty... Besides Batman already got three Christmas episodes...)
  • Both Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures had Christmas episodes: "Christmas With the Joker" and "Holiday Knights", respectively.
    • Batman the Brave And The Bold had one as well, "Invasion of the Secret Santas!", which included a sadder interpretation of the deaths of Batman's parents.
  • Despite being shown during late April, the Transformers Animated episode "Human Error" occurred during Christmas. Sari introduces the Autobots to Christmas, the Autobots indulge in the Christmas spirit, presents are exchanged and oilnog is drunk... and then it starts getting weird.
  • Oddly enough. Ben 10 managed to have a Christmas episode despite the series occurring over the course of summer vacation. It involves magic, a Christmas-themed amusement park, and the main character's grandfather being mistaken for Santa Claus. In decades past, year-round "Santa Claus" themed tourist traps were not unheard of. A couple are still operating today. This might have been a nod to that.
  • The episode "Operation: NAUGHTY" in Codename: Kids Next Door is... well, unconventional as far as Christmas Episodes go. It features a Christmas-themed X-Men Shout-Out (including an elf named Wintergreen with "claws of solid peppermintium"), a prominent Ship Tease, and comic-book-style narration. When you consider that the show was produced at a New York City animation studio, where tons of independent and experimental filmmakers live and work, it makes sense.
  • Kim Possible had a Christmas episode, complete with a Show Within a Show Christmas special: The Six Tasks of Snowman Hank, of which Ron and Drakken both turned out to be fans, with lots of Cocaine snow-fueled wackiness. And singing. And dancing. And mistletoe.
  • Danny Phantom had "The Fright Before Christmas" with 85% more rhyming. (And accurate timing!)
  • Jackie Chan Adventures which featured the baddies vs. the heroes who's protecting Santa Claus with the help of his maximum security elves.
  • The Simpsons has had several. Considering that the cast never gets any older, this gets a bit weird.
    • Their very first episode, not counting their segments on The Tracey Ullman Show (one of which had a Christmas theme), was a Christmas episode, "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire." (It was the first to air, but not the first produced.)
  • The Donald Duck short Toy Tinkers. Donald's Snow Fight, while not direct about it, does take place in wintertime and has Donald singing "Jingle Bells". Pretty neat how both are Disney productions set in the happiest of the holidays... And there are no warm feelings at all to be found. Instead, the main attraction in both cartoons is the action-packed battle Donald has against Chip n' Dale and his nephews, respectively.
  • The Darkwing Duck episode It's a Wonderful Leaf. Green Thumb Super Villain Bushroot turns all the Christmas trees in Saint Canard against their owners.
  • Kappa Mikey has "A Christmas Mikey", which takes 3 of the most parodied holiday stories in the English language and twists them around into one sequel-of-sorts to the show's pilot! Produced as the season finale, it's regarded as among the best episode in the series.
  • The Fairly OddParents had a Christmas episode where Timmy wishes for it to be Christmas everyday. Unfortunately, the other holidays aren't too happy about this...
    • They got a new one for season six, "Merry Wishmas".
  • Fat Albert has one where a husband and wife are in the kids' clubhouse, taking shelter from a snowstorm...and the wife is about to give birth. Very Biblical.
  • X-Men: Evolution has one where Scott and Rogue (who has a crush on him) are the only students left at the mansion during the holidays. The plot involves them chasing rumors of an "angel" (no, not that one!) who's been performing miraculous rescues. It all culminates in a big Crowning Moment of Heartwarming as the characters celebrate in their own way.
  • Rugrats had two Christmas episodes, a Passover episode, a Hannukah episode, and a Kwanzaa episode. Top that!
  • Family Guy had a Christmas episode early in its second season, and its second only appeared 7 seasons later! The second was pretty dark, even by Family Guy standards, which is unusual for a Christmas Episode. However, it was well-recieved.
    • The Christmas special Road to the North Pole explores the Fridge Horror of the Santa mythos.
  • And who can forget the heartwarming Critter's Christmas Special of South Park fame? It ends on such a special note, all the characters have grown and live happily ever after except for Kyle, who dies of AIDs three weeks later.
    • South Park has done a few Christmas episodes before, most of them featuring Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo.
    • In fact, South Park itself was based on a Christmas-themed animated short made by series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone called "Jesus vs. Frosty". Years after its creation a Fox executive saw the short and commissioned another one called "Jesus vs. Santa" which became popular on the internet and was the impetus to the creation of the series.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants had 'Christmas Who?' where they find out what Christmas is, and start to expect Santa, who never came. Squidward (who realized his mistake of ruining Spongebob's Christmas) then covers up for the dude by giving all his possessions, only to be thanked by the real Santa in the end.
  • It's a Wonderful Tiny Toon Christmas Special starred Buster Bunny in the Wonderful Life trope.
  • The Super Mario Bros had two: "Koopa Klaus" and "The Night Before Cave Christmas".
  • Donkey Kong Country had an episode focusing on a very similar holiday, the Kongo Bongo Festival of Lights. (Maybe they called it that because the writers were non-denominational.)
  • Superjail did a Christmas episode starring a Littlest Cancer Patient. It was appropriately horrifying, but - as opposed to 99% of the rest of the show - quite the Tear Jerker at the same time.
  • Taz-Mania had the episode "No Time For Christmas". Among the highlights were the Ho Yay mistletoe scene, Digeri Dingo showing his soft side near the end and that one crystal teardrop.
  • The Proud Family had a Kwanzaa episode.
  • 6teen has actually had 3 different Christmas episodes, one each season, even though they never get any older.
  • Phineas and Ferb's Christmas Vacation. ("Mom! Phineas and Ferb are making a Christmas special!")
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man season 2 episode "Reinforcement" takes place during the last couple of days leading up to Christmas, with the episode ending with Peter and Aunt May opening their gifts on Christmas morning.
  • The Tale Spin episode "Jolly Molly Christmas" has Baloo and friends going on a quest to make it snow in Cape Suzette on Christmas day—and thus restore Rebecca's daughter Molly's faith in Santa Claus.
  • In the Bonkers episode "Miracle at the 34th Precinct", Lucky Piquel is pressed into service as a substitue Santa when the real one is injured.
  • In The Mask, Edge City has arrested everyone dressed as Santa Claus because criminals tend to dress like him. Unfortunately, Edge PD do not realise that they've arrested the real Santa.
  • The Metalocalypse episode "Dethmas" had Toki getting into the Christmas spirit and trying to get the others into it, Dethklok's moms coming over and forcing their sons to spend time with them, Murderface and Knubbler hosting a Christmas Special that ended up being funded by the Christian Church (which Nathan was not amused about), and to top it all off, Dr. Rockso crosses the Moral Event Horizon by hocking Toki's presents for cocaine money, getting a handjob from Skwisgaar's mom on national television, and getting Karma Houdinied because Toki suffered Diabolus Ex Machina before he could beat up Dr. Rockso.
  • Hey Arnold! had him reuniting Mr. Hyun with his long lost daughter, who had escaped during The Vietnam War.
  • In Space Goofs, the aliens are trying to drive away Santa Claus.
  • Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, where they're human now but talking about the Christmas where they weren't:

The Nostalgia Chick: "Yes, please recount to us the event that we are all present for!"

  • Pictured above is the He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Special.
  • "Just Like Old Times" from Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? takes place on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Carmen steals the ill Chief of ACME leading Zack and Ivy to do an invert of the usual routine plays out.
  • Pingu has a Christmas episode from Season 2 titled "Pingu's Family Celebrates Christmas" takes place during Christmas Eve at the South Pole. Well,, it doesn't feature Santa Claus. At the end of the episode, the family open their gifts, and they all sing Silent Night (but not in English).
  • Beavis and Butthead had two Christmas episodes—one had them alternate between commenting on a variety of Christmas music videos and shooting the breeze while watching a televised Yule log, and the other was a double-length show with their takes on the standard Wonderful Life and Yet Another Christmas Carol plots.
  • The Men in Black animated series had an episode where the agents had to rescue Santa Claus from aliens.
  • Doug had two. The Nickelodeon one, "Doug's Christmas Story", which featured what seemed to be a good Christmas gone wrong, with Porkchop taken to the pound and then court after injuring Beebe (he was actually trying to save her). Also the darkest episode of the series, and Nick's Series Finale. The Disney one involved Doug's baby sister being born, and was aired in primetime on ABC as opposed to Saturday morning.
  • American Dad has several with increasingly bizarre premises. (Season 2: Stan traveling back in time to "fix" Christmas. Only to have to do it for real when he messes up the past. Season 3: Stan dying and going to the afterlife. Season 5: The Rapture occurring followed by Armageddon. Season 6: Steve accidentally killing Santa, who is revived and declares bloody murder on the Smiths. Season 7: Stan has to kill Hayley and Jeff's new adopted son, who turns out to be the Anti-Christ.)
  • Robot Chicken had four. The first featured Christmas related skits from past episodes while the "Half-Assed Christmas Special", "Dear Consumer" (AKA, the "Full-Assed Christmas Special"), and "DP Christmas Special" feature new ones.
  • Recess: "Yes, Mikey, Santa Does Shave". While the show is a Saturday Morning Cartoon, it was originally considered for primetime on Christmas Day 1998. However, due to the timeslot being pre-empted, ABC had no choice but to show the episode on One Saturday Morning's broadcast on December 26...the day AFTER Christmas. The special was later released on DVD and video with some more episodes and linking material in 2001 as Recess Christmas: Miracle on Third Street.
  • 101 Dalmatians: The Series had "A Christmas Cruella". This was one of the only episodes released on video.
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic has one with "Hearth's Warming Eve" (albeit not by name). "Winter Wrap-Up" was similarly winter-themed, even airing on Christmas Eve 2010, but was not about Christmas or any similar holiday so much as the transition from winter to spring.
  • Adventure Time had one were the gang finds Ice King's video diary. Funny until it goes Wham! Episode on you and reveals the Ice King was actualy a dude name Simon Petrikov, who mutated unto the King by finding the crown, losing his girlfriend and limiting the human population around him down to one.
  • Animaniacs had 11 of these segments, and if you count The Movie, it's twelve, with the first being a Night Before Christmas parody, the second about Chicken Boo being a department store Santa Claus, the third being one of three Wakkorotti episodes, the fourth about a toy store (but it was in the Christmas episode, so it might as well count), the fifth being a parody of A Christmas Carol, the sixth being a retelling of the nativity story, the seventh being a Nutcracker parody, the eighth named Noel, the ninth about a Christmas tree, the tenth is a 12 Days Of Christmas parody, and the eleveth being Slippin' On The Ice, a Cold Opening that parodies Singin' in the Rain.
  • There was a book and tape/record set for Popples titled "A Nutcracker Christmas". The episode that actually aired closest to Christmas for the TV show was about the Popples having an olympics ceremony.
  • Buzz Lightyear of Star Command had "Holiday Time", which is about a holiday called "The Holiday" with Santa being from "North Polaris" and Elf-G-Ms.
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