Not Even a TVmouse: My Favorite Holiday Episodes

When I was almost two years old, I fell asleep at the table on Christmas Eve. My parents decided to read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas anyway. When they got to the line, “Not a creature was stirring, not even a—,” I didn’t move or open my eyes, but I did yell out, “MOUSE!”

TVmouse loves a good holiday story.

15. “False Positive”—How I Met Your Mother

I don’t like Ted very often, but I like him here, as he forces his friends to stop running away from what they want most. The ending is gooey and optimistic in the best HIMYM way.

14. “The One with the Holiday Armadillo”—Friends

He’s Santa’s part-Jewish friend, ambassador to the southern states, and educator in all things Hanukkah: he’s the Holiday Armadillo! (“Because armadillos also wandered in the desert?”) Theoretically, this is an episode about Ross and Ben’s family time, but it’s really about the fact that these people would do anything for each other. Bonus points for Monica’s Santa fetish and Joey’s costume. “My favorite part was when Superman flew all the Jews out of Egypt!”

13. “No-Ho-Ho”—Happy Endings

Alex has a thing for unwrapping presents, Max has a backpack full of eggnog, and Jane claims that her hair is a wig to get out of a Christmas mob, and that’s great, but honestly, the screen could’ve been blank until the last 2 minutes, and this episode would still make my top 15. Never leave me, Hip Hop Santa.

12. “Regional Holiday Music”—Community

THANK YOU, Dan Harmon, for daring to suggest that it’s not bullying if you just don’t want to sing. “Regional Holiday Music” is a spot-on satire of Glee’s most mocked elements, from the weird obsession with Regionals to the over-emoting to that slightly cult-ish vibe we fear so much. The low stakes of it all really do make it creepier somehow. Points off for the fact that Alison Brie never gets to rap. Points returned for the bubbe exchange: “Well, one’s dead.” “What?!”

11. “Afternoon Delight”—Arrested Development

G.O.B’s suits are expensive, Will Arnett wears a banana costume, Yam’s parents are having their party on Bethlehem time, Ann sings, and Buster learns the skill crane! This episode features one of my favorite Buster lines: “These are my awards, Mother. From Army. The seal is for marksmanship and the gorilla is for sand racing.” Now if you’ll excuse me, they’re putting me in something called Hero Squad.

10. “Symphony of Illumination”—How I Met Your Mother

Spoiler alert: that twist you’ve heard about at the end of “Symphony of Illumination” is the twist of a knife in your heart. This is a painful one. I didn’t see the end coming at all, and it breaks me every time, but what really gets me is that Ted is waiting to support Robin before he even knows what’s wrong. If HIMYM’s Christmas episodes have one unifying theme, it’s this: they make me like Ted.

9. “Christmas Scandal”—Parks and Recreation

Councilman Dexhart’s unapologetic promiscuity, Pawnee’s raccoon infestation, and crazy town hall meetings: these are a few of my favorite things. Leslie embraces Pawnee even when it threatens to bring her down with it—and when everyone in the Parks Department lives a day in her shoes, they get to see just how much she does for the town she loves. She literally pulls down her pants for Pawnee. Plus, from the mouth of Tom Haverford: “Listening to that tree lighting’s gonna be DOPE.”

8.  “The Santa in the Slush”—Bones

This one’s all about the childish wonder of Christmastime and the role we all play in preserving it. Brennan embraces the idea that “it’s not morally wrong to lie at Christmas” with all the adorable excitement we’ve come to expect from her. I love how much the squints enjoy solving this case together and the way B&B’s faces light up in Kris Kringle’s apartment.

bones santa in the slush

And of course, there’s The Kiss, or The Moment Caroline Julian Became Our Voice. Thanks for being puckish, Caroline.

was there tongue

bones kiss

It’s a pretty wonderful scene, especially because it gives us this behind-the-scenes video and some awkward post-kiss stammering (“Thanks for the…gum”), but I still prefer Booth’s gift to Brennan. There’s no blackmail here; just Booth putting his partner first. AND WEARING THAT GREY SWEATER.

booth tree

Lookin’ good for the holidays.

7. “Santa”—New Girl

I have two words for you, and those two words are “Black Santa.” But if you need more reason to enjoy this episode, it’s also responsible for Nick’s stripper dance, Schmidt’s stripper dance, and Nick’s reaction to Schmidt’s stripper dance (“Dude, you are as dumb as it gets!”). Throw in some solid acting by Zooey Deschanel as Jess navigates the tension between the “smart” choice and her innate optimism, and you’ve got a snappy holiday episode that justifies New Girl’s big heart. “I’m gonna die alone. And MERRY CHRISTMAS.”

Next page: Claymation, Jean-Ralphio, and shirtless men.

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