Hey there, Plotaholics! Shane here with another round of holiday-specific streaming suggestions for when you’re tired of talking to your family, but you still need to spend some time together.
1. Hey Arnold, “Arnold’s Christmas” (S1: E20), Hulu
The streaming guide kicks off this time around with the most wholesome of all possible content. In fact, you might want to get to this one before your holiday spirit starts to subside. If you’re in the right head-space, Arnold’s quest for the perfect gifts will hit you right in the feels. Arnold draws Mr. Hyunh’s name in the boarding house’s secret Santa drawing, and he decides to reunite the resident with his long, lost daughter.
Honorary Mentions: N/A
2. Nailed It! Holiday!, “A Classic Christmess” (S2: E2), Netflix
This is more of the same from Netflix’s hit baking competition series. This episode’s guest judge is the always-charming and hilarious, Maya Rudolph. Tune in and watch another trio of ill-equipped amateur bakers stumble through a set of impossible tasks. You know what? Just watch the whole 6-episode season. It’s too good not to.
Honorary Mentions: Every single episode
3. Friends, “The One with the Holiday Armadillo” (S7: E10), Netflix
Ross is concerned that his son, Ben–used here as an actual character instead of a set piece–doesn’t know enough about his Jewish heritage. Ben is more interested in Santa and the more secular aspects of Christmas than he is Hanukkah. Ross wants to rent a Santa costume so he can get Ben’s attention before telling him the story of Hanukkah and the Maccabees, but there are no Santa costumes available that close to Christmas. What ensues is one of the more memorable holiday moments in recent sitcom memory.
Honorary Mentions: “The One with Ross’s Step Forward” (S8: E11), “The One with Christmas in Tulsa” (S9: E10)
4. King of the Hill, “Ms. Wakefield” (S9: E2), Hulu
Hank and the rest of the Hill family readies the house for their annual Christmas party when Ms. Wakefield, an ex-resident of the house occupied by the Hills, arrives in a taxi. Hank happily gives her a tour of her old home. Ms. Wakefield then makes known her plan to die in her old house. In one of the most intensely terrifying scenes in the run of the series, Bobby is home alone when Ms. Wakefield is trying to break in. Hank keeps kicking her out and calling the cops, which makes Hank appear as the bad guy. Eventually, he lets Ms. Wakefield come in to the Christmas party, and she decides not to try to die…yet.
Honorary Mentions: “Pretty, Pretty Dresses” (S3: E9), “‘Twas the Nut Before Christmas” (S5: E8)
5. Seinfeld, “The Pick” (S4: E13), Hulu
It will be an unpopular choice to relegate “The Strike” to an honorary mention, since that episode gave birth to the anti-holiday, Festivus. But this story about Elaine getting some help fro Kramer to take pictures for her Christmas cards, accidentally showing too much cleavage in those pictures, and mailing the cards out before she realizes it is such good Seinfeld fare.
Honorary Mention: “The Strike” (S9: E10)
6. The Simpsons, “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire, (S1: E1), Disney+
The first episode of The Simpsons ever shows us a Simpson family experiencing some money troubles. Homer isn’t getting his bonus, so he takes a job as a shopping mall Santa in order to make some extra money to buy the family gifts. Classic Simpsons in the most literal of all senses.
Honorary Mentions: How nice is it to finally have the option to stream The Simpsons? Just go crazy!
7. Community, “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas” (S2: E11), Hulu
Abed’s mom cancels her annual trip, and he slips into a very interesting depression that has him experiencing his surroundings and the other characters as though they are all characters in a classic Christmas claymation adventure. This is Community at its most Community in the midst of one of its best seasons.
Honorary Mentions: “Regional Holiday Music” (S3: E10), “Comparative Religion (S1: E12)
8. The Office, “Benihana Christmas” (S3: E10/11), Netflix
The Office is so, so good at Christmas episodes, so it’s tough to pick just one (or two, in this case). The two-part “Benihana Christmas” (one-part if you watch on Netflix) is my personal favorite of The Office‘s many holiday episodes. The episode finds Michael Scott in a happy relationship with his realtor, Carol–that is until Carol dumps him for photoshopping himself into a photo of her and her kids on a ski trip with her ex-husband. Michael is devastated, so Andy rallies him (and Jim and Dwight) to Benihana (aka “Asian Hooters”) for a pick-me-up. The guys return for the office Christmas party with two waitresses. Hilarity is imminent. Bonus conflict: Party Planning Committee versus Committee to Plan Parties.
Honorary Mentions: “Christmas Party” (S2: E10), “Classy Christmas” (S7: E11/12)
9. Bob’s Burgers, “Go Rest Ye Merry Gentle-Mannequins” (S3: E9), Hulu
The Belcher family has also provided several quality Christmas-themed episodes over the years, so you could do worse than watching all of them. This story sees the Belchers inherit an old storage unit. When they open the unit, they find a man named Chet living inside. Chet, it turns out, is a window dresser. He begins to design window displays for the restaurant in exchange for a place to stay. Also, he might be in love with a mannequin. Weird.
Honorary Mentions: “Christmas in the Car” (S4: E8), “The Bleakening,” Parts 1 & 2 (S8: E6/7)
10. Always Sunny in Philadelphia, “A Very Sunny Christmas” (S6: E13), Hulu
If Hey Arnold! is the most wholesome of the list, Always Sunny in Philadelphia is the least. Frank tortures Dennis and Dee by buying their dream gifts for himself, Mac realizes his childhood gifts were all stolen from neighbors, and Charlie realizes his mom was turning tricks for a bunch of Santa Clauses in order to pay for his gifts when he was a kid. Watch after the children go to bed.
Honorary Mentions: N/A