Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas (Especially With These Ten Episodes)

It’s that time of the year again, so put on your most terrifically ugly sweater, and let’s celebrate by watching our fictional counterparts celebrate. (Because who needs a real Christmas, when you can just watch one?)

“The Best Chrismukkah Ever,” The O.C.

The O.C. has a few legacies, but none more longstanding than the popularized holiday-term ‘Chrismukkah.’ Seth’s a son of Newport with a newpsie, Protestant mother, and a public-defending, Jewish father. And when you combine the two, you only could get Chrismukkah, a beautiful interfaith holiday that perfectly represents Seth and Ryan and how they fit into Orange County (aka how they really don’t). It’s a little bit confusing, way too much, and yet so very, very right. “It’s eight days of presents followed by one day of many, MANY presents.” The O.C. had four Christmas episodes, but none come close to the first season’s “The Best Chrismukkah Ever” or the Cohen Christmas card that came out of it.

“Amends,” Buffy the Vampire Slayer

All of Buffy’s third season had been leading up to to this moment. Angel had been brought back from the dead, for seemingly no reason, and had been meandering about – albeit cautiously – ever since. In “Amends,” this all comes to a head. Angel starts to have haunting dreams telling him to murder Buffy, overseen by innocents that he killed in his soul-less form, including Giles’ former love, Jenny Calender. So by the end of the episode, to get away from the pain, Angel decides to kill himself. “Am I a thing worth saving? Am I a righteous man?” he asks Buffy. And finally, she snaps, calling out Angel’s pity party. Buffy gets angry in her desperation, and it’s a heartbreaking yet hopeful scene, full of vindication for Buffy and realizations for Angel. Realizations that will, by the end of the season, lead to the creation of Angel’s spin-off show. Angel’s a vampire cursed with a soul, looking to redeem himself. And in “Amends,” the combination of Christmas fate and Buffy’s strength show him this. It’s not exactly jolly, but it’s a new beginning, and a fitting goodbye to that half of the season.

“The Perfect Christmas,” Miranda

Speaking of goodbyes, Miranda’s “The Perfect Christmas” finishes off the second series of her sitcom, and provides the perfect setting for forgiveness and forced togetherness for Miranda and Gary after their big blow out in series two’s “Just Act Normal” episode. Miranda and her friends plan on having their own Christmas - without her embarrassing mother and father – before it goes all horribly wrong. “She wouldn’t confiscate Christmas, would she? I mean, all the food and the pressies. And the food and the music and the food. And the food and the fires. And the food and the food. And the food.” Miranda takes all of the best parts of a modern, secular Christmas in Britain, and ties it up in one thirty-minute episode. (Just add food.)

“Christmas Party Sex Trap,” The Mindy Project

It’s a newbie, but because of Chris Messina’s secret Santa present (those dance moves!!!!!!) “Christmas Party Sex Trap” has to be something you make time for these holidays. It’s one of the best – if not the best – episodes of The Mindy Project to date, and if you don’t watch Danny dancing to Aaliyah’s “Try Again” and just feel things, then I don’t think you deserve to celebrate Christmas at all.

“Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas,” Community

Community’s always been a show that runs with concepts, rather than following any sort of television formula, and so Christmas with Greendale Community College is always something exciting and innovative. But the best of the three (“Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas”) is one of the only episodes on this list that truly examines Christmas, and even understand what the hell it stands for. As Abed tells us: “The meaning of Christmas is that it has meaning. And it can mean whatever we want it to.”

And to me, Christmas means being warm, well-fed, around friends and family, and supplied with plenty of nice things to watch. Happy holidays and many happy viewings, friends.