As soon as December hits, the only thing you want to do is curl up on your couch with a plate full of festive treats and feel-good Christmas movies on the silver screen. But, as you well know, as the days pass by, you may start to feel as though you’ve watched every Christmas movie possible — both new releases and beloved classics. So, when the inevitable happens (or when you simply don’t have two hours to watch a movie in full), press play on these Christmas-themed TV shows to keep the holiday spirit alive.
Since it can be tricky to nail down the specific made-for-TV moments that capture the Christmas magic, we’ve rounded up some of the very best episodes from Christmases past that embrace all that the cheery season brings — ugly sweaters, festive jingles and awkward family dinners. And if you look closely, you’ll notice that we included 25 episodes from our favorite sitcoms (The Office and Friends, FTW), dramas and period pieces, which means you can watch a new one every single night until Santa comes to town — talk about the ultimate Christmas countdown!
Ted Lasso, “Carol of the Bells”
Ted Lasso gets the Love, Actually treatment in this season 2 episode. Although Ted starts off the episode with a serious case of the holiday blues, things pick up when Rebecca shows up at his door and asks him to help her spread jolly good cheer. Oh, and Roy Kent gets a Christmas miracle of his own.
RELATED: The Best Ted Lasso Gifts to Buy
30 Rock, “Ludachristmas”
Ludachristmas is something we can all get behind. The made-for-TV holiday includes some aspects of Christmas (tacky sweaters, for one), but it’s basically just an excuse for Liz Lemon and her coworkers to hide from their families. Tracy Jordan is the mastermind behind it all, so obviously, chaos and hilarity ensue.
All in the Family, “Christmas Day at the Bunkers”
The Bunker family is missing the holly, jolly cheer after Archie learns that he won’t get his annual Christmas bonus. And while he goes into full-on Scrooge mode, the rest of the family tries to lessen the blow by inviting the Jeffersons over for some holiday fun. Maybe just maybe, it includes a lesson for us all.
Friends, “The One With the Holiday Armadillo”
Girlfriends, “Merry Ex-Mas”
Joan takes her love of Christmas to the next level as she tries to organize a caroling outing with her friends, but not everyone is into the idea. Meanwhile Maya is throwing a Christmas party where she invites her ex-husband and his new girlfriend. Lots of Christmas laughs (and a little drama) make this a great episode.
This Is Us, “Last Christmas”
Word to the wise: Don’t watch this holiday episode of your favorite NBC drama without a box of tissues nearby. (But you wouldn’t expect anything less than a whole bunch of emotional twists and turns from This Is Us, would you?)
Glee, “A Very Glee Christmas”
Full House, “A Very Tanner Christmas”
The Golden Girls, “Have Yourself a Very Little Christmas”
Grey’s Anatomy, “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”
Yep, even your favorite medical drama knows how to get into the Christmas spirit. Rewind all the way back to season 2 for a show that’s not really about the holidays … but is holiday-adjacent, nonetheless.
Gilmore Girls, “The Bracebridge Dinner”
Turn to the season 2 Christmas episode of Gilmore Girls for a whole lot of holiday fun … and the very beginnings of the Jess, Deanand Rory love triangle.
The Office, “Christmas Party”
Seinfeld, “The Strike”
“The Strike” is the Seinfeld episode that brought us Festivus. Enough said.
Bob’s Burgers, “Christmas in the Car”
Yep, the Belchers’ last-minute Christmas adventures are just as kooky and chuckle-worthy as you’d expect them to be.
In this one part heartwarming, one part hilarious episode of ABC comedy black-ish, the Johnsons try to help their kids rediscover the true meaning of Christmas (and spoiler alert: it’s not “stuff”).
Doctor Who, “A Christmas Carol”
This sci-fi spin on the classic Charles Dickens tale was the first Doctor Who Christmas special to star actor Matt Smith, a.k.a. the Eleventh Doctor.
New Girl, “LAXmas”
Thanksgiving might be the most highly anticipated holiday in the New Girl loft, but Jess and the gang had their fair share of Christmas excitement too. When canceled flights left them stranded at LAX in season 4, they made the best of it.
The Brady Bunch, “The Voice of Christmas”
It doesn’t get much more “classic Christmas” than the very first holiday episode of The Brady Bunch, in which Carol comes down with laryngitis and becomes afraid she won’t be able to sing at the family’s holiday church service.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show, “Christmas and the Hard-Luck Kid II”
Mary must find a way to brighten up her holiday when she’s forced to work on not only Christmas, but Christmas Eve too.
Modern Family, “Undeck the Halls”
Queue up the very first Modern Family Christmas episode to watch the shenanigans that unfold when Phil and Claire threaten to “cancel” Christmas … and to marvel at how much the Dunphy kids have grown since season 1.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, “Deck the Halls”
Professional boxer Evander Holyfield guest-starred as himself in the very first Christmas episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Home Improvement, “I’m Scheming of a White Christmas”
Scott Calvin (a.k.a. the star of The Santa Clause) isn’t Tim Allen’s only Christmas-y role worth watching this holiday season.
Cheers, “Christmas Cheers”
The gang’s all here! On Christmas Eve, Rebecca asks all of the Cheers bartenders to stay and work — and Sam ends up scrounging up quite the last-minute gift for her.
Frasier, “Miracle on 3rd or 4th Street”
Downton Abbey, “Christmas at Downton Abbey”
Longtime Downton Abbey fans know that this holiday episode, which is one part Christmas special and one part season 2 finale, is worth rewatching — if only for the last five minutes. (Swoon.)
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