Best Holiday Episodes of Our Favorite TV Shows

“Christmas Special” – 30 Rock

One of the best examples of how 30 Rock used the show-within-a-show concept is when Jack attempts to put on a live Christmas special in order to avoid dealing with his feelings about his mother in “Christmas Special”,  an early episode of the third season. Liz also tries to ignore her feelings about her parents cancelling their annual holiday get-together by participating in a “Letters to Santa” program that ends up going completely off the rails. At the end of the episode, both Liz and Jack realize that it’s ok to have complicated feelings about the holidays, but it’s always worth it to celebrate it anyway.

“Afternoon Delight” – Arrested Development

This isn’t the most traditional holiday episode, but it does use an office Christmas party to extremely memorable effect.

The Arrested Development episode “Afternoon Delight” uses the idea of Christmas as a way to add tension to an already hilarious episode. In one of the episode’s most memorable moments, Michael attempts to lighten the mood at the company Christmas party by singing a duet of “Afternoon Delight” with his niece Maeby. It’s only when they get halfway through that the true meaning of the song starts to become apparent.


“Stuff” – Black-ish

The Black-ish second season episode “Stuff” does a great job at showing all the ways that one family can celebrate Christmas. The conflict of the episode occurs when Dre decides to “cancel” Christmas because he’s fed up that his children only seem to appreciate the commercial aspects of the holiday. This leads to Dre’s parents each trying to impose their own view of the holiday on the family, until they all learn that it’s okay to celebrate in your own way, as long as you’re with people who love and support you.

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