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12 Christmas TV specials to get you in the festive mood

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Snow may be falling and chestnuts may be roasting but it doesn’t really feel like Christmas until you witness your favourite on-screen characters getting festive.

There’s something special about a bunch of average-earning TV protagonists living in massive lofts with extravagant decorations. And if that magic, also known as a high production budget, doesn’t fill you with holiday cheer, we don’t know what will.

As the holidays finally clear up our schedules, let’s take this opportunity to indulge in some binge watching. If you’re good, Santa might even renew your Netflix subscription! Here are some of our favourites TV show episodes that are guaranteed to get you in the Christmassy mood.

1. The O.C. - Season 1, Episode 13: “Best Chrismukkah Ever”

The holidays are all about group watching and this show’s a good one to whip out when you’re trying to please a crowd.

Appreciation for it still runs deep and its holiday specials are particularly vivid in fans’ memories (along with the theme song and the infamous Season 3 finale). And that’s because they’re not regular Christmas specials. They introduced the world to the new – and, frankly, quite PC – frontier of winter holidays: Chrismukkah. The deft combination of two holidays takes the show’s storylines to special heights. Although tainted by sporadic corniness, this all-time favourite teen show mastered a formula that resonates with viewers: a lovable lot of characters, archetypical on the surface, yet bursting with individuality.

2. 2 Broke Girls - Season 2, Episode 12: “And The High Holidays”

Just when you think screenwriters would be all out of Christmas-themed puns, TV’s funniest waitresses will prove you wrong. The dynamic pair is on fire in this delightful holiday episode, cracking jokes and experimenting with a shady side-business. Whenever drugs are involved in 2 Broke Girls, magic happens. Like most sitcoms, you don’t need to be a regular viewer to follow the plot. However, this one will probably keep you glued to the screen laughing your Santa hat off.

3. This Is Us - Season 1, Episode 10: “Last Christmas”

Here comes an unexpected tearjerker. The touching family drama starring Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore has been branded one of the best new shows of the year. Its first half culminated with a Christmas-themed mid-season finale. Much like the rest of the season, this episode is filled with flashbacks and emotional ups and downs. If anything, This Is Us is bound to make you more appreciative of your uneventful family holidays.

4. Friends - Season 2, Episode 9: “The One With Phoebe’s Dad”

This epic well-loved sitcom gifted us with many a Christmas special over the years, but the one in Season 2 is arguably the most charming. It might be its grainy 90s nostalgia, Phoebe’s naïve search for her dad or Monica’s adorable habit of tipping people with cookies, but by the time the gang is exchanging hilariously inappropriate gifts at the end we can’t help but feel all warm and fuzzy.

5. How I Met Your Mother - Season 2, Episode 11: “How Lily Stole Christmas”

A funny and sweet tale of Christmas among friends, complete with odd festive traditions. We can all identify with Marshall, motivated to finish an essay by the thought of Christmas cookie dough waiting for him at home.

6. Gossip Girl - Season 1, Episode 11: “Roman Holidays”

This gem from the early days of the teen drama portrays Christmas in New York in a far less idyllic light than Miracle of 34th Street. Although the show’s first season aired in 2007, it was racy and avant-garde enough to still feel fresh today. There are giant candy canes, ice skating incidents, a Victoria’s Secret Christmas tree and romance for days.

7. New Girl - Season 6, Episode 10: “Christmas Eve Eve”

A painfully relatable Secret Santa disappointment sets a goofy holiday atmosphere in the latest episode of New Girl. It features the return of Megan Fox’s character Reagan and an appearance by the loft’s cat Furguson, donning some reindeer antlers. Christmas Eve Eve ends with a dreamlike musical number wrapped in fairy lights: a performance of Christmas (Baby) by none other than Darlene Love.

8. 90210 - Season 2, Episode 12: “Winter Wonderland”

As most of us return to our childhood bedrooms over the winter break, it’s nice to match the nostalgia by indulging in a teenage guilty pleasure. Nothing serves that purpose better than a classic American high school drama - especially one of those where nobody ever actually appears to be studying. Watching a bunch of 27-year-olds playing rich teens at a decadent winter formal will probably get your mind off next term’s assignments.

9. Gilmore Girls Season 7 Episode 11 “Santa’s Secret Stuff”

The girls come up with yet another unconventional twist on the holidays with a belated Christmas celebration to make up for Rory’s absence on the actual day. In true Gilmore fashion, it highlights an inescapable aspect of Christmas: family tensions. The final scene of Lorelai walking home in the snow to Bing Crosby’s classic I’ll Be Home for Christmas is just superior. If you can’t get enough of this show during the holidays, Season 1, Episode 10 is also centred around Christmas… and food.

10. Veronica Mars - Season 1, Episode 10: “An Echolls Family Christmas”

A few rays of light manage to shine through even this grim portrayal of Christmas in the crime-ridden town of Neptune. Rest is a foreign concept for teenage sleuth Veronica, who puts her detective skills to the test with a strict no-bullshit approach to the holiday season. Christmas on this show is anything but serene, with overly decadent decorations and artificial snow covering up lies, violence and corruption.

11. Pretty Little Liars - Season 5, Episode 13: “How The ‘A’ Stole Christmas”

Arguably the trashiest interpretation of Dickens’s Christmas Carol, this episode is hardly one of the show’s best. However, if you’re a Pretty Little Liars fan, it might be worth a rewatch just for the sake of seeing your favourite TV couples engaging in some mistletoe action.

12. How To Get Away With Murder - Season 1, Episode 11: “Best Christmas Ever”

With its intricate plot and funereal themes, this might not be the best pick for post-Christmas lunch afternoon drowsiness. This episode might give you a pointer or two on how to deal with awkward family get-togethers. As it alternates flashbacks of the characters’ holidays spent back home with scenes set in the present, it’s also a good watch for when you’re trying to snap back into reality after a long break.




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