As the holidays approach, so do a cavalcade of traditions that accompany them. For television, one such tradition is the requisite Christmas TV episode. Often, the writers decide that before coming back for the new year, their characters should take a quick break and come together in a celebration of the holidays. If you're looking to get into the Christmas spirit, seeing your favorite characters gathered around a tree exchanging presents is sure to put even the biggest Grinch in the holiday mood. If you're looking for easily accessible holiday TV, the best place to start is the dig through the wide selection of Christmas-themed TV episodes on Netflix.
There is a lot of content on Netflix. Automated Insights reported that as of July 2015, there was 34,739 hours worth of content on Netflix, over three-and-a-half years. That means a whole lot of searching through a whole lot of different television shows to find the best Christmas episodes suited for you. Luckily, this list of available Christmas episodes on Netflix should make it a lot easier to find what you are looking for, so you can keep your holiday streaming to strictly Kris Kringle-friendly viewing material.
30 Rock — "Ludachristmas"
Season 2, Episode 9
30 Rock is a great resource for absurd Christmas-related comedy. Over seven seasons they've produced multiple holiday episodes, including Season 3's "Christmas Special" and Season 5's "Christmas Attack Zone," but their first foray into the holiday is truly special. Between Kenneth's quest to share the true meaning of Christmas and an appearance by the legendary Elaine Stritch as Jack Donaghy's mother, this episode is sure to bring plenty of cheer.
Arrested Development — "Afternoon Delight"
Season 2, Episode 6
Jason Bateman is the star of the film Office Christmas Party, but you'd be hard-pressed to find him starring in a more disastrous, hilarious Christmas fête than the Bluth Company Christmas party in "Afternoon Delight." You'd also be hard-pressed to ever listen to the titular song by Starland Vocal Band the same way again after watching it get the karaoke treatment not once, but twice in this hilarious holiday episode.
Black Mirror — "White Christmas"
Season 2, Episode 4
While spending the holiday season with Jon Hamm may sound appealing, this installment of the popular techno-horror anthology series will make you think otherwise. Telling three intertwined stories, this feature length episode is for anyone who is looking for something a little more sad and scary on Christmas Day.
Bob's Burgers — "Christmas In The Car"
Season 4, Episode 8
Bob's Burgers is well-known for their high-quality holiday episodes, and their Christmas episode is no different. Amongst the many great offerings is Season 4's "Christmas In The Car." What starts with a last-minute trip to get a Christmas tree ends with a suspicious candy cane truck, an attempt to lay booby traps for Santa Claus, and a lot of laughs.
Call The Midwife — Christmas Specials From 2012, 2013, 2014, & 2015
If your interest is piqued by wanting to see how British nurses in the late '50s and early '60s celebrated Christmas, you are in luck. Call The Midwife has had a Christmas special every single year since 2012, including a two-part episode in 2015. That's five hours of Christmas from a show that clearly takes the holiday seriously.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend — "My Mom, Greg's Mom, and Josh's Sweet Dance Moves!"
Season 1, Episode 8
The residents of West Covina, California may live in perpetual sunniness, but that doesn't stop them from getting in on the Holiday fun. The episode, which follows the characters heading towards families both traditional and untraditional (i.e: hip-hop dance crew), also features two grand musical numbers in "California Christmastime" and the too true ode-to-having-a-parent-visit-your-new-house that is "Where's The Bathroom?" performed by Broadway legend Tovah Feldshuh.
Friends — "The One With The Holiday Armadillo"
Season 7, Episode 10
Friends features plenty of Christmas episodes, at least one for each season. Only one of those episodes features Ross dressing up like an Armadillo. What more could anyone want?
Gilmore Girls — "Forgiveness And Stuff"
Season 1, Episode 10
The residents of Stars Hollow seem to have their own, unique approach to everything and Christmas is no different. While the Christmas in "Forgiveness And Stuff" isn't very jolly, it's still a quintessential Gilmore Christmas.
Glee — "A Very Glee Christmas"
Season 2, Episode 10
It was going to be impossible for Glee to go long without doing a Christmas episode, the show was meant for the holidays. While the show and the holiday are a perfect match, the episodes somehow managed to be even better than anyone could expect, mixing the stories of Santa Claus, The Grinch, and an exceptional cover of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" into one episode.
How I Met Your Mother — "How Lily Stole Christmas"
Season 2, Episode 11
The characters in How I Met Your Mother may love Christmas more than any other television group of friends. Unfortunately, they're also the most likely to let Christmas almost be ruined because they're angry at each other. This holiday episode, has Lily getting upset because she finds a recording of Ted calling her a Grinch. Only he didn't say Grinch. He said THE word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words. Fear not, as all is resolved and everyone's heart grows three sizes by the end of the episode.
Lost — "The Constant"
Season 4, Episode 5
If you like to celebrate your holiday season with a big heap of science fiction and time travel, then Lost's "The Constant" is the episode for you. While Christmas Eve doesn't bring much solace for most of the survivors stuck on The Island, the lovable Desmond uses the power of love and the magic of Christmas (no, really) to keep his consciousness from hopping back and forth in time, resulting in a reunion of sorts with a long-lost lover. If that's not a Christmas miracle, I don't know what is.
The Office — "A Benihana Christmas"
Season 3, Episodes 10 & 11
This two-part Office Christmas special begins with mostly good intentions and, as most episodes of The Office, takes a disastrous (and hilarious) turn before reaching a heartwarming ending. The Office celebrated Christmas multiple times over its life as a series, but the holiday has rarely been more cringe-inducing than it is for "A Benihana Christmas."
Parks And Recreation — "Citizen Knope"
Season 4, Episode 10
Of course Leslie Knope loves the holiday season — she's basically the human personification of Christmas spirit. In "Citizen Knope," however, she's lost as a two-week suspension leaves her without anything to do except form a citizens' action committee and invent salger (that's half-sugar, half-salt).
Pretty Little Liars — "How The "A" Stole Christmas"
Season 5, Episode 13
Pretty Little Liars may not seem like the most Christmas-friendly show on television, what with all the murdering that goes on, but even death doesn't stop the holidays. The Liars do their best to try and enjoy the Christmas spirit, but can't help themselves when the opportunity to investigate approaches while their main suspect goes through a Christmas Carol-like vision of experiences from her past, present, and future.
Sherlock - "The Abominable Bride"
Season 3, Episode 4
"The Abominable Bride" takes the famous pair of detectives back to their 19th-century roots, traversing across Victorian England to solve a mystery. While it is technically a Christmas special, there's not a lot of Christmas in this wintery-episode. That doesn't stop "The Abominable Bride" from being a bundle of fun, though, and Watson's fantastic mustache alone is worth watching.
There are so many shows (and movies) on Netflix, so these Christmas episodes are only a tip of the iceberg when it comes to available holiday viewing on the streaming platform — not to mention the viewing selections available on other streaming platforms like Hulu and Amazon Prime. So, if you find the Yule Log a tad on the boring side, the Internet has you covered.
Images: Greg Gayne/The CW, Giphy (13)