By: Maxine Mulvey
5 awesome Christmas scenes from non-Christmas TV.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The cocoa’s aplenty, the trees are alight, the gifts nearly a-wrapped. The best part? It’s freezing outside! You’ve got the perfect excuse to stay inside watching Christmas-y TV. Fuzzy socks on? Hot drink in hand? All right! Here come five iconic scenes of Yuletide generosity:
“The One With the Holiday Armadillo” (Season 7, Episode 10)
Let’s start with a classic. Ross wants to introduce his son, Ben, to Hanukkah. He goes to a costume shop in search of a Santa costume (so the ever-jolly and familiar Santa Claus may teach Ben the history of the Jewish holiday). But it’s two days before Christmas. The shop is fresh out of Saint Nicks. (The real lesson here: Don’t procrastinate in December.) Back at Monica’s place, Ben is bamboozled by the Holiday Armadillo, aka “Santa’s representative for all the Southern states — and Mexico.” The Holiday Armadillo brings Ben presents and then not-so-subtly transitions from the Christmas chatter to his Hanukkah homily. To Ross’ dismay, his toddler is disinterested in conversing with a bony-plated mammal. Lo and behold, Santa (aka Chandler) bursts through the door! Chandler takes Ross’ lead and teaches Ben about Hanukkah. It’s a heartwarming, silly, multireligious winter holiday story — and the “Friends” magnum opus.
“LAXmas” (Season 4, Episode 11)
The realest holiday trope there ever was: spending hours at the airport so you can be with your loved ones. The show’s titular character, Jess, is yet to board her flight when the boy she’s visiting sends her an intimidatingly beautiful photo of his family’s house — nay, mansion. Jess is so intimidated, in fact, that she panics and splits. Her friends, also at the airport, still awaiting their flights, hear that Jess has ditched her plans and ditch their own flights so they can convince her to take the leap of faith and go see the intimidatingly rich boy. If you’re without a heated beverage, this wholesome platonic love fest is sure to warm you up.
“Secret Santa” (Season 6, Episode 13)
Not one to adhere to gender norms, Phyllis volunteers to play Santa Claus at Dunder Mifflin’s 2009 Christmas party. However, Michael isn’t in the know. When he shows up to the office as Santa — and realizes he’s been beat — he is, as the kids say, apoplectic. The rest of the episode can be summed up in two words: petty sabotage. At first, his strategy is to best Phyllis at the Santa game. When that proves fruitless, he takes the next logical step: dressing up as Christmas’ eponymous being, Jesus Christ. Michael ignores Toby’s human relations-oriented disapproval and focuses on stealing Phyllis’ spotlight. Meanwhile, Dwight is gifted a build-it-yourself nutcracker, and Erin is gifted 184 birds. All in all, it’s a thoroughly unconventional, playfully impious Christmas episode.
“Dwight Christmas” (Season 9, Episode 9)
In this even better “Office” Christmas special, Dwight selects the holiday party’s theme: Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas. Who better to host the festivities than Belsnickel the Deutsch gift-bringer? Forget what Santa taught you. It’s no more “naughty or nice”; it’s “impish or admirable.” Any more given-away details will only spoil the hilarity. So don’t wait to watch! Belsnickel is nigh!
“Christmas Party” (Season 2, Episode 10)
Best for last. It’s another Dunder Mifflin Christmas, and at this point in the series, Jim and Pam aren’t dating yet, but there’s plenty of suggestive eye contact. Lucky for Pam, Jim’s her secret Santa. His teapot (with extras) makes her laugh out loud with joy. But this is “The Office,” so before we get to the happy ending, Michael has to make a ruckus — this time about the secret Santa budget disparity. But the Grinch doesn’t get his way, as employees complain that he’s taken the joy out of the holiday. In the end, we’re reminded that Christmas shouldn’t be about new iPhones but about thoughtfulness and gratitude.
When you’re done watching these shows’ Christmas chronicles, tackle the rest of their episodes, if you haven’t already. ‘Tis the season!
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