As TV audiences, we have been truly spoiled with some amazing Christmas specials over the past few decades.
Whether it be one that you have seen a million times on rewatches, or one that you have only recently discovered, Christmas TV specials can be a lot of fun to watch during the festive season. However, as there are a lot of them, it can be difficult to narrow down the best ones to prioritise – but this is where we come in!
Below, we have devised a list of what we think are the top 10 must-see Christmas specials from some of our favourite shows. From American sitcoms to British classics, we guarantee that these episodes will give you endless laughs and smiles.
So, don’t let Christmas pass you by without watching a few of these jolly-festive specials:
Friends, Season 7 Episode 10: ‘The One With The Holiday Armadillo’
Friends has a few great episodes set around Christmas time, but for us, this one from its seventh season is unbeatable! Ross is delighted to have his young son Ben for Christmas for the first time ever, and vows to use the opportunity to teach his six-year-old about his Jewish heritage and the festivities of Hanukkah. However, when Ben gets upset upon learning that Santa Claus (aka Ross in a costume) won’t be visiting him for the holidays, Ross sets out on a panicked mission to find a Santa suit… but with no costumes left available to rent so close to Christmas, the only thing available to him is an armadillo suit!
Gavin and Stacey 2008 Christmas Special
We’ve lost count of how many times we’ve watched this classic! Although we also adore the recent 2019 Christmas special from the Gavin and Stacey gang, this one will always be our favourite. The West and Shipman families are coming together in Essex to celebrate Christmas for the first time ever. However, when Gavin’s mum Pam and his best friend Smithy find out that Gavin and Stacey are moving to Wales for his new job, rows begin to break out amongst the group and their Christmas plans become threatened. Will they be able to have a very merry Christmas in the end?
Ted Lasso, Season 2 Episode 4: ‘Carol of the Bells’
This is one of our more recent favourites! In season 2 of the hit football-based comedy Ted Lasso, Ted and the team at Richmond FC are getting ready to celebrate Christmas. Ted and his boss Rebecca partner up together for the holidays as they navigate their first festive seasons as divorcees. Richmond executive Higgins offers up his family’s dinner table to any lonely footballer on the team, but he ends up getting a much bigger response than he anticipated. Meanwhile, grumpy Roy Kent and his girlfriend Keeley go on a mission to find a dentist when they discover that Roy’s niece Phoebe has been bullied for a particular breath issue. A lot of festive wholesomeness in this one!
The Office (US), Season 2 Episode 10: ‘Christmas Party’
Who doesn’t love a trip to The Office? In this Christmas special, everyone in the office decides to take part in a Secret Santa gift exchange. However, when boss Michael is unamused with his gift of oven gloves from Phyllis, he causes tension by turning the exchanges into White Elephant, meaning that gifts can be ruthlessly swapped. This episode also contains the adorable subplot of Jim creating the perfect teapot gift for his crush Pam, which includes a letter telling her how he really feels about her… but with Michael’s rule change enforced, will Pam even get Jim’s gift?
New Girl, Season 1 Episode 9: ‘The 23rd’
The very first festive New Girl episode, and it’s a great one! The gang all head to Schmidt’s fancy office party on December 23rd, during which he, as the only male in the office, is being forced to dress up as a ‘sexy Santa’. While Nick is receiving constant phone calls from his mother, panicking that he will miss his flight home for Christmas, Jess begins to realise that she doesn’t want to be with her new boyfriend Paul, after he surprises her with a declaration of love and an expensive Christmas gift. The episode concludes with a magical and heartwarming montage of the friends getting into the festive spirit with a nearby neighbourhood’s Christmas lights display.
Miranda, Series 2 Episode 6: ‘The Perfect Christmas’
The first of two Miranda Christmas specials sees Miranda becoming increasingly stressed out about the prospect of spending yet another Christmas with her unbearable parents. In a last-minute decision, she abandons her plans and decides to spend the holidays with her friends Gary, Stevie, Tilly and Clive instead. However, the group soon begin to realise that a ‘friendmas’ sometimes isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The episode also contains a hilarious side plot of Miranda continuously trying (and failing) to organise her Christmas presents delivery to arrive on time. Such fun!
The Vicar Of Dibley 2006 Christmas Special: ‘The Handsome Stranger’
The penultimate ever episode of The Vicar of Dibley, and one of the greats! It’s approaching Christmas 2006, and vicar Geraldine Granger is feeling gloomy about officiating her 100th wedding in the Dibley parish, without ever coming close to tying the knot herself. Geraldine’s luck soon begins to turn, however, when handsome stranger Harry buys a house in the village and the pair seemingly become enamoured with each other… but is it too good to be true?
The Office (UK) Christmas Special
The very last episode of the British comedy series, and it’s a two-parter! This Christmas special picks up three years after the original mockumentary ended. The Wernham Hogg employees have moved on from their former boss David Brent, who is now a travelling salesman and wannabe singer, getting by with a few depressing nightclub appearances. When David returns to the office to celebrate Christmas with his former employees, chaos immediately ensues! Meanwhile, Dawn also returns to Slough for the Christmas party to be greeted by a stunned Tim, who begins to hope that this might be his chance to finally have his happy ending with her.
Motherland 2020 Christmas Special
An underrated favourite! BBC comedy Motherland kicked off its third and final series in 2020 with a hilarious Christmas special. It’s Christmas Eve, and mum Julia has reached boiling point – her in-laws are driving her insane, there’s too much Christmas food prep still to be done, and everything keeps falling out of the fridge. In an attempt to break free from the stress, she drags her friends Liz, Kevin and Meg to their posh frenemy Amanda’s elaborate Christmas party. Naturally, chaos ensues and Amanda’s party quickly goes downhill. A comical watch!
Father Ted 1996 Christmas Special: ‘A Christmassy Ted’
Lastly, how could we not include this Irish classic? In this hour-long edition of Father Ted, Ted and Dougal are busy preparing for the Christmas celebrations, with the priests hoping for a quiet and uneventful holiday season. Of course, that’s not what they end up with! Whilst out shopping in a department store, the pair accidentally lead themselves and six other priests into seemingly the largest lingerie section in the world. Afterwards, Ted is congratulated with a Golden Cleric award for rescuing the priests from embarrassment. However, things go awry when he plans a vindictive acceptance speech that will leave people horrified…