The holidays are a special time of year, and fortunately for us, TV writers have caught on to this. Turn your set on anytime in December and you’ll find plenty of television shows featuring special holiday-centric episodes. But which ones are worth watching, and which ones have just been overdone? We’ve rounded up some of the top holiday episode moments for your viewing pleasure—and as we love to give diverse media extra love, many of these TV moments are also from shows where our people of color are front and center. Look over our list and then update your watchlist for the next few weeks to truly get into the spirit of the season.
Fresh Off The Boat – “The Real Santa”
Believing in Santa can be difficult for some kids, especially children of color. When little Evan is teased by white friends who tell him Santa can’t be Chinese, his mother comes to the rescue by creating a special character known as Lao Ban Santa (Boss Santa), who is a Chinese woman and the boss of all the white Santas on earth. This scene where Evan meets Lao Ban Santa makes my heart sing.
The O.C. – “Christmukkah”
Let’s face it: Christmas is king when it comes to holiday episodes, while other holidays tend to command much less of the spotlight. That’s why we have to appreciate the hell out of The O.C.’s Seth Cohen and his awesome combo holiday: Chrismukkah. Now you, too, can learn about this dual holiday extravaganza (including the infamous “yamaclaus”).
Jane the Virgin – “Chapter Thirty”
If you follow Jane the Virgin, you know there’s about 50 ups and downs throughout each episode (much like any telenovela). In Chapter Thirty, Jane is struggling with her feelings for Michael when she suddenly finds a package outside her home containing a treetop angel that Jane’s family always places on their Xmas tree. Michael took it in an earlier episode to have it fixed and returns it Christmas eve. Another holiday miracle? Alba gets her green card in the mail. Lots of feel-good moments here!
The Office – “Dwight Christmas”
The Office has so many holiday episodes, it’s hard to know which one to pick first. I’m opting to go with this Dwight-centric scene where Mr. Schrute decides to introduce everyone to a Pennsylvania Dutch celebration he grew up with: the tradition of Belsnickel. This is just one scene, but the whole episode is perfect for getting into the spirit of things, with plenty of laughs in between.
Superstore – “Christmas Eve”
The holidays might be magical for some, but this episode addresses how it can be for those who are struggling. Amy (America Ferrera) is struggling at Christmastime as her ex had moved on. Along with Cheyenne and Dina, Amy and the girls drunkenly “borrow” some motorized carts from Cloud 9 to go to Adam’s new girlfriend’s house and cause some damage. Sure, I don’t recommend doing this in real life—but it’s pretty hilarious when it takes place in sitcom land.
The Proud Family – “Seven Days Of Kwanzaa”
The Proud Family was certainly a show ahead of its time, and in this episode, they introduce their audience to the holiday of Kwanzaa. The Prouds end up inviting a homeless family into their home for the holidays, and in exchange, the family teach the Prouds all about Kwanzaa. It’s one of the few episodes out there about Kwanzaa, and probably one of the best for truly going into the various aspects of the holiday, like collective work and cooperative economics.
Parks and Rec – “Ron and Diane”
Parks and Rec is another show that had several holiday episodes, but this moment from the episode “Ron and Diane,” featuring Jerry’s family and their very Gergich Christmas, is comedy gold. Really, though, the entire episode is filled with holiday cheer. Plus any episode with Megan Mullally (a.k.a. Tammi, Ron Swanson’s ex) guest starring is always amazing.