It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That is, time for TV shows to roll out a fresh batch of Christmas-themed episodes for our viewing pleasure. But which of the many Christmas episodes we’ve enjoyed over the years have stood the test of time to become a true holiday tradition? You tell us. We’ve ranked the most enduring Christmas episodes ever -- along with a few wild cards -- and placed them in a March Madness-style bracket. Over the past two weeks, we’ve been asking you to vote for your favorite episodes until we get a winner: the undisputed best Christmas episode of all time.
(8) M*A*S*H, “Death Takes a Holiday” (aired December 15, 1980)
To quote the great Frank Costanza, we’ve got a lot of problems with you people. We ranked “Seinfeld’s” introduction to the wonders of Festivus, 1997’s “The Strike,” as our top-seeded Christmas episode, but in Round 2, you voted to ditch the aluminum pole in favor of this holiday-themed episode of “M*A*S*H”… and it wasn’t even close. We have to admit, Hawkeye and the "M*A*S*H" gang working overtime to keep a man from dying on Christmas Day does make us a little misty. But the question now is, can the 4077th keep their surprising run alive against the Greendale study group and their off-key Christmas pageant? We’ve learned not to bet against feel-good sentiment this time of year.
In lieu of a scene from this episode (which we couldn't find for the life of us), enjoy a montage of "M*A*S*H" Christmas photos set to a Norwegian rendition of "O Holy Night" (YouTube is a very strange place):
(12) Community, “Regional Holiday Music” (aired December 8, 2011)
We’re also kind of surprised to see how far this “Community” installment has gotten in the bracket. Sure, we love seeing the study group getting a dose of holiday “Glee” crammed down their throats. But since the episode is only a year old, we didn’t think it’d have the staying power of some of the more established holiday classics. It gave our favorite Christmas edition of “The Office” the pink slip in Round 2, though… thanks, perhaps, to a timely tweet from star Joel McHale. Joel, if you’re out there: “M*A*S*H” has proven to be a formidable opponent so far. You might need to start a Twitter war with Alan Alda if you want to come out on top here.
Which episode deserves to advance to the final round of Mistletoe Madness? Vote in the poll at the top of the page, click here to see the full bracket and vote on other pairings (Final Four voting ends Tuesday at 6 PM PT), tweet out your choices using the hashtag #MistletoeMadness, and hit the comments to tell us about all the great Christmas episodes we forgot to include.