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 next two weeks, we’re asking you to vote for your favorite episodes until we get a winner: the undisputed best Christmas episode of all time.
(1) Seinfeld, “The Strike” (aired December 18, 1997)
Not too many TV episodes can claim to have created a new national holiday. But this “Seinfeld” classic introduced us to the Costanza family celebration of Festivus, a sort of anti-Christmas marked by the traditional “airing of grievances” (i.e. George’s father telling everyone how much they’ve disappointed him this year), the post-dinner “feats of strength” (i.e. a wrestling match on the living room floor), and the display of a simple, unadorned aluminum pole. Honestly, the rest of the episode is mediocre (although George’s fake donation to “The Human Fund” is classic Costanza), but the genius notion of Festivus makes "The Strike" an unquestioned holiday institution... and our top seed.
(16) Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, “What Is a Door Nut?” (aired August 12, 2012)
In college basketball, the 16 seed is pretty much a sacrificial lamb, a weakling destined to get annihilated by a powerhouse top seed. In that spirit, we know that nothing we put here stands a chance against the greatness that is Festivus… so why not offer up a little redneck Christmas in July? On a sweltering-hot Georgia day at the height of summer, the Thompson clan decorates their yard with tacky inflatable Christmas decorations for a charity event, while Honey Boo Boo’s dad Sugar Bear (they do have Christmassy names, you have to admit) climbs inside a disgusting Santa suit that he says "smells like a chain-smoking goat.” (And he should know.) Well, if you’re gonna go down in the first round, might as well go down in flames, right?
Which episode deserves to advance to the next round of Mistletoe Madness? Vote in the poll above, click here to see the full bracket and vote on other pairings (first-round 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.
- Holidays & Celebrations
- Society & Culture