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.
(6) Friends, "The One With the Holiday Armadillo" (aired December 14, 2000)
In a Round 1 battle of beloved ‘90s sitcoms, this “Friends” holiday nugget easily bested the “Roseanne” episode with Roseanne as a cynical mall Santa. But does the Holiday Armadillo have enough fight left in him to take down Al Bundy? Honestly, we’re not too confident: “Married… With Children” has all the momentum, and Thanksgiving was always the best holiday for “Friends” episodes, anyway. But we still crack up at the sight of Ross in that “weird turtle man” costume, and seeing the Holiday Armadillo, Santa (Chandler), and Superman (Joey) join forces to teach Ross’s son Ben about Hanukkah is strangely heartwarming. (Our favorite part was when Superman flew all the Jews out of Egypt.)
(14) Married… With Children, "It's a Bundyful Life" (aired December 17, 1989)
RIP, Chrismukkah. We had “The O.C.’s” Christmas-meets-Hanukkah installment as a 3-seed, but it got stomped in Round 1 by the Bundy clan in a shocking upset. (This may be due to the fact that “The O.C.” has aged about as well as a carton of milk.) And there’s no reason to think the Bundys’ good fortune will stop here. Plenty of TV sitcoms have done their version of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” but none put quite the twisted spin on it that “Married” did, with the late, great Sam Kinison as Al Bundy’s lecherous guardian angel. And who doesn’t love seeing Peg as a cheery housewife… who can actually cook? We’re pulling for “Married” to keep this Cinderella story alive and reach the Final Four.
Which episode deserves to advance to the next 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 (Round 2 voting ends Friday 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.