12 Best Christmas TV Specials

12/16/2020



Christmas movies are well loved online, but where's the love for the TV specials that we routinely watch every year? Here I've put together a list of my go-to specials that never fail to spark some Christmas joy inside of my cheery heart. One might say that they cause my heart to grow three sizes.

12) 'Amends' 
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 1998

It's well known around these parts that Buffy is my all time favourite TV show. Growing up this was never a favourite episode of mine. I found the overall plot bleak and wanted more festiveness. However, as an adult, I appreciate this episode more than words can express. Season 3 of the show was the season of growth for Buffy as a character and I think that was very prominent in Amends. I appreciate how it touches on loneliness, suicide, and the pressure to feel something else this time of year. This is one of the strongest episodes on mental health. Buffy has aged like fine wine. Perfection.

11) 'A Christmassy Ted'
Father Ted, 1982

This quirky Irish comedy about a bunch of priests living in a parish takes up a huge chunk of my heart. Father Ted was a huge part of my childhood and remains one of the most comforting shows I watch. This 1 hour special is ridiculous but incredibly fun. It's a must watch for me every year. (It's now on Prime, so if you're in the US and want a way to watch it.. there you go!)

10) 'Good Holidays To You'
Single Parents, 2019

One of the newer shows on this list, but it rightfully deserves a place. It's no secret that I absolutely adored Single Parents, I'm still heartbroken that it got cancelled. The first half of season 2 was quite messy, but it really picked up it's stride after this wonderful Christmas episode that filled viewers everywhere with festive cheer. In a bid to distract Graham from the desire of meeting his dad, Angie enlists Will's help to find snow. If you don't know what Single Parents is about, well... it's about a bunch single parents. It's heavy in the "found family" troupe and I'm so glad that I actively stalk everything Leighton Meester does as it introduced me to this incredibly underrated sitcom. Give it a go! 

9) 'All About Christmas Eve'
Will & Grace, 2002

Most people prefer the season 4 'Christmas Balls' episode but I personally adore this one. When Leo keeps cancelling on Grace to go watch the Nutcracker, she forces Will to repeatedly change his plans to suit her. I think this is the first W&G episode where the dynamic duo have to come to terms with the changes between them now that Grace is married. I find the overall script perfection and who doesn't want to see Megan Mullaly singing Christmas carols?

8) 'Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer'
Grey's Anatomy, 2005

This isn't necessarily a joyful Christmas special (besides Izzie's cray-cray decorating) but I think it perfectly captures the emotions of Christmas without making it unrealistically perfect. We all watch this episode for the beauty that is the end scene of Meredith, George, and Izzie sitting under the tree. That is now one of my most utilized ways of dealing with the stress of Christmas. Strongly recommend, 10/10.

7) 'Joey and the Plot Twist'
Joey, 2005

Ready for the most controversial opinion.... ever? I way preferred Joey to Friends. The spin-off has aged so much better than the sitcom about a bunch of privileged stuck-up problematic people. Yes, Friends takes up a piece of my heart due to the memories of finding a VHS that had a new 4 episodes that me and my mum hadn't watched for 12.95 (I swear, VHS tapes are the reason that my family aren't billionaires. Off topic, but I vividly remember my mum purchasing the last HALF of Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 7 for 44.99. WHAT?). And to clarify, that was 12.95 for a used tape! Not even new! The audacity. Anyhoo, I recently rewatched Joey with my husband and still found myself laughing more than cringing, which is something I can't say when rewatching a season of Friends. This Christmas special is filled to the brim with festive cheer, quotable lines, and the first appearance of Lucy Liu on the show. Definitely one of my favourites! 

6) 'Christmas With The Royle Family'
The Royle Family, 1999

In the UK, The Royle Family is as beloved as the actual Royal Family. A sitcom about a non-wealthy family just going about their lives shouldn't be so compelling, but it is. Any British family in the UK, no matter their class or where about in the UK they live, can relate to the Royles - whether through the family bickering, the dry witty humor that only Brits can properly excel at, or it's just a very nostalgic show for you as it reminds you of gathering around the TV with your family, especially on Christmas day, and watching the new special. The first Christmas special 'Christmas With The Royle Family' made even Grandad's wipe a tear by that final scene. It's heartwarming, homey, and truly captures the spirit of Christmas. 

5) 'A Rosewell Christmas Carol'
Rosewell, 2000

Everyone is sleeping on this truly exquisite Christmas special. If I ever want to mutually cry and replenish my faith in humanity, I watch this episode. After witnessing the death of  man, Max is haunted by the ghost of him. In an attempt to redeem himself, Max helps the dead man's daughter who has cancer. This is a difficult episode as neither of the couples we love (Max and Liz & Michael and Maria) are together, but it's still true perfection. It's a huge nod to A Christmas Carol and yet still manages to feel authentic. Watch!

4) 'It's All About The Gilmores'
Gilmore Girls, 2000-2007

Am I being totally cheating? YES. But come on, shows like Gilmore Girls are made for cozy goodness so naturally there are a good few Christmassy episodes that are perfect for watching while curled up near your twinkly Christmas tree. If you put a sharpened candy cane to my head and forced me to choose, I'd probably go with That'll Do, Pig, Forgiveness and Stuff, and Santa's Secret Stuff as my top favorites. 

3) 'A Very Glee Christmas'
Glee, 2010

It's no secret that I'm a huge Gleek, the Ryan Murphy musical series was definitely of it's time but it really helped me throughout my teens to embrace my true self. This Season 2 Christmas special is a must watch for me every single year. Between Finchel singing Last Christmas at a Christmas Tree farm, Sue being the literal Grinch, and a very unrealistic yet heartwarming end to the episode that involves mechanical legs.. it's everything that Glee and Christmas should be when combined. 

2) Gavin & Stacey, 'Christmas Special'
Gavin & Stacey, 2008

Another British classic on the list? Of course! Gavin & Stacey has become a cult favourite in the UK and with absolute good reason. In 2019 they broke the country by doing a new Christmas special, but for me, nothing can be the original one from 2008. I think it still holds up wonderfully and, I mean, is it even Christmas if you don't want to punch Dave Coaches? If you don't know, Gavin & Stacey is a sitcom about a Welsh girl and an Essex boy who start dating and bring their very different families together. In the Christmas Special, the Wests (accompanied by Nessa, Dave, and Neill the baby) are travelling to Essex to spend the Christmas season with the Shipmans. It's funny, and truly a gem. If you're in the US, the entire series is on Prime!

1) 'A Very Supernatural Christmas'
Supernatural, 2007

Supernatural and Gilmore Girls are shows that remind me of my mother. This episode from the TV show about 2 demon hunting brothers is arguably one of my most rewatched Christmas specials.. ever. Me and my mother would somehow manage to watch it at least five times over the Christmas period, and maybe even once or twice throughout the year. The melancholy atmosphere, the flashbacks to when Sam and Dean were children, the crazy Christmas loving devil worshipping couple who have an enviously cheery wardrobe.. it's all perfection. It makes you laugh, cry, and ache for family. Which, I mean, isn't that the epitome of Christmas?

What's your must watch Christmas special? Let me know!


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