tvDownload’s 2014 Rewind: The Ten Best Holiday Episodes EVER

10. Everybody Loves Raymond: "The Toaster" (Season 3, Episode 12 - originally aired 12/14/1998) Available on Netflix.

In true Barone fashion, Christmastime is clearly no exception when it comes to funny family misunderstandings. When Ray gets excited after receiving multiple compliments from several people, including Debra's persnickety parents, about his gift of personalized 'Barone' toasters, he wonders why his parents, Frank and Marie, have said nothing about the item. As he longs for his parent's approval, Ray is shocked to hear what has become of Frank and Marie's toaster.   The episode is even funnier if you watch it knowing that this is a true life story from creator Phil Rosenthal.  

For other Holiday themed laughers from Everybody Loves Raymond, check out "Season's Greetings" from season six, "Christmas Present" from season five, and "All I Want for Christmas" from season two.
9. Frasier: "Merry Xmas, Mrs. Moskowitz" (Season 6, Episode 10 - originally aired 12/17/1998) Available on Netflix.

Wanting to impress his Jewish girlfriend's mother, Frasier pretends to shun Christmas and all its traditions. The charade is complicated by Niles, who has been cast as Jesus in a local production, and Martin, who insists on keeping his 'Dancing Santa' out for all to see.

Moving through the episode at a frenetic pace, as only the talented cast of Frasier can, and dropping every double entendre imaginable, this is twenty-two minutes of wacky Holiday fun.
8.Cagney and Lacey: "Play it Again, Santa" (Season 5, Episode 11 - originally aired 12/23/1985) Available on Hulu.com

Yes, Cagney & Lacey - a cop show. An old cop show at that.

In this memorable episode, several street corner Santas are missing as are some gold records from a music executive's office. Not much drama here, but a nice, sweet story, with a wrap up that includes a lovely Christmas song that had it been released publicly would undoubtedly be a Holiday classic.
7. The Office: A Benihana Christmas (Season 3, Episode 10 - originally aired 12/31/2006) Available on Netflix.

  Michael sends out an illicit Christmas card that gets him in trouble with his girlfriend, while infighting splits the party planning committee in two and results in two competing Holiday parties at Dunder Mifflin.

For another excellent Holiday episode from the folks at The Office, check out "The Christmas Party" from season two.
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6.M*A*S*H: "Death Takes a Holiday" (Season 9, Episode 5 - originally aired 12/15/1980) This episode will air on Christmas night on the MeTV network.  

As everyone knows, the genius of M*A*S*H is the successful combination of comedy and drama. This episode is no exception as the doctors are determined to keep a gravely injured soldier alive, if even only for a few more hours, so that his family doesn't forever remember Christmas Day as the day they lost their husband and father. Meanwhile, stuffy Major Winchester lets down his guard and showers a Korean family with treats, only to have them surprise him with what they do with his gifts.
5. 30 Rock: "LudaChristmas" (Season 2, Episode 9 – originally aired 12/13/2007)   Available on Netflix.

  Liz's happy-go-lucky family annoys Jack's mother Colleen to the point that she vows to bring them down. Andy Richter as Liz's brother, Buck Henry as her father, and Elaine Stritch as Jack's mother are outstanding in their delivery at a truly dysfunctional family dinner.   Back at the office, Tracy's plans for the annual LudaChristmas party may be derailed by Kenneth.

  For another excellent 30 Rock Holiday episode, check out season three's "Christmas Special."
4. The West Wing: "In Excelsis Deo" (Season 1, Episode 10 - originally aired 12/15/1999) Available on Netflix.

  In a very poignant, and ironically, still, topical episode, Toby learns that a man died wearing a coat with his card in the pocket. When Toby learns that the man was a homeless veteran, he struggles to arrange a proper burial for the man.
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3. The Simpsons: "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" (Season 1, Episode 1 - originally aired 12/17/1989) Available on Amazon.  

When Homer learns that he will not be getting his Christmas bonus from the plant, he decides to keep the financial troubles a secret. When his plan to work as a mall Santa doesn't pan out, he heads to the dog track, but ends up bringing something other than money home to the family. Of interesting note, this is the very first stand-alone episode of The Simpsons to air.
2.Friends: The One with the Holiday Armadillo (Season 7, Episode 10 - originally aired 12/14/2000) Available on Amazon.  

Jewish Ross struggles to teach his young son, Ben, the true meaning of Hanukkah, as the boy can't seem to get his mind off of Santa's impending visit.

Wackiness ensues as somehow Santa, Superman, and the Holiday Armadillo end up in Monica's kitchen for a confab on how to best teach Ben about the Festival of Lights.
1.Seinfeld: "The Strike" (Season 9, Episode 10 - originally aired 12/18/1997) Available on Crackle  

Of course, this has to be number one. How can it not? This is a television episode that created its own Holiday: Festivus!

Created by Mr. Constanza (on the show), Festivus is the ‘Holiday for the Rest of Us!’ It's a time when we air our grievances and then perform feats of strength as we admire the Festivus pole.   We must thank the real creator of Festivus, Mr. Dan O'Keefe, and his son Daniel, a writer on Seinfeld, for introducing us to this holiday, now celebrated traditionally on December 23rd.

Unless you’re the Grinch or Ebenezer Scrooge, it’s not too hard to get in the holiday spirit, but, if you’re looking to expand your holiday viewing repertoire, here are ten television episodes that you might enjoy. Most are comedies, but there are two dramas on this list as well, if that’s your thing.

Please note, these are brief summaries of each episode, not full descriptions of plot points and twists so that you may fully enjoy the episodes when you watch them.

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