Some shows just know how to handle Christmas. You know what show may be the true champ? I’m talking about The Office. The American version, that is. The British version ends with a Christmas special, a very British TV thing to do, but the American version truly just nailed the holiday.
Maybe it’s because Christmas around the office, the literal office that people work in as actual people, not TV characters, is something that feels relatable. Maybe it’s because the drabness of the office setting gets a real pick-me-up by the holidays. Or maybe they just happened to be truly great episodes because they were written well and got strong performances.
One of my very favorite episodes of The Office is “Benihana Christmas,” which is dark and sad but also wonderful. Of course, the first Christmas episode, “Christmas Party,” is a standout from the second season. We all surely remember that one. Jim gets Pam for Secret Santa. Michael goes and buys a bunch of booze. It really felt like a show finding its voice. It also just happened to be a Christmas episode.
“Moroccan Christmas” is a fun one too. It didn’t just shake up the normal show, but shook up the Christmas episode vibe of The Office. Even some of the Christmas episodes from the later seasons, when the show wasn’t as strong, work. “Classy Christmas,” for example is a standout episode. Alas, eventually even The Office stopped making Christmas episodes that worked when the wheels started to spin post-Steve Carell. Like, I can’t stand here and pretend to stump for “Christmas Wishes.”
Still, The Office delivered us three great Christmas episodes, and a couple more good ones. That’s more than a lot of shows can say. Sure, I do tend to like Christmas episodes quite a bit, but The Office, even by those lofty standards, stands out.