A definitive ranking of every Chrismukkah episode of The O.C., because we’re celebrating Seth Cohen’s greatest contribution to the world

It’s been over 15  years since The O.C. premiered (yes, really). If you were a big fan of the show, then whenever the holidays roll around, you’re reminded of Seth Cohen’s most amazing contribution to the world: Chrismukkah.

Raised by a Jewish father and a Catholic mother, Seth coined a name for the Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations within his blended home, and watching Seth celebrate Chrismukkah each year became a kind of tradition in itself. In the spirit of the season, we’re ranking the Chrismukkah episodes of The O.C. —counting down from the ones that had us going Oy, humbug, to the ones that made us want to be adopted by the Cohens.

4“The Chrismukkah Bar Mitz-vahkkah” (Season 3)

Sorry Seth, but they can’t all be Chrismukkah miracles. This episode fell in the midst of the Johnny drama (his surfer dreams had been recently crushed, along with his knee, in a car accident). The gang decides to throw Ryan an honorary Bar Mitzvah to raise money for Johnny’s surgery, and the plot somehow spirals into Johnny nearly holding up a liquor store which, by the way, is a bad idea if your knee is busted. There was neither enough “Chris” or “Kah” involved in this episode, but there are still some pretty great moments. The core four have an adorable Christmas tree shopping scene, and I’ll never get tired watching Julie Cooper in her trailer park era—especially when she tells a neighbor she doesn’t want any of his deep-fried ham.

Best Brooding Ryan Moment:
A moody glance across the pier as he sees Johnny getting cozy with Marissa.

Best Seth Cohen Line:
“Jews don’t believe in saints, just really good standup comics.”


3“The Best Chrismukkah Ever” (Season 1)

The episode wherein the world was introduced to the best television holiday ever created (miss me with your bullshit, Festivus lovers) had the perfect mix of storylines involving the teens and adults. Who doesn’t like a classic showdown between Sandy and Caleb, especially when Kirsten helps her husband get the win over her dad? Summer and Anna compete for Seth’s affection Bachelor contestants, and Marissa ruins an otherwise cute mall montage when she’s caught shoplifting.

The best part of the episode, though, is watching Ryan’s arc with the Cohen family. He doesn’t initially warm up to the bi-religious holiday, pointing out that his holiday memories center around his mom getting drunk and him getting his ass kicked. So it’s a touching moment when, at the end of the episode, Ryan quietly hangs his stocking up on the mantle to join the Cohen family tradition.

Best Brooding Ryan Moment:
A searing side-eye thrown at Marissa as she empties her purse of stolen goods.

Best Seth Cohen Line:
“I’ve got Jesus and Moses on my side, man.”


2“Chrismukk-huh?” (Season 4)

The final season of The O.C. made some bold choices, and this episode was no exception. Channeling some major It’s a Wonderful Life vibes, Ryan and Taylor fall off of a ladder and enter an alternate universe where they see what Newport would be like if Ryan had never entered the picture. Sandy is a power-hungry mayor, Julie Cooper is an alleged philanthropist, Kirsten and Jimmy are together, Summer is a trophy fiancée (to a puka shell-wearing Chris Pratt, by the way), and Seth is still…Seth.

Taylor says that, in this universe, Marissa is alive; Ryan says, if that’s the case, that he doesn’t ever want to wake up. Which makes it all the more heartbreaking when it’s revealed that Marissa  actually still ends up dead, having OD’d in Tijuana. It’s been over a decade since that episode first aired, but I still tear up watching Ryan slowly fade from the screen when he finally says goodbye to Marissa, leaving a letter from her behind on the beach.

Best Brooding Ryan Moment:
A soul-crushing stare out into the ocean as Ashtar Command’s cover of “Into Dust” plays in the background (the same track used when Ryan carried Marissa in Tijuana). Damn you, O.C. music producers.

Best Seth Cohen Line:
[About what an alternate universe could entail]: “Could be a world ruled by giant vegetables and they’ve got to topple the vegetable despot before they can come back.”


1“The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn’t” (Season 2)

Easily the most dramatic Chrismukkuh, in this episode, it’s revealed that Caleb has a secret lovechild…who happens to be Ryan’s romantic interest, Lindsay. Some iconic moments ensue (Kirsten throws a vase), but the strength of this episode lies in how each character goes out of their way to save Chrismukkah. Ryan calms Kirsten, saying he knows more than anyone how good the Cohen family is at taking in new members. Seth finds Lindsay after she runs off and presents her with her own stocking. And when everyone reunites, Summer and Marissa have set up Christmas lights and a tree to surprise Lindsay and her mom. Seth starts to sing, and it’s a reminder that The O.C. became a cultural phenomenon because of the friendships and family dynamics on the show.

Best Brooding Ryan Moment:
Being unable to look Seth in the eye when he presents him the Yamaclaus Lindsay made.

Best Seth Cohen Line:
[Singing an original hymn]:Moses and Jesus, they both had beards.”


So, not to totally take part in the War on Christmas, but this holiday season, I am saying Happy Chrismukkuh in honor of Seth Cohen’s super-holiday.

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