The best 'Friends' holiday episodes, ranked
The only thing that can rival a Friends Thanksgiving episode is a Friends Christmas episode. While the latter isn’t as well known as a must-watch during the holiday season, it’s about time it became that way. Just like no one does Thanksgiving like Ross, Rachel, Monica, Chandler, Joey, and Phoebe, no one has the same crazy Christmas hijinks either. Trying to reunite with lost family members? Quitting a job, and this happens twice? Dancing on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve? Oh yeah, for all of these things we’ve been there, done that, too.
No we haven’t. So instead we’ll watch our Friends celebrate Christmas only the most hilarious way possible: with each other. Here they are, ranked for your enjoyment.
Also note: there’s sadly no Christmas episode for the first or last season, and I feel like we’re owed two Friends Christmas episodes.
8. “The One With The Inappropriate Sister,” Season 5
Rachel is dating a new guy who is waaaaaay to close with his sister (like: they still take baths together). Rachel breaks up with him. Nothing about this really screams “Christmas!” Except for Phoebe, who is dressed as Santa’s Elf trying to collect money for charity, and that doesn’t go well at all.
7. “The One With The Girl From Poughkeepsie,” Season 4
Ross is trying to date one girl uptown, and one girl in Poughkeepsie, and then accidentally ends up in Montreal. It’s a 22-minute story. Meanwhile, all Rachel wants is a Christmas fling, and Chandler unsuccessfully helps with this. And in an effort to seem tough, Monica hires Joey to be a server at her restaurant, only so she can fire him to scare all the other employees. Not the best Friends Christmas.
6. “The One With Phoebe’s Dad,” Season 2
Here’s a Friends episode that’ll make you laugh and tug on all your heartstrings. Phoebe gets a few steps closer to finding her dad (You know, the guy in all the picture frames) and when asking for questions, her grandmother admits that she knows nothing about him. Except that he lives updates, and she also has his address. Phoebe, along with Joey and Chandler, set off to find him. Phoebe’s too freaked out to knock on his front door, and leaves Joey and Chandler behind in the car for a really long time. Now they can’t finish their Christmas shopping. No worries, everyone gets really awesome rest stop gift shop presents!
5. “The One With A Christmas In Tulsa,” Season 9
Not that we don’t love a good Friends clip episode… but this was Friends‘ last Christmas episode and they didn’t even go all out. Instead, Chandler is stuck in Tulsa for work, and everyone back at the apartment thinks back on past Christmases (cue, the clips). In the end, he resigns from his job and flies back to NYC to surprise everyone — mostly Monica who spent the whole time very cranky Chandler wasn’t home.
4. “The One Where Rachel Quits,” Season 3
Keep in mind this was 1996, and things were different back then. Back then, it was a totally cool TV plot for Ross to accidentally break a small child’s leg (a tiny young Mae Whitman) and now she can’t sell any more of her
Girl Scout Brown Bird cookies. Ross, feeling guilty, offers to sell them for her, so she can win a trip to Space Camp! However, Ross falls short, and she doesn’t win the trip. But Joey and Chandler decorate their apartment to look like SPACE! and invite her over to hang out at their apartment and do fake-space activities.
Oh yeah, and Rachel also quits her job, because she hates serving coffee, but at her new “fashion” job, all she does is make coffee for her boss.
3. “The One With Ross’ Step Forward,” Season 8
Many of us have been in this situation before: when it comes to send out holiday cards, do you send them out jointly with your partner? According to Ross, no, but that doesn’t stop his current girlfriend, Mona, from trying to. Ross freaks out, and trying to divert her away from the cards give her the (only) key to his apartment, and now he’s locked out and has to change the locks… and if Ross had only been honest the whole thing could have been avoided.
Also Chandler makes Monica promise never to leave him so he doesn’t become a gross old man who goes to strip clubs, and it’s the cutest.
2. “The One With The Routine,” Season 6
Monica and Ross are invited to a taping of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. They want to be on camera, but the only way that will happen is if they can dance, and can they? SURE CAN. Because they’ve got a routine they’ve been working on since childhood, and none of us should be surprised by that.
1. “The One With The Holiday Armadillo,” Season 7
This one might be the greatest Friends episode of all time, Christmas or not. In an effort to try and teach his son Ben about Hanukkah, Ross tries to get a Santa suit. However, it’s Christmas time and they’re all sold out, so what costume is Ross left with instead? The Holiday Armadillo, your half Jewish friend. If you haven’t seen this one, the jokes are simply TOO GOOD to spoil, even if they all end up at the Easter Bunny’s funeral in the end.
Bonus: Paul Rudd in the snow
There is no Christmas episode in Season 10, but Phoebe does have a winter wedding and it’s great. Not just because Paul Rudd is there (mostly because Paul Rudd is there).
[Images via NBC]