Erin Mayer
December 26, 2017 10:11 am
Hartbreak Films

From an artistic standpoint, TV might be “better” now than it was twenty years ago. Yet, these holiday episodes from ’90s shows serve as a solid reminder that the television of our youth is nothing to shake a stick at. What we lacked in art-house dramas and detective mysteries, we made up for with heart. 

Besides, you could argue that the ’90s kicked off the golden age of TV. I mean, it was the decade that brought us Twin Peaks!

But we’re here to talk about holiday episodes, so let’s get to it. From Lizzie McGuire to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, everything you watched growing up paid homage to Christmas at some point. If holiday episodes feel like a dying art, it’s because they kind of are. In the age of streaming, the actual calendar matters much less when it comes to television seasons. That’s what makes these gems so special.

Time to dive in and reminisce about the holiday episodes from the ’90s that you probably forgot about — but should really watch again this December.

1“How The Ghost Stole Christmas,” The X-Files

Let’s get weird right off the bat! Do yourself a favor and check out this episode, which finds Scully and Mulder spending Christmas Eve in a haunted house. Honestly, that probably sounds preferable to hanging out with the racist uncle you see twice a year.

2“Home For Christmas,” Saved By the Bell

This episode, wherein Zach Morris develops a crush on a homeless girl, is actually kinda strange and, as the Funny or Die video above points out, maybe not as heartwarming as it seems. But it is peak ’90s.

3“Amends,” Buffy the Vampire Slayer

“Amends” from Season 3 of BTVS isn’t dripping with Christmas cheer, but it ends with a deeply satisfying California snowstorm that more than makes up for the lack of Santa-related imagery.

4“A Rugrats Chanukah,” Rugrats

The most stand-out holiday episode from Rugrats’s nine-season run is undoubtedly “A Rugrats Chanukah.” It shows the characters acting out the story of Chanukah in a way that is both hilarious and informative.

5“Sabrina Claus,” Sabrina, the Teenage Witch

Giphy / ABC

You probably could have figured this out on your own, but yeah, Sabrina plays Santa in this one.

6“A Roswell Christmas Carol,” Roswell

Giphy / The WB

Your favorite angsty teen aliens are back, this time with a Christmas twist. It’s an obscure take on A Christmas Carol in which Max is stalked by the ghost of a man he didn’t save.

7 Pinky and the Brain Christmas

Giphy / The WB

Pinky and the Brain were the most delightfully evil animated duo on TV in the ’90s, as far as we’re concerned. Naturally, they get up to some serious mischief while trying to take over the world during the Christmas season.

8“A Very Topanga Christmas,” Boy Meets World

Giphy / ABC

Topanga joins the Matthews family for Christmas (and upends some of their long-held traditions) in a truly heartwarming episode of the classic sitcom.

9“The Srike,” Seinfeld

As People points out, this episode, the 166th in the show’s history, gave us Festivus, “the best fake holiday that real people really celebrate.”

10“Merry Mayhem,” Dawson’s Creek

In true overly-dramatic Dawson’s Creek fashion, this episode features an over-the-top Christmas dinner reunion.

11“The One with the Holiday Armadillo,” Friends

“The Holiday Armadillo” is one of the most memorable and hilarious episodes of Friends thanks to Ross and his Santa costume mishap.

12“Deck The Halls,” The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Will decides to shake things up by decorating for his first Christmas with Uncle Phil and Aunt Viv. It leads to a hilarious altercation with one of their neighbors.

13“In Excelsis Deo,” The West Wing

The first season of The West Wing contains one of its most memorable holiday episodes, in which Toby becomes fixated on arranging a funeral for a homeless veteran.

14“So-Called Angels,” My So-Called Life

My So-Called Life may have only aired for one season, but it made a lasting impact. The show’s singular Christmas episode is a real tearjerker, thanks in part to a guest appearance by singer Juliana Hatfield.

15“The One With the Girl from Poughkeepsie,” Friends

This episode is memorable if only for this amazing holiday song that Phoebe serenades her friends with.

16“Son of Stimpy,” Ren & Stimpy

The plot of this one is a doozy. It basically revolves around Stimpy deciding that a fart is his child and spending the duration of the episode trying to find it again in time for Christmas. Heartwarming.

17“Christmas,” Sister, Sister

Don’t sleep on this holiday episode of Tia and Tamera Mowry’s show Sister, Sister. The twins get jobs to subsidize their Christmas shopping efforts when they find out their grandfather owes money to loan sharks.

There you have it — 17 Christmas episodes from the ’90s that you need to watch before the 25th.

*Bonus* Since we know we’re not the only ones who are sad David Lynch never made a Twin Peaks holiday special, we leave you with this:

Happy Holidays!