13 Holiday Episodes to Watch for Every Mood

'Bones,' 'The X-Files,' and 'Friends'
Isabella Vosmikova /© 20th Century Fox Film Corp/Courtesy: Everett Collection; Larry Watson / © Fox Network / Courtesy: Everett Collection; © Warner Bros. / Courtesy: Everett Collection

Everyone has a must-watch movie or special during the festive season, but don’t overlook those classic holiday-themed episodes of television shows!

TV is where you can find something for everyone, whether you’re looking for comedy, drama, romance, adventure, or sci-fi. These episodes don’t always have a happy ending (such as Arrow and Prodigal Son). But you can also find picks that will leave you feeling good (like Ted Lasso, as always), have you falling in love with love (NCIS: Los Angeles, ER, and 9-1-1), or even spooking you a bit in a variety of ways (The X-Files, Supernatural, and Evil).

Scroll down as we share some holiday episodes you can watch for every mood.

Matthew Perry, Courteney Cox, and David Schimmer on 'Friends'
© Warner Bros. / Courtesy: Everett Collection

If You Want to Laugh: Friends

Ross (David Schwimmer) fails to track down a Santa Claus costume for his son Ben, and so he turns to what he considers the next best thing in Season 7’s “The One With the Holiday Armadillo.” His attempt to teach his son about Hanukkah doesn’t go so well, until Chandler (Matthew Perry), dressed as Santa, says he wants to hear about it, too. And who could forget Joey (Matt LeBlanc) dressed as Superman?

Emily Bett Rickards and Stephen Amell on 'Arrow,' Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz on 'Buffy'
The CW; The WB

If You're Feeling Angsty: Arrow & Buffy the Vampire Slayer

You may never hear “Little Drummer Boy” the same way after Arrow‘s “Dark Waters.” The Season 4 winter finale is full of highs and lows, with Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) crashing Oliver’s (Stephen Amell) holiday party and kidnapping Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards), Diggle (David Ramsey), and Thea (Willa Holland) — and putting them in a gas chamber. After they’re rescued, Oliver proposes to Felicity (she says yes), only for Darhk’s ghosts to ambush their limo. The episode ends with Darhk with his family and Oliver holding a bleeding Felicity in his arms.

The Christmas episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Amends,” may not end on a tragic note, but it’s a pretty dark hour, with Angel (David Boreanaz) haunted by his past and Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) finding the vampire standing, waiting for the sun to rise. She tries to convince him to go inside … but then it starts snowing (in California!). It ends with the two walking through the streets of Sunnydale, hand in hand.

Tom Payne on 'Prodigal Son'

If You Like Some Danger With Your Festivities: Prodigal Son

There’s very little holiday joy in Season 1’s “Silent Night,” but there’s enough (and look at the title) that we’re counting it. Besides, would you really expect the Whitlys to have a normal celebration? Jessica (Bellamy Young) and Ainsley (Halston Sage) fight, though do end the episode together. As for Malcolm (Tom Payne), he spends it searching for the Junkyard Killer (Michael Raymond-James) … only to identify him in time to be kidnapped.

Jared Padalecki on 'Supernatural,' Lily Tomlin on 'The X-Files'
Marcel Williams / © The CW / Courtesy Everett Collection; Larry Watson /© Fox Network/ Courtesy Everett Collection

If You Want to Be Spooked in a Fun Way:Supernatural & The X-Files

Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) also have presents for each other at the end of Supernatural‘s “A Very Supernatural Christmas,” but that’s after they go through quite the ordeal at the hands of a couple deities. From the horrifying opening to introduce the monster to Sam having one of his nails pulled out to Dean nearly losing a tooth, there are some things that are hard to watch. But we do get some heartwarming flashbacks to the brothers as kids, with Dean trying to make Christmas special and Sam giving his brother the amulet he’d go on to wear for some time.

The ghosts of A Christmas Carol (and all reimaginings) shouldn’t be the only ones visiting you this winter. In The X-Files Season 6, Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) check out a supposedly haunted house. “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas” features some great Mulder/Scully moments and Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin as the spirits who have quite a bit of fun messing with the agents. And who could forget the gift exchange at the end?

Aasif Mandvi on 'Evil'
Elizabeth Fisher/CBS

If You Want to Be Spooked & Hear a (Too) Catchy Tune: Evil

Of course it’s a Christmas episode of Evil“7 Swans a Singin'” — that gives us a song we’d do anything to never hear again (though we wouldn’t go so far as to stick anything in our ears). And what’s worse? This version of “Jingle Bells” to it. Kristen (Katja Herbers), David (Mike Colter), and Ben’s (Aasif Mandvi) investigation into that horrific song leads to an online video and influencer Malindaz (Taylor Louderman, who has returned twice since).

Hannah Waddingham and Jason Sudeikis on 'Ted Lasso'
Apple TV+

If You Want to Feel Good: Ted Lasso

Would you expect anything else from an episode of this Apple TV+ series? In Season 2’s “Carol of the Bells,” Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham) cheers up Ted (Jason Sudeikis), a lot of players celebrate the holiday at Higgins’ (Jeremy Swift), and Roy (Brett Goldstein) and Keeley’s (Juno Temple) plans are interrupted by Phoebe (Elodie Blomfeld). And it all ends with a great performance of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”

Catherine Tate and David Tennant on 'Doctor Who'
© Sci-Fi Channel/BBC / Courtesy: Everett Collection

If You Want to Get Lost in an Adventure: Doctor Who

With David Tennant back as the Fourteenth(!) Doctor and Catherine Tate returning as Donna Noble for the three special episodes as part of the 60th anniversary, it’s the perfect time to watch when the Tenth Doctor crossed paths with his future companion for the first time in “The Runaway Bride” — starting with her shocking him by just appearing on the TARDIS! For those looking for a bit of holiday cheer, there are robots dressed as Santas.

David Boranaz and Emily Deschanel on 'Bones,' Daniela Ruah and Eric Christian Olsen on 'NCIS: LA'
Isabella Vosmikova /© 20th Century Fox Film Corp/Courtesy: Everett Collection; Sonja Flemming/CBS

If You Want to Swoon: Bones & NCIS: LA

We have Caroline (Patricia Belcher) to thank for Bones “The Santa in the Slush” featuring Booth (Boreanaz) and Brennan’s (Emily Deschanel) first on-screen kiss (but not first kiss ever, as we’ll later learn). The episode also has Brennan spending Christmas with her family like she wanted (albeit in a prison trailer).

After avoiding talking about their “thing” for years, Kensi (Daniela Ruah) and Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) finally went all-in while ice-skating on NCIS: Los Angeles in Season 6’s “Humbug.” And that was after they’d planned to take a trip snowboarding together! (And to think, the rest of the team was only feet away and then they decided to keep quiet about it for a while.)

Julianna Margulies and George Clooney on 'ER,' Peter Krause and Angela Bassett on '9-1-1'
NBC; Jack Zeman / ©Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

If You Want to Celebrate Love: ER & 9-1-1

Sure, it’s ultimately a rocky journey to Doug (George Clooney) and Carol (Julianna Margulies) ending up together on ER, but Season 4’s “Do You See What I See?” features not only them announcing to their coworkers that they’re back together (which most know) but also him proposing! Plus, Benton’s (Eriq La Salle) touch seemingly briefly leads a blind man to see.

What better way to celebrate Christmas than with some holiday-related calls on 9-1-1 — and a surprise engagement? Season 2’s “Merry Ex-Mas” begins with Athena (Angela Bassett) asking Bobby (Peter Krause) to move in with her … and then sees him popping the question! “I don’t want to take the next step,” he explains. “I want to take every step.”