Most TV shows tackle the holiday season in one way or another. Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are great excuses to see your favorite characters trapped in zany and highly specific situations often involving hectic airport experiences, awkward gift exchanges and the occasional Santa suit. Our favorite holiday episodes all do one (or both) of two things: subvert the norms of their genres or of holiday content in general (see “Community’s” animated special), or go for broke when it comes to the comedic or emotional beats.
This time of year also provides an excuse to give kids’ shows the spotlight. The TV industry has a long way to go when it comes to the representation of different cultures. But they’re often the main sources of holiday content that isn’t solely focused on Christmas. Case in point: “Rugrats” is the show to appear on our list twice, in recognition of the earnest humor of its Hanukkah and Kwanzaa specials.
After you’ve finished lighting your menorah, kinara or Christmas tree, set your TV aglow with Variety‘s 35 favorite episodes for the holiday season.