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10 Christmas-themed TV episodes to watch when you want something different

Everybody’s got their own holiday TV watching traditions, and we’re no different. Whether you like your Christmas TV sincere, saccharine or sarcastic, this list has it all. Get ready for our 10 favorite Christmas episodes, in no particular order:

"White Christmas,” Black Mirror

Do you like your Christmas episodes bleak, with a side of holiday commentary about the ethics of technology and the nature of groupthink ostracization? You’re in luck! Plus, this one’s got Jon Hamm. 

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"An Echolls Family Christmas,” Veronica Mars

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“Veronica Mars” had two Christmas-themed episodes in its three-season run. This is the better one. Teen detective Veronica investigates a theft at a poker game at Logan Echolls’ house, while her father Keith looks for more information on a stalker who is targeting Logan’s father Aaron. It doesn’t sound very Christmas-y, but the poker theft plot highlights the class struggles at the heart of the show, something that is appropriate during the Advent season. 

The ending packs a huge punch, too.

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"Christmas Waltz," Mad Men

Even though they sell “having it all,” the characters at Sterling Cooper still grapple with wanting things they can’t have. An episode about how nothing, not even good-ol’ American consumerism, can quelch the desires that live in our hearts.

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"Amends,” Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Nightmares. Murder. Magical snow. What more could you want out of a Christmas episode? 

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“Voice of Christmas,” The Brady Bunch

Simpler times. All little Cindy wants for her first Christmas in her new blended family is for her mom Carol to get her voice back in time to sing in the Christmas choir at church on Christmas day. 

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“The Christmas Story,” The Andy Griffith Show

This is the only Christmas special of the Andy Griffith Show’s entire run. Speaking of simpler times — the premise of this episode centers around Sheriff Andy throwing a jail-set Christmas dinner for a moonshiner and his family.

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“‘Twas the Fight Before Christmas,” Powerpuff Girls

There’s a fourth Powerpuff girl...and she’s trying to spread lies about the other three to Santa. Chaos ensues.

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“In Excelsis Deo,” The West Wing

Yes, this is a more depressing Christmas offering. And while this doesn’t give much for President Bartlett to do other than Christmas shop, we get some great character revelations form Toby and Mrs. Landingham. 

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“Ludachristmas,” 30 Rock

A classic of the genre. “Ludachristmas” isn’t just a party, it’s a way of life. Also, Elaine Stritch rules (RIP). 

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“Christmas Party,” The Office

Yankee Swap! A teapot! An iPod! Budding romance! An excessive amount of alcohol! In this first Christmas-themed episode of the show, the employees of Dunder Mifflin skewer the concept of the office Christmas party and still find pathos. A good one for Jim and Pam fans, too. (NBC, please don’t revive this show; it was perfect the first time around). 

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