It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas — but that could be because the annual yuletide stress holiday is just days away. Perhaps you’re not feeling the joys of the season just yet, however, in which case it’s time to break out the emergency holiday episode playlist below. After all, if the likes of The West Wing, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Cheers can’t help you snap out of a seasonal funk, what chance is there? This is your last chance to avoid coal in your stocking and three ghosts at your door on Saturday night. Don’t miss out.
THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW: CHRISTMAS AND THE HARD LUCK KID (1970)
The first holiday season when you’re setting out on your own can be a lonely one — especially when you’re stuck alone in the office on Christmas Eve. But, as this classic piece of sitcom shows, sometimes things can turn out to be far better than expected when you don’t anticipate it. Call it a holiday miracle. Available on Hulu
THE BOB NEWHART SHOW: HIS BUSIEST SEASON (1972)
If the holidays feel just a little too much, it could be worse: you could be part of the therapy group run by early ‘70s Bob Newhart in his first sitcom, which celebrate their season with the least jolly holiday party imaginable. Available on Hulu
CHEERS: CHRISTMAS CHEERS (1987)
One speedy way of helping joy get to the world is through a drink or two, but that’s not what’s behind the goodwill in this late period episode of the beloved sitcom. Nope, the holiday cheer (Get it?) is hard-but-genuinely won in this special episode, and no-one is more surprised that temporary grinch Dr. Frasier Craine.
SEINFELD: THE STRIKE (1997)
It’s the Festivus episode. Does anything more need to be said than that? How else would anyone spend their December 23rd if not celebrating that one day of the year for the rest of us? Philistines. (Weirdly enough, this is only one of the two episodes namechecking Christmas Eve Eve on the list. Quick, someone grab December 22nd!) Available on Hulu
THE WEST WING: IN EXCELSIS DEO (1999)
Aaron Sorkin and team shine in the first of the series’ holiday episodes, which somehow manage to be sentimental, mawkish and cynical all at the same time, as only The West Wing can handle. You’ll laugh, you might tear up, but you’ll certainly try to forget who the current President-Elect is.
THE OFFICE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL (2003)
The two-parter that closed out the original (British) Office was possibly the series’ finest moment, managing to deliver all the emotional moments that the audience wanted, without losing the sarcastic misanthropy so close to its heart. (Really, though, these were the episodes that proved once and for all that this was the show for thwarted romantics.)
THE OC: THE BEST CHRISMUKKAH EVER (2003)
For a certain generation — note: As Roger Daltry would put it, I’m talking about my generation — the holiday episodes of The OC, which happily mix Christian and Jewish holiday traditions together to reflect the cross-faith parenting of the Cohen family, are the ideal holiday shows: melodramatic, filled with schmaltz and some great alternative music from the early 2000s. For newcomers, watch this soap opera-filled introduction and get on board. Available on Hulu
30 ROCK: LUDACHRISTMAS (2007)
What happens when one man tries to teach the true meaning of Christmas to his co-workers? Spoilers: It’s 30 Rock, so things go wrong. Not to worry — Alec Baldwin is there to discover that other people’s parents were far kinder than his own, and isn’t that what the holidays are really about?
COMMUNITY: ABED’S UNCONTROLLABLE CHRISTMAS (2010)
It’s a marshmallow world in the yuletide fantasy of the pop-culture obsessed Abed, as he reimagines the regular cast in a stop-motion style inspired by the holiday specials of old. In our hearts, we’re all a little Yukon Cornelius, aren’t we…? Available on Hulu
NEW GIRL: THE 23RD (2011)
The second episode on the list obsessed with the day before the official Christmas celebrations start, New Girl realizes that the moments when you leave the people you normally spend all your time with for the holidays are some of the most important of them all — even if you have a difficult relationship with said people for whatever reason. (Looking at you, Schmidt.)