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What are the 10 Most Popular TV Christmas Specials?

Something happens in the summer while I’m surfing Netflix. It might be the 40 degree temperatures dragging me down. It might be the information overload or over-stacked things-to-do list. Or it could just be a culmination of one very busy year – in this particular case, one very busy, fucked-up, never-know-what-to-expect-next year.

Whatever the reason, summer sees me suddenly not being bothered to pursue programs on the telly that I really want to see. Instead, I practically let Netflix do the whole algorithm-y thing for me, with kooky suggestions cropping up of shows I never thought I’d be interested in.

Such as cheesy Christmas specials.

It turns out a lot of people actually love Christmas specials. In fact, searches for ‘Christmas specials on TV’ rose by 400% this year, according to Google.

Since Christmas is a time for giving (and taking), the folks at online marketplace OnBuy.com sought to find the most popular Christmas episodes from the TV shows we watched the most. And after surveying 3,256 sitcom devotees, they discovered some rather interesting factoids.

The Big Bang Theory’s episode ‘The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis’ is the highest-rated Christmas special, scoring 9.2 stars out of 10. And that’s pretty odd since The Big Bang Theory started losing ratings drastically around about this time last year.

Scoring 8.2 stars on IMDb is Brooklyn-Nine-Nine’s holiday episode ‘The Strike’ which made it into the number 10 spot.

In between are Christmas specials from Friends (‘The One With The Holiday Armadillo’) to Community, Arrested Development to The Office, and die-hard favourites such as Seinfeld, Frasier and Two and A Half Men filling out the list.

The fact that this lot of shows prove popular probably means we like to see characters we can relate to at Christmas time – ones who are just as busy, often getting out of it, or just plain freaking out from all the stress.

Strangely, no animated Christmas specials feature in the list: no Simpsons, no South Park, not even an old-school Looney Tunes or Charlie Brown special. Again, probably because at this very busy time of the year, we like to watch folks we can relate to; ones who are acting silly during the (now literal) silly season.

Antonino Tati


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