Holiday Entertainment

15 Of The Best Christmas Episodes To Watch As A Family

From The Flintstones to The Proud Family, there’s plenty for both kids and parents to enjoy!

Christmas episodes in sitcoms and popular TV shows are almost as much of a tradition as leaving out cookies and milk for Santa Claus. And while finding episodes in those classic shows, like Friends or The Office, (and quoting them verbatim from memory) isn’t too tricky, what about the kids? Thankfully, there are plenty of kids and family TV shows with great Christmas episodes to stream and we’ve compiled 15 of the best.

In fact, some of the episodes featured on this list have been out for over 20 or 30 years. Classics. Younger kids may not understand the significance just yet, but the timeless messages featured within could be appreciated by all. And let’s face it, they just don’t make television shows like The Flintstones, Hey Arnold!, or The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air anymore, so little ones are in for a real treat. The Christmas and holiday episodes on this list also offer opportunities to discuss the true meaning of the holiday season with kids beyond gifts and Santa.

So heat up some sweet hot cocoa with extra tiny marshmallows, put on a pair of your coziest socks, and add these 15 Christmas episodes to your family’s annual watch list. Happy streaming!

Rugrats

Rugrats has been around for over 20 years, so both kids and adults could appreciate this hour-long holiday episode. Titled Babies in Toyland, the babies do a spinoff of their version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas. In this case, Angelica sort of portrays the Grinch, who discovers that Christmas is about more than just greed and presents. This is also the episode in which babies are stranded in the Stu-inspired displays at a Christmas party and Dil celebrates his first Christmas. Angelica ends up gifting her little cousin with a reindeer toy.

Watch The Rugrats’ Babies In Toyland and other episodes on Paramount+, the Nickelodeon website, Hulu, and Google Play.

The Brady Bunch

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It doesn’t get more family-oriented than Brady, Carol, Greg, Bobby, Marcia, Jan, and Cindy. In the Brady Bunch’s first-ever holiday episode titled The Voice of Christmas, Carol comes down with laryngitis and is afraid she won't be able to get her voice back in time to sing her solo at the family's holiday church service. Cindy tells Santa (the mall one) that all she wants for Christmas is for her mother to get her voice back and sing at church Sunday morning. Santa assures Cindy that her mother’s vocal cords will heal. And lo and below, Carol’s voice is healed just in time for Christmas morning. Cindy wrote a letter thanking Santa for fulfilling her wish. But we like to think it was Alice’s grandmother’s laryngitis brew and laying under a humidifier that did the job!

Watch The Brady Brunch’s The Voice of Christmas and other episodes on Hulu and Paramount+.

The Flintstones

Another classic to share with the kids that grown-ups can appreciate as well! To help pay for some Christmas family finances, Fred Flintstone is working part-time as a department store Santa Claus at Macysrock (get it?). Soon he becomes labeled as the best Santa Claus the store has ever had. As a matter of fact, he gets so good that word gets back the real Kris Kringle at the North Pole about him. Santa sends two elves-Twinky and Blinky- to recruit Fred and ask him to take over the Christmas Eve duties after the real Santa gets sick. Fred travels the world delivering gifts and Christmas greetings in French, Swedish, Italian, and Dutch. This is a classic 1964 Bedrock classic that includes prehistoric seasonal classics such as “Dino The Dinosaur.” There’s even a doll that looks like Pebbles!

Watch The Flintstones’ Christmas Flintstone and other episodes on HBO Max and Amazon Prime via Boomerang.

Hey Arnold!

This episode is a great one about reuniting the family. In Arnold's Christmas, we finally get the backstory of Arnold’s neighbor Mr. Hyunh. Twenty years prior, Hyunh gave his daughter, Mai, to American soldiers in hopes that she will have a happier and safer life. He had not seen his daughter since. Arnold makes it his mission to track down Hyunh’s daughter and reunite the two for Christmas. But in the end, it was Helga who ends up finding her.

Watch Hey Arnold!’s Arnold’s Christmas and other episodes on Paramount+ and Hulu.

The Proud Family

In this Proud Family episode, we explore another festive holiday that’s celebrated around Christmas and that’s Kwanzaa. The holiday, created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, commemorates Black culture and roots. In the episode, Seven Days Of Kwanzaa, the family is out Christmas shopping when they meet a homeless family. Penny invites them over for Christmas dinner. Soon they learn the family celebrates Kwanzaa and goes on to educate the Prouds about it. Kyla Pratt, who voices Penny, discussed how the topics the series covered impacted her personally. “Back in the day, literally, the Proud Family was something that, taught me about so many things that I hadn’t learned about in school, or even at home,” Pratt told RoyalTee Magazine. “And I’d be like, ‘wait, what is this?’ And then you start the conversation at home.”

Watch The Proud Family’s Seven Days Of Kwanzaa and other episodes on Disney+. The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder premieres in February 2022.

Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!

Christmas or not, of course, there is always a mystery to solve! In Season 1, Episode 14 titled A Scary Christmas, Scooby-Doo, Fred, Velma, Daphne, and Shaggy have to figure out who the monster is going down the chimney on Christmas Eve. And technically it's not a real monster, just another bad guy in a mask (in this case, machinery). Turns out it was a Pterodactyl, which was actually a robot, controlled by a volunteer who discovered a real Pterodactyl nest at an archeological dig. Whew! So what does this have to do with Christmas! Well, in the end, the gang manages to save the town’s Christmas celebrations and enjoy a feast, Scooby snacks and all. There’s also a Scoobish twist on A Christmas Carol in the 2017 episode titled Scroogey Doo.

Watch Be Cool, Scooby Doo!’s Scary Christmas and other episodes on HBO Max.

Full House

Oh, Mylanta! As DJ would say! What are the holidays with the family without a few surprises? This throwback episode of the Tanner family has a few of them which includes one kid moving to Florida for college and a trip to the homeless shelter to explore the holiday’s true meaning. Not to mention Mary-Kate Olsen as an adorable little girl is another worth-watching reason.

When you’re finished with A Very Tanner Christmas, fast-forward a few years later to A Fuller House and check out the Nutcrackers episode.

Watch Full House’s A Very Tanner Christmas and other episodes on HBO Max. A Fuller House is available for streaming on Netflix.

Little Baby Bum

Christmas shark do-do-do-do-do-do, Reindeer shark do-do-do-do-do-do, Snowman shark do-do-do-do-do-do!

This is a good sing-a-along for the toddlers and can get stuck in the head of adults if you’re not careful! In the 2018 short clip, Mia visits the aquarium with her family on Christmas and the sharks are dressed up in different festive, holiday costumes. There’s a Christmas Shark, Reindeer Shark, Snowman Shark, Present Shark, and Santa Shark. Little Baby Bum is a nursery rhyme series that covers everything from rainbows and ducks to “Hickory Dickory Dock” and “Wheels On The Bus.” The series has other Christmas-related episodes as well but this particular one is the catchiest and cutest!

Watch (or sing) to Little Baby Bum’s Christmas Shark and other episodes on YouTube, HBO Max and Hulu.

Glee

Another musical one! This time for the older kids and teens. In A Very Glee Christmas, everyone at McKinley High is working to get into the holiday spirit but that’s easier said than done. The Glee Club carol in the classroom in hopes of raising money for homeless children. But instead of support, they’re met with insults from students and a thrown shoe from a teacher. Yikes! Finn and Rachel try to kick Brittany’s belief in Santa Claus and someone paints themselves up as the Grinch. This episode pays homage to several classic movies and songs including “Welcome Christmas.”

Watch Glee’s A Very Glee Christmas and other episodes on Amazon Prime.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

A peek at the younger Will Smith in the days of cassettes and walkmen! In the season two episode, Christmas Show, Will, and the Banks family go to a ski resort for Christmas. But events take a downward slope when their presents are stolen by a robber that Will invited to their cabin. In the end, the robber is caught and the family gets their stuff back, as well as going around and sharing their verbal, heartful Christmas gifts to one another. This is another episode that teaches kids the values of Christmas, excluding gifts, and a reminder to not like strangers in the house, specifically ones who steal presidents. The holiday episode with legendary boxer, Evander Holyfield, is a nice one to check out as well.

Watch The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s Christmas Show and other episodes on HBO Max.

Black-ish

Black-ish actually has several Christmas episodes but the Season 6 one is pretty unique. In Father Christmas, Dre’s father visits for the holidays, which is a surprise since he rarely celebrates Christmas but it seems he wants to make up for lost time. In the midst of the family celebrating, there’s a blast from Lynette’s past (played by Loretta Devine). Season 7’s Compton Around the Christmas Tree is also a good one to catch. The eighth and final season of Black-ish premieres in January 2022, ending eight years of the family sitcom.

Watch Black-ish’s Father Christmas and other episodes on ABC and Hulu.

Home Improvement

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Before Tim Allen was Santa Claus or Buzz Lightyear, he was just Tim. The I'm Scheming of a White Christmas is worthy of a watch for the family and teaches good lessons on the generosity of others and the spirit of giving versus stealing. In the Season 2 episode, Tim’s kids, Brad and Randy are collecting money for charity. The boys’ intentions are well until they decide to keep a portion of the money for themselves to buy comics and video games. Tim and Jill, played by Patricia Richardson, make them return the money.

Watch Home Improvement’s I'm Scheming of a White Christmas and other episodes on Apple TV+.

Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper

“Christmas isn’t about turkeys, trees, and presents. It’s about friends and family getting together.” A quote from this family sitcom that pretty much seems up the entire episode and holiday season. In the episode Christmas Show, Mark Cooper, played by Mark Curry, takes a job as Santa at the mall. But as the synopsis reads, “his Christmas plans at home both fail miserably.” In the end, the Christmas spirit, like always, wins. This is a reoccurring theme in most of the Christmas episodes. A young Raven-Symone also starred in this 90s, classic about a former NBA player who comes home to coach at his old high school.

Watch Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper’s Christmas Show and other episodes on HBO Max.

Doctor Who

For our science fiction lovers! Doctor Who’s A Christmas Carol episode is arguably one of the best Who episodes and one the whole family can watch. In the season six episode, Amy and Rory are trapped on a spaceliner that has crashed. The Doctor must go back in time and recruit the only person who can save and thousands of others aboard. But that man turns out to be a miserable, mean old Scrooge. The Doctor must restore his Christmas spirit ( with the help of Christmas ghosts’ past, present and future) in hopes that he will be redeemed and save his friends in the future. This is a futuristic twist on the Charles Dickens tale.

Watch Doctor Who’s A Christmas Carol and other episodes on AMC+, BBC, and HBO Max.

Smurfs

A great one for Smurf lovers! In Smurf Village, Papa Smurf and the other Smurfs are preparing to celebrate Baby Smurf’s First Christmas There’s music, lots of food (including smurfberry taffy), mistletoe (Grouchy sneaks a kiss from Smurfette), and red and green diapers. Nearby the evil witch Chlorhydrus plans to ruin their Christmas by casting a spell on Mr. Nicholas to make him hate the holidays. The plan doesn’t work of course! Meanwhile, Gargamel fantasizes about his Smurf Christmas meal and we’re not talking about invites for dinner. His plans were spoiled as well! There’s lots of holiday Smurf music in this episode and Papa Smurf Christmas wisdom.

Watch Smurf’s Baby’s First Christmas and other episodes on HBO Max. The Smurfs’ live-action movies are on Netflix.