There are Christmas episodes you watch when you are in the full high season of the holidays, or when you want to bake cookies and need something on in the background. Or, of course, when you are wrapping presents, or when you simply need an escape. Then there are the Friends Christmas episodes, which really fit the bill for every one of these situations and more. They’re bite-sized little bits of joy that get you into the spirit of the holidays without a huge time commitment. This year, these holiday episodes have taken on a whole new meaning with Matthew Perry’s sudden death at the age of 54 years old. They can provide a bit of solace at the loss of Chandler Bing.
Friends ran for 10 seasons, from 1994 to 2004. In that time period, we saw a lot of change. Ross (David Schwimmer) and Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) were on-again, off-again, welcomed baby Emma, and were on-again. Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) met and married musician Mike (Paul Rudd), and of course, Chandler and Monica (Courteney Cox) went from being friends to being husband and wife. Joey (Matt LeBlanc) liked pizza and sandwiches from beginning to end.
Watching the Christmas episodes of Friends, it’s like a little snippet of each of these big moments.
There are 10 Christmas episodes of Friends.
For whatever reason, the last season of Friends did not have a Christmas episode. But it’s okay because the seventh season gave us not one but two episodes, so we still have 10 to enjoy.
Season 1, Episode 10: “The One With The Monkey”
Do you remember Marcel the monkey? This is where we first meet him because Ross is trying to deal with his loneliness. We also see the gang make a pact not to bring a date to the holiday dinner, which everyone breaks except Ross, who brings Marcel
Season 2, Episode 9: “The One With Phoebe’s Dad”
This one is a classic. Monica decides to give out cookies instead of cash as gifts to people in her building and no one loves it. Also Phoebe finds her dad and takes Chandler and Joey in her grandma’s taxi to go meet him. Nothing goes right, of course, but it’s so fun to watch.
Season 3, Episode 10: “The One Where Rachel Quits”
This episode, in my opinion, has the most heart. Rachel decides to quit Central Perk after getting some advice from Joey and Chandler. Phoebe is heartbroken when she finds out her Christmas tree gets put through the chopper. And Ross has to sell Girl Scout cookies after accidentally breaking the leg of a little Girl Scout. The ending has a great payoff.
Season 4, Episode 10: “The One With The Girl From Poughkeepsie”
Ross was trying to decide whether to date a girl from Poughkeepsie or a girl he liked less but was more local in this classic episode, while Rachel is getting set up on a bad date by Chandler. Best part of the episode? Phoebe’s original Christmas song, where she discovers nothing rhymes with Chandler.
Season 5, Episode 10: “The One With The Inappropriate Sister”
Rachel was dating a man in her building named Danny and figured out he was weirdly obsessed with his sister, but most importantly... this is the first Christmas episode where we see Chandler and Monica as a couple. Phoebe, ever the beating heart of Friends, collects money for charity.
Season 6, Episode 10: “The One With The Routine”
Arguably more of a New Year’s episode, this is where we first see Ross and Monica practice their childhood dance routine. Which, once you see it, you’ll never unsee it. Meanwhile, back at her apartment, Chandler searches for Monica’s hidden gifts with Phoebe and Rachel.
Season 7, Episode 9: “The One With All The Candy”
After her earlier cookie fiasco, Monica decides to give people candy in her apartment building as a way of getting to know people. Unfortunately for her, they love it so much they keep coming back for more.
Season 7, Episode 10: “The One With The Holiday Armadillo”
Ross is worried that his son Ben is too interested in Santa Claus and wants him to learn about Hanukkah. And so, he dresses as the now-infamous holiday armadillo to impress his son. Who, of course, is not impressed.
Season 8, Episode 11: “The One With The Creepy Holiday Card”
Ross is dating Mona in this episode, and she’s ready for them to put out a couple’s holiday card together. He, however, is not. Rachel is pregnant and dealing with her hormones, and Chandler is dealing with his horrible boss.
Season 9, Episode 10: “The One With Christmas In Tulsa”
Chandler is stuck working in Tulsa and finds himself the object of a co-worker’s affection, while Monica and the rest of the gang are feeling low without him. He makes the decision to quit and makes it home in time for the holidays.
How to watch Friends Christmas episodes.
You can stream all of the Friends Christmas episodes any time you want on Max, or if you want to go the traditional route, they are often playing as reruns on television throughout the holiday season.
Friends is such a mainstay at this point, we don’t know what we would do without it. Especially at Christmas.