The gifts are opened, you’ve overindulged in eggnog and Ferrero Rocher, and you still have hours left to spend being interrogated by dysfunctional family members. Whatever stage of turkey coma you’re currently in, here’s a list of our fav Christmas recaps, perfect for surreptitiously reading on your phone while tuning out the latest family drama. xoxo YKYLF
The Carrie Diaries: The Second Time Around
Remember this show? Would you believe me if I said it had two seasons? If I recall correctly, Baby Carrie Bradshaw divided her time between a 1980s suburban high school life AND being an underage journalist in The City. In this episode, she is on-again with super dreamy Sebastian Kydd and attends a work Christmas party with mucho shoulderpads.
Downton Abbey: Season 5 Christmas special
With the final season coming up soon (and/or you may have peeped the British broadcast already #NOSPOILERS) it’s good to remember what went down last year at this time. Namely: to-die-for 1920s flapper realness, Mary juggling her usual armload of handsome suitors, and lather-rinse-repeat Anna/Bates dramaaaa.
That time they filmed a black and white holiday special and Irish Kid was all over the place.
Glee: Glee, Actually
That time Artie hits his head and sees what life would be like without the Glee Club, It’s A Wonderful Life style. Mostly notable because this was the season when Supergirl Melissa Benoist was briefly on the show, as a brunette.
Gossip Girl: A Roman Holiday
Hmm, wonder why our namesake show only did one Christmas episode. It’s either because the show’s cynical edge doesn’t mesh with the feel-good nature of Very Special Episodes OR (more likely) Eric Daman blew all of his festive ideas in this glorious hour of candy cane-inspired fashion. Relive Serena’s sparkley dress, Blair’s instant classic skating ensemble, and OG Jenny Humphrey’s underoo-style pjs. Sigh. The way we were.
Gossip Girl: It’s A Wonderful Lie
This wasn’t technically a Christmas episode (see above note re: GG only ever really did one of those) but it took place in the winter and included an ice ball so it feels seasonally appropriate. Plus, the title makes you think it’ll be Christmassy. Read the recap and try to remember who all these briefly-lived guest stars were. Aaron? Lexie? Who?
Gossip Girl: The Townie
Again, this one takes place during “the holidays” but has zero to do with Xmas. Come for Lily’s amaze “holiday” dress and stay for the besquinned Serena-at-boarding-school flashbacks.
Gossip Girl: New York, I Love You XOXO
Despite airing on December 17, 2012, this was not a holiday episode at all. Still, a good reminder of how we all spent the Christmas season that year, being like, “Dan Humphrey is Gossip Girl? DAN HUMPHREY IS GOSSIP GIRL???”
Jane the Virgin: Chapter Thirty
AKA the episode that just aired last week. Real talk: even if you’ve never seen this show, it’s super easy to get the gist of what’s going on. This one is especially notable for its Florida take on the holiday season, featuring short-shorts and sundresses rather than fur and boots.
Mad Men: The Doorway
This sixth season premiere takes us back to when Don and Megan were actually happy together, Betty was totes pregz, Bob Benson was still a thing, and Peggy was about 3/4 of the way to having acceptable hair.
The Mindy Project: Josh and Mindy’s Christmas Party
True to its rom-com roots, TMP has always thrown down epic holiday episodes. This one, from the first season, features special guest star pre-Kimmy Schmidt post-Office Ellie Kemper as Mindy’s BF’s ex.
The Mindy Project: Christmas Party Sex Trap
TMP’s second annual festive extravaganza included three love interests in the form of Lawyer Cliff, Midwife Duncan, and eventual babydaddy Danny.
The Mindy Project: Christmas
The One With Wreath Witherspoon.
The Mindy Project: When Mindy Met Danny
It’s actually really interesting to just relive these Christmas episodes one after another. They really are a capsule of each season of the show, culminating in ALL OF THE FEELS from this year’s flashback/heartbreak episode.
New Girl: The 23rd
This first-season episode takes place back when Jess was dating Justin Long and memoraby gifts him a knitted model of the human heart. This relaysh was not long for the world.
New Girl: Santa
Much like The Mindy Project, New Girl takes their Christmas episodes seriously and not just because of how great Zooey Deschanel looks in sparkles. But: girlfriend looks amazing in holiday wear. This one is about the gang doing their best to party hop and hit up all the parties they have to attend.
New Girl: LAXmas
This fourth-season episode takes place when Jess was dating PLL’s Wren and during that time that both Coach and Winston were both series regulars. It also features a rare Jessica Day in pants sighting.
Pretty Little Liars: How the A Stole Christmas
PLL’s one-and-only Christmas episode includes multiple attempted murders, an intergenerational Santa themed sex party, a masked ball and Ali getting the Scrooge treatment from a hallucinated Mona. Business as usual in Rosewood, apart from the snow and actually declaring the specific date.
So, this show has a history of featuring sort-of versions of a lot of contemporary holidays, including Fake Christmas (“The Feast of St. Nicholas”) in season two’s “Acts of War”. But bearing in mind that was also the episode where Mary was viciously assaulted and we never actually recapped that mess, we prefer to highlight instead this recap of “Banished” AKA the one with the ice festival AKA Cathy visits Evil Sex Narnia and Mary and Francis’s throw a party themed for their currently frosty relationship.