No show quite captures the awkwardness of Christmas parties and co-worker politics more than The Office US’s own Dunder Mifflin.
Whether it’s hiding your disappointment at the Secret Santa gift you got, hiding your feelings from a colleague, or fighting over who throws the better party, Michael Scott and co never fail to disappoint.
Over the show’s nine years, the team had an impressive seven Christmas-focused episodes – each one as bonkers and game-changing as the last.
So when we need some feelgood specials to brighten up this Christmas, which ones should you skip to when you’re in need of cheering up?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Here’s our official rankings of The Office’s Christmas episodes – from worst to best.
Season Eight – Christmas Wishes
Season eight is not a high point of the series, with Christmas Wishes the 162nd episode of the show… and it was clear the Office US writing team were beginning to run out of steam.
What resulted was a bit of a mess of a Christmas episode, with the sweet Erin getting too drunk and confronting ex-boyfriend Andy, Andy simultaneously telling her to get over it before getting jealous, and boss Robert California dropping by, presumably because James Spader was available that day.
The episode is somewhat saved by Jim and Dwight pranking themselves in order to get the other into trouble, but that could’ve happened in literally any episode, not just a Christmas one.
It’s a no from us.
Season Three – A Benihana Christmas
The two-part episode is just a bit of a bummer, if we’re honest – with no one really getting into the spirit of things.
Michael is bummed out by his break-up with Carol, causing Andy, Dwight and Jim to take him out to try and cheer him up.
In the office, the women are fighting over how to throw the Christmas party, causing Karen and Pam to break away from Angela to create their own festivities, making the rest of the co-workers choose between the two.
Even Jim and Pam’s prank on Dwight falls a little short because Jim wants to act ‘grown up’ around new girlfriend Karen.
It’s just all our favourite people not acting like our favourite people, and despite the last minute ‘everything is OK again’ moment, it’s not very Christmassy.
Season Five – Moroccan Christmas
Another one that isn’t very wholesome Christmassy, with a chunk of the episode focused on Michael trying to get Meredith to go to rehab.
Granted, she had set her hair on fire after getting drunk at the Morocco-themed party that Phyllis had decided to throw… but still, you can’t literally drag someone into a rehab.
It also turns nasty when Phyllis gets vicious and, after blackmailing Angela all day over the party, outs her affair with Dwight to everyone in the office.
Everyone, that is, except Andy, Angela’s boyfriend who was busy practicing sitar in the annexe to hear the announcement.
However, there is more ‘Jingle All The Way’ style shenanigans going on to brighten things up a bit – mainly with Dwight stocking up on Princess Unicorn dolls in order to make a profit, and Toby and Darryl both fighting over the last one.
It is also the episode of Jim’s epic wrapping paper desk prank.
Season Seven – Classy Christmas
Classy Christmas marks the beginning of the end in a lot of ways – starting with the return of Holly Flax, Michael’s big love, into the office.
Excited by her comeback and keen to impress, Michael ups the ante for the Christmas party to impress her, only to be heartbroken when he discovers she’s still in a relationship.
Lashing out and destroying her property, Michael comes clean to Holly about how he feels, telling her he still loves her and how hurt he is that their relationship broke down because of long-distance.
While it starts off on a sad note, this episode ends on a hopeful one, with Michael embracing the holiday and dressing up like Santa, and the gang rallying around him when he needs perking up.
There’s also an insanely elaborate snowball fight involving Jim and Dwight, with Dwight finally getting the upper hand in their continual battle of wits.
Michael would leave his position at The Office, in order to start a new life with Holly, and this was Steve Carell’s last Christmas in the role.
Season Two – Christmas Party
Sometimes it takes a genius to know what kind of idiocy is going on in Michael Scott’s mind – and Christmas Party is the perfect example of it.
It’s the Office Secret Santa, and after the colleagues spend ages trying to nail the perfect gift for their chosen person, Michael throws a hissy fit and makes everyone play ‘Yanky Swap’ – stealing gifts from others.
This is made particularly competitive when you throw in the fact Michael had bought Ryan an iPod, and is mainly doing it because he’s mad Phyllis got an oven glove.
But the move is particularly stressful for poor Jim, who had decided to tell Pam about how he felt by putting a letter in a teapot… only for that teapot to end up with someone else.
Christmas Part ultimate ends up being the perfect blend of everything The Office is about – completely daft, a little slapstick, and a whole lot of heartwarming.
Season Nine – Dwight Christmas
There ain’t no party like a Dwight Schrute Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas party – and the final festive special proves it.
After everyone forgets to plan a party, the gang begrudgingly let Dwight take the reins, and obviously things go absolutely bonkers.
But seeing Dwight in his element really is a fun sight to behold, even when he gets upset about Jim disappearing on him for his new job.
Introducing the world to Belsnickel – a fur-clad gift giver who comes prepared with a switch to hit people with.
The blooming romance between Erin and Pete really starts to pick up here, and shows a lot of promise (it ultimately falls off a cliff, but at this moment, it had promise.)
Even Toby catches a break in this episode – a true holiday miracle.
Season Six – Secret Santa
Andy might be a divisive character and member of the office, but his efforts to give Erin all 12 Days of Christmas – literally – is actually pretty sweet.
In classic Andy style though, he really didn’t think things through, and seeing as a lot of the Days involve birds (Partridge in a pear tree, two turtle doves and six geese-a-laying among them) it ultimately just causes chaos.
Michael is also at his most fabulously petty in this episode too, and after losing his position as Santa to Phyllis, tries to one-up her instead.
Becoming Jesus, the awkward laughs you get as he heckles a gift-giving Santa is just next level silly, but we really enjoyed it.
This is all happening while the team fear their jobs are in jeopardy, as the company is sold to Sabre.
While the Sabre era is marked by some as the start of the series’ decline, this really is just a fun episode to embrace all the nice sides of the characters.
The Office US is available on Sky Comedy, NOW TV, and Netflix.
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