It’s that time of year again when we’re all digging through our favorite long-running television shows to track down each and every episode with a link back to the holidays. When it comes to CBS’s How I Met Your Mother, many fans would likely argue that the show’s Thanksgiving episodes are actually superior to any other holiday-themed entries, but its Christmas offerings are nothing to shake a stick at. Over the course of its nine seasons, the popular sitcom released five festive episodes that absolutely ooze Christmas spirit.
For anyone who would like a recap or just an assembled list to use as a springboard for your seasonal binge, here they are!
“How Lily Stole Christmas” (Season 2, Episode 11)
The first How I Met Your Mother Christmas episode falls midway through its second season. By this point, Lily and Marshall have broken up and gotten back together and things are generally looking up for the whole gang. After Lily accidentally stumbles upon an old voicemail from Ted, however, the two get into a tiff that nearly ruins the holiday.
Unlike some sitcom Christmas episodes, this holiday entry is entirely focused on Christmas. It sees Lily and Ted work to sort out their differences before Marshall returns from an all-day study marathon, and pokes fun at the exhausting familial choices we are all forced to make during the holiday season.
“Little Minnesota” (Season 4, Episode 11)
Two seasons after its first Christmas episode aired, How I Met Your Mother graced viewers with its second Christmas offering. The season 4 episode “Little Minnesota” is less Christmas-centric than “How Lily Stole Christmas,” but still packs plenty of holiday cheer into its runtime.
This episode sees Marshall introduce Robin to his favorite bar, a tiny slice of Minnesota nestled in the midst of bustling New York City. The down-home vibes of the bar connect perfectly with Robin, who is somewhat morosely headed toward another holiday far from her home in Canada.
“False Positive” (Season 6, Episode 12)
Once again skipping a season between festive episodes, the third Christmas episode of How I Met Your Mother doesn’t arrive until its sixth season. In an episode that splits its focus between Christmas and regular storytelling, the gang is now older and working toward paving their way forward in their various career and life pursuits.
When Lily and Marshall discover that they are expecting their first child, it sends a wave of panic through the friend group. Worried they aren’t doing enough with their lives, each member sets their sights on a specific goal, only to immediately abandon them when they discover that Lily and Marshall aren’t actually pregnant.
“Symphony of Illumination” (Season 7, Episode 12)
Season 7’s Christmas episode is one of the series’ most heartfelt. It tells a particularly emotional and interesting story and delivers one of the show’s most impressive light shows near the episode’s end.
“Symphony of Illumination” follows Robin as she learns of, and reacts to, news that she is medically unable to bear children. Mixed in with a few jokes to keep the mood light, Robin deals with some very real emotions throughout the episode. Ted’s ultimate act to try and improve her mood is one of his better moments in the entire series and will tug at the heartstrings of even the most cynical viewer.
“The Final Page Part 2” (Season 8, Episode 12)
The final holiday episode in How I Met Your Mother‘s nine-season run came about during its eighth season’s 12th episode. In the second half of a dual-part episode, Barney’s massive proposal effort finally comes to a head. The episode is one of the highest rated of the entire series on IMDb—with a rating of 9.4 out of 10—due to its surprising and elaborate climax.
“The Final Page Part 2” allows Christmas to be a steady theme in the background of a massively important plot episode. It sets up the remainder of the eighth season, as well as the ninth, all while giving the audience regular doses of Christmas spirit.
Where to watch
If you’re looking to binge these festive episodes of How I Met Your Mother, the show is currently available to stream on Hulu and Amazon Prime for those with subscriptions. Unfortunately, it is no longer available on Netflix.