The best Christmas episodes of ‘Friends,’ ranked
It’s no surprise that many TV fans like rewatching their favorite shows during the holidays, and after seeing a certain reunion special on HBO Max earlier this year, some of them might find themselves wanting to revisit Friends this Christmas season. This should also come as no surprise, as Friends boasts some of the greatest holiday episodes of all time, not to mention some of the most reliably funny and relatable characters in sitcom history.
Without further ado, here are the best Christmas episodes of Friends, ranked from great to even better.
8. “The One with the Inappropriate Sister” (Season 5, Episode 10)
“The One with the Inappropriate Sister” is the lowest Christmas episode on this list because it barely mentions Christmas at all. The episode features Rachel’s discovery that a guy she wants to date is weirdly close with his sister, which would make for an awkward Christmas with anyone’s prospective boyfriend. The subplot with Joey, Chandler, and Ross really makes this episode even though it isn’t entirely Christmas-themed. Joey gets frustrated that he isn’t getting any acting work, leading him to write his own script. Ross tries to keep him on task while Chandler wants to have fun by playing games and going to a hockey game.
7. “The One with the Creepy Holiday Card” (Season 8, Episode 11)
Ross and Mona send each other mixed signals after Mona suggests that they send out a holiday card together. Rachel starts to get pregnancy hormones and subsequently starts to get attracted to every male she sees. Chandler’s boss, Doug, invites Monica and Chandler over for dinner, but Monica doesn’t want to go in the wake of Doug urinating on the ice sculpture at their engagement party. To cover, Chandler says that he and Monica split up, which causes Doug to take him out for drinks at strip clubs. When Chandler comes home, he feels grateful for Monica after seeing what life without her would be like.
6. “The One with the Girl from Poughkeepsie” (Season 4, Episode 10)
This episode is one of the funnier and more empathetic ones on this list. Ross wants to date a girl but has to travel a very far distance to do so. The episode ends with him meeting a girl on the train after he falls asleep. Desperate to meet someone closer, he asks her if she lives close, to which she replies that it’s only a boat ride to Nova Scotia. Monica enlists Joey to help her seem more assertive at work and Rachel gets annoyed at Chandler’s attempts to set her up. Phoebe brings it home with a Christmas song at the end. Of course, Phoebe wrote the song, so half it doesn’t make any sense, but she put her heart into it, and isn’t that what Christmas is all about?
5. “The One with Christmas in Tulsa” (Season 9, Episode 10)
Poor Chandler is separated from Monica for Christmas, as he needs to work in Tulsa, and a work colleague of his makes the moves on him, forcing him to quit. This episode is a clip show, so it’s kind of cheating putting it so high up on this list, but Chandler coming home after quitting drives that Christmas theme home. Monica spends the entire episode rightfully bummed, as she thinks that Chandler is spending Christmas alone at work with an attractive woman. At the end of the episode when he’s standing in the apartment, he tells them that he quit and pretty much makes Monica’s Christmas.
4. “The One Where Rachel Quits” (Season 3, Episode 10)
Ross breaks a poor girl scout’s leg and sells her Christmas cookies for her while Monica and Joey “rescue” the older Christmas trees edges in this episode. The Christmas cookie plot is hilarious, with Ross trying everything and ultimately failing to sell the most Christmas cookies. Rachel quits being a waitress at Central Perk so she can finally go into fashion. At the end of the episode, she gets her new job and is asked to make a cup of coffee by her boss. Phoebe is upset that nobody uses the old Christmas trees at Joey’s new job and is afraid when they go into the chipper, so Joey and Monica bring the trees back to Monica’s apartment, saving Phoebe’s Christmas.
3. “The One with the Routine” (Season 6, Episode 10)
Monica and Ross get invited to a taping of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and of course make iconic fools of themselves by performing “The Routine.” That plus Rachel, Phoebe, and Chandler scouring Monica’s apartment to find the presents she got everyone makes this episode a classic. Joey’s new roommate invites him, Monica, and Ross to a taping of the show, which Joey hopes doesn’t get in the way of him making his move. It doesn’t, and he goes to kiss her, but the crew yells cut just before the ball drops. Joey tells Janine what he wanted to do and she admits that she was thinking the same thing. The episode ends with them kissing and starting a brief relationship. Meanwhile, Monica and Ross try to do the routine, but Monica moves out of the way at the last second, causing Ross to fall.
2. “The One with Phoebe’s Dad” (Season 2, Episode 9)
Monica and Rachel’s heat doesn’t work after they tip everyone with cookies instead of money, so they throw a summer Christmas party. The real Christmas spirit comes when Phoebe goes looking for her real father with Joey and Chandler, but gets too nervous and backs out. The gang then passes out Christmas gifts, but because they left it too late and were with Phoebe, Joey and Chandler pass out condoms, cola, and a new car smell. But the real gift Joey gave was managing to turn off Monica and Rachel’s heater.
1. “The One with the Holiday Armadillo” (Season 7, Episode 10)
The best episode on this list, “The One with the Holiday Armadillo” is a Friends classic. Ross wants to teach Ben about Hanukkah, so he dresses up in the only costume left at the store ⏤ an armadillo! Chandler makes an appearance as Santa Claus and Joey comes in as Superman, all in an attempt to aid Ross in his teaching quest. At the end of the episode, Ben knows that he can celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah as well after Ross teaches him all about Hanukkah traditions. This episode is easily the funniest on this list and truly encapsulates the holiday spirit.
There you have it, the best Christmas episodes of Friends! Which one will be there for you this holiday season? Let us know in the comments below!