Christmas is just around the corner and what better way to enjoy the holidays than to grab the family, prepare some hot cocoa and marathon all the “Friends” Christmas episodes?
Sure, when people think of the sitcom, the “Friends” thanksgiving episodes are the first to come to mind. With a parade of losing toes, ladyfingers sautéed in peas and onion and Joey’s head stuck in the door (because he’s Joey), Thanksgiving is a special staple in the roster of “Friends” episodes.
But the show’s Christmas episodes are up the ally of thanksgiving, too. Chandler, Joey, Ross, Rachel, Monica and Phoebe’s humorous holiday cheer around Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s are worth the marathon. But what is the best Christmas episode of “Friends”? Which episode tops Santa’s naughtiest list?
What are the Best “Friends” Christmas Episodes?
Christmas Disney movies are fun for the holidays, but binge-watching Friends is better! Here is our selection of the best and not-as-good (because there’s no such thing as the WORST Friends episode) “Friends” Christmas episode list.
The NAUGHTY List:
The One with the Inappropriate Sister (Season 5, Episode 10)
Ross is not unemployed, he’s on a sabbatical (We’re not getting religious here, Joey). To kill some time, Ross helps out Joey with his acting career by recommending him to write a play. It starts great at first, but when strict Ross clashes with happy-go-lucky Chandler (who recommends to Joey to take a 30-minute break), the roommates argue over Fireball and Joey’s productivity.
Phoebe spreads holiday cheer by collecting donations outside of Macy’s. Nothing is more entertaining than watching a cheery Phoebe transform into street Phoebe since people show no respect to the bucket (“Does it look like a urinal?”). No Mrs. Nice Bucket!
And the cherry on top of the Christmas cake: Rachel FINALLY dates Danny. Their romance is just beginning when Rachel meets Danny’s sister, Krista. Danny and Krista share a good relationship, which should be a plus for any girl. But it turns out that Danny and Krista share a too good of a relationship (see: sister wipes cream off brother’s pants. Cream in question near brother’s crotch).
Why It’s on the Naughty List
First of all, Ross is already annoying. His annoying attitude in this episode can ruin anyone’s holiday cheer. His intentions are good, but you end up rooting for Chandler and his pursuit of playing Fireball with Joey. The episode is saved by Joey having the boys act the script he wrote for them to be friends again.
Second, street Phoebe threatening a kind old lady is a sad Christmas sight. But how can we blame her? People used the donation bucket as a urinal!
Finally, nothing ruins Christmas more than Danny and his inappropriate sister. The holidays are all about family love, but when you take a bath with your sister, that’s a different story. Fortunately, Rachel got out of that debacle unscathed but traumatized.
Another thing to note: other than the Christmas decorations and Phoebe’s donation bucket, the holidays are not the central theme of this episode, which is why it’s at the bottom of the list. Still, the episode is special. We’ll never stop laughing at Joey discovering that Danny and Krista are siblings.
The One with All The Candy (Season 7, Episode 9)
Monica makes candy for the neighbors out of goodwill. She wants to know them better; therefore, she bakes plenty of candies. The neighbors love her Christmas candy — way too much (they call it “drops of heaven” already). Their love for her candy leads to unsolicited visits from Gary and the other neighbors until they become a zombie hoard demanding candy (even Joey turns on her).
Then there’s Rachel writing an inappropriate evaluation for her assistant/secret boyfriend Tag, which includes a commentary on Tag’s “tushy” (which could mean ass and hard worker, according to Chandler).
Ross shares Christmas love by gifting Phoebe her first bike, complete with all the tassels. The problem: Phoebe doesn’t know how to ride a bike. Ross saves the day again by teaching her (sort of).
Why It’s On the Naughty List
The Tag of it all, firstly. The sending of an explicit “employee recommendation” regarding Tag’s tushy makes the episode hilarious yet downright naughty. You can’t help but roll your eyes at Rachel or Tag for not being careful.
Ross teaching Phoebe how to bike would have been a better story arc, as well as the candy debacle. The Rachel-Tag storyline dampened the Christmas feel of the episode. Less tushy, more candy!
The One with Ross’s Step Forward (Season 8, Episode 11)
This episode should also be called “The One Where Ross Freaks Out Over a Holiday Card.” Mona had no idea her suggestion of sending a Christmas card together would send Ross into a panic frenzy. As a result, the panicky thrice-divorced paleontologist gives Mona the keys to his apartment — a bigger step to sending a Christmas card together.
On the other hand, Rachel is pregnant and very horny. Her fourth month of pregnancy sends her out on a manhunt, ending up with her hitting on the “cute boy doctor.”
Why It’s on the Naughty List
Ross complaining about Mona wanting to have a “talk” about where their relationship makes the episode less Christmas-sy. On top of that, his fear of taking the next step causes him to take a bigger step, which was the kiss of death for the couple who wasn’t ready for such commitment.
Rachel’s bit was fine. Just a bit awkward for the Christmas season, but it did stress the need for self-care, even though hers was incredibly odd. Fortunately, she could always count on Monica and Phoebe to bring her some random Roger to sleep with.
The episode’s redeeming factor? Chandler telling Monica, after a night of strip clubs with his boss, that he saw what his life would be like without her: It’s a Wonderful Life (with lap dances). Trust Chandler to make us swoon when he made Monica promise to not leave him and to grow old with him.
The NICE List
The One with the Monkey (Season 1, Episode 10)
Technically, this episode isn’t a Christmas one since it focuses on the New Year’s party, but it’s still a holiday episode.
The episode introduces the dilemma the group: Who are they going to kiss on New Year’s eve? So they make a pact: no one gets a date, just the six of them enjoying a good dinner. Of course, that doesn’t happen. Phoebe meets scientist David in Central Perk, Chandler asks Janice out (because he snapped), Rachel’s Paolo catches an earlier flight, Monica has Fun Bobby, and THE Joey Tribianni is taking a hot single mom. Ross has Marcel the Monkey, so he’s not totally alone.
New Year’s eve doesn’t go according to plan, however. Rachel comes back with a blown-lip due to an airport flight, Joey’s single mom date brings her kids (so no naughty time), Fun Bobby’s grandfather died and Chandler breaks up with Janice AGAIN. To cap it off, David is forced to choose between Phoebe and Minsk.
In the end, no one gets or feels to get a kiss — except Chandler. He gets kissed by Joey.
Why It’s on the Nice List
The Phoebe-David story is touching. David’s sincerity and how he wanted to stay with Phoebe instead of going to Minsk warms the heart, like hot cocoa on a cold Christmas night. It was too touching, we were rooting for them to end up together, only for Phoebe to send David to Minsk, so he won’t regret anything.
Seeing how each character blows up or loses their date was funny, too. Rachel telling the story of her fight with the old lady while sporting a blown lip is just hilarious. Then there’s Chandler blowing off Janice on New Year’s eve — classic Chandler Bing.
The One with the Girl from Poughkeepsie (Season 4, Episode 10)
Chandler tries to make Rachel’s Christmas by finding her a “fling” among his friends and colleagues. Joey, on the other hand, saves Monica from her unpleasant colleagues by pretending to be a waiter she can fire on the spot. Then there’s Ross who’s torn between the Girl from Poughkeepsie (two hours of tiring commute) and the Girl from Uptown (“She’s just as pretty, I guess she’s smart, she’s not fun.”).
Why It’s On the Nice List
Joey and Chandler helping Monica and Rachel out with their respective problems spell the sharing aspect of Christmas — that is, if you don’t focus on Chandler using Rachel to get freebies from interested suitors. Monica also showed everyone who’s the real boss by finally fake firing Joey. PLUS, Joey stuffed more than fifteen Oreos in his mouth! That’s a record!
And we can’t forget Phoebe’s very special holiday song: “Monica Monica, have a happy Hanukkah! Saw Santa Claus, he said hello to Ross. And please tell Joey, Christmas will be snowy. Rachel and Chandler have a * insert gibberish that ends with –er here*!”
The One with the Routine (Season 6, Episode 10)
Probably one of the most memorable “Friends” Christmas episode, the One with the Routine is packed with memorable scenes.
Ross and Monica join Janine and Joey at Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. The Gellers are eager to have the camera’s attention on them and dance on the platform. Then there’s Joey who wants to kiss his roommate Janine during the dancing and partying.
On the other side of the story, Phoebe and Rachel ransack the apartment to look for Monica’s Christmas presents. Chandler refuses at first, but eventually gives in when he realizes his gift may not reach Monica’s standard of gift-giving.
Why It’s on the Nice List
THE ROUTINE — enough said. Ross and Monica trying to get on the platform is comedy gold. But The Routine is a legend all “Friends” fans love. Even your mom and dad are going to be so phased! The eccentric dance moves, the kicking, and the punching in the air — PURE GOLD. (Trivia: Did you know that the Routine was choreographed by Pussycat Dolls Founder Robin Ann?)
Plus, Rachel, Phoebe and Chandler’s search for Monica’s presents adds to the humor. The look on Chandler’s face when Phoebe dissed his choice for A to Z bookends. “Thanks for my AZ!”
The One with Phoebe’s Dad (Season 2, Episode 9)
Christmas isn’t complete without the family drama. After learning that her grandmother lied to her about her real father (he’s not a famous tree surgeon in Burma whose face is on all framed photos sold in the city), Phoebe goes out on a mission to find her dad. She gets Chandler and Joey to come with her, driving to the place where her dad could be in a TAXI. When they do arrive in the place, Phoebe loses the will to go in.
The other story sees Ross trying to appease Rachel after The List incident. He attempts to win her back with gifts, but he ends up destroying the radiator — a few hours before Monica and Rachel’s party.
Why It’s on the Nice List
Phoebe’s desire to see her father is natural and oddly heartwarming. Here’s a girl who lived on the streets, very independent, and is eager to meet her father. But once she gets the chance, she realizes the gravity of rushing to meet the dad who left her behind. Phoebe’s reality check teaches us that we don’t always get what we dream of. It’s a painful yet valuable lesson.
Joey and Chandler save the day, though. Apart from comforting Phoebe, they entertain their friends with gifts they got from a gasoline station (“Ribbed for your pleasure!”).
The One with the Holiday Armadillo (Season 7, Episode 10)
This episode has the makings of the best Christmas episode of “Friends”: it has Ross wanting to teach his son about Hanukkah, the B-side story of Phoebe ruining Rachel’s roommate life with Joey, so they can live together again, and Chandler as Santa Claus!
Both Phoebe and Ross struggle with meeting their goals. Ross’s son Ben’s growing interest in Christmas nearly tramples his interest in Hanukkah, despite his attempts at entertaining his son as the Holiday Armadillo (a character so iconic, the original costume was estimated to sell for $15,000). On the other hand, Rachel enjoys Phoebe’s gift of a drum set and a tarantula.
In the end, however, they get what they want — sort of. Ross manages to share the story with a very interested Ben, with help from Santa Claus and Superman (Chandler and Joey respectively). Phoebe realizes that the apartment is perfect for just her, and Rachel enjoys living with Joey.
Why It’s on the Nice List
If you’re searching for best “Friends” Christmas episode, this is it. You can feel the holiday cheer throughout the entire episode. From Ross wanting his child to learn more about his heritage to Phoebe’s skull with licorice, this episode is full of Christmas and the holidays.
Plus, everything is funnier. Apart from Ross’s Holiday Armadillo stunt, there’s Chandler’s attempt at bribing the receptionist subtly, so they can have their first holiday dinner as a “betrothed couple” fills our bellies with jellies of laughter.
Finally, the Friends’ version of Hanukkah is the best. Yes, we believe that Superman flew all of the Jews out of Egypt.
‘Tis the season to laugh and laugh some more! Sure, marathoning Disney Princess movies are fun, but spending time with Ross, Rachel, Joey, Chandler, Monica, and Phoebe, that’s even better. Enjoy the upcoming holidays by stuffing yourselves with food and laughter from our top picks of Friends’ holiday episodes.