Friends Christmas episodes became a traditional part of the show, just like the Thanksgiving episodes. In the 10 seasons the show was running there was a Christmas episode every season bar the last. It’s ok though, because season 7 had 2. That means we have a top 10 Friends Christmas episodes list. From ‘worst’ to best…
The One With Christmas In Tulsa (Season 9)
The final Friends Christmas episode opens with Chandler leaving for Tulsa, where he’ll have to spend Christmas working. This is one of those compilation episodes that crept into later seasons of the show. In the first part, Chandler reminisces about Christmas’ past and in the second he recalls various moments of his relationship with Monica. This is triggered by co-worker Wendy coming on strong, motivating Chandler to quit his job and return to New York to be with the gang for Christmas.
The One Where Ross Steps Forward (Season 8)
Ross and girlfriend Mona get some photos taken of them ice-skating and she suggests they use one to send a joint holiday card. Ross is freaked out by this, feeling not ready for this step.
A pregnant Rachel is feeling horny, having an awkward encounter with her doctor, Phoebe’s friend and, in a sign of things to come, Joey. Monica doesn’t want to have dinner with Chandler’s boss, Doug, so Chandler pretends they’ve split up to get out of it. Instead of dinner he ends up at a strip club with Doug, only enhancing his love for Monica. Awwww.
The One With All The Candy (Season 7)
The first of two Christmas episodes from season 7 sees Monica making candy and hanging it from a basket on her door in an effort to get to know her neighbours. They like the candy and she loves the praise. Rachel gives a fake appraisal of her assistant/boyfriend Tag which he unknowingly sends to human resources. In the episodes most heartwarming tale, Phoebe tells the story of never having had a bike. Ross is so moved that he buys her her first bike and attempts to teach her to ride it.
The One With The Girl From Poughkeepsie (Season 4)
Not an especially Christmas-y episode this one. Ross meets a girl on a train, but she lives far away and he soon tires of the travel. Rachel wants a fling for Christmas so Chandler sets her up with a colleague. Monica is having trouble at work so she hires Joey to use an example. She fires him to assert her authority. The highlight of the episode is Phoebe’s effort to write a Christmas song featuring the names of the group, not all of which fit into verse as well as “please tell Joey that Christmas will be snowyyyyyyyyyyy”
The One With The Inappropriate Sister (Season 5)
Rachel gets a date with the downstairs neighbour Danny, but is put off by his closeness with his sister. A bored Ross tries to motivate Joey to write his own movie for him to star in. Joey veers off schedule though when he and Chandler co-create the game of Fireball.
Phoebe supplies the Chrismas in this one, as she takes a job outside Macy’s appealing for charity donations. However, she finds people don’t always give what she wants and she is soon moved on by her superiors who don’t like the strict rules she puts in place for donations.
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The One With The Monkey (Season 1)
As the title suggests, the first Friends Christmas episode sees Ross get a pet monkey, Marcel, because he feels he’s to old for a roommate. Joey is gutted to miss out on playing Santa at a department store and has to settle for being an elf.
Phoebe performs one of her great songs, “I made a man with eyes of coal” and meets scientist David, quickly falls for him, and then gives him up so he can leave for Minsk for work.
It’s New Years rather than Christmas that’s the main seasonal part of the episode. The six make a pact to go without dates on New Year’s Eve. Guess what? Everyone arranges a date, except Ross, but the dates don’t work out and midnight doesn’t go to plan!
The One With The Routine (Season 6)
Joey’s dancer roommate Janine invites him, Ross and Monica to be on Dick Clarke’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. Turns out the Gellor’s loved that show growing up and are desperate to be on TV. So much so that they pull out ‘the routine’; a move from their teenage years.
Whilst they’re off dancing Rachel and Phoebe are desperately searching the apartments looking for the gifts they will receive from Monica. Chandler is initially against this, until they break him and he joins in.
The One With The Holiday Armadillo (Season 7)
Season 7’s second episode is perhaps one of the shows most famous. Phoebe wants Rachel to leave Joey’s and move back in with her, so supplies Joey with drums and a spider to put Rachel off of living there.
The main storyline here though is Ross’s attempt to teach Ben about Hanukkah. Ben is more interested in Santa though. However, Ross can’t rustle up a Santa outfit so settles for an armadillo. Chandler does turn up as Santa and Joey arrives as Christmas hero Superman. A scene which Phoebe brilliantly describes as the Easter Bunnys funeral.
The One With Phoebe’s Dad (Season 2)
To save money on tips, Monica and Rachel give out Christmas cookies to the newspaper delivery guy, building supervisor etc with mixed results. When the heating breaks their Christmas eve party becomes a tropical party.
Rachel is still mad at Ross after the ‘list’ incident and even a slinky doesn’t win her over, though she does feel better after making her own list.
Phoebe finds out her long-absent dad is not too far away and enlists Chandler and Joey to go visit him with her. She can’t bring herself to go in though, and the journey leaves the boys little time for Christmas shopping, forcing them to choose gifts from a garage. They dish these out to mixed results, with Ross, who seemingly takes gift-giving very seriously, unimpressed by his two cans of drink!
The One Where Rachel Quits (Season 3)
The best Friends Christmas episode comes in season 3. After 2 and a half years of waitressing badly, Rachel is disillusioned with her career. Chandler says she should quit to give her extra motivation to find a job in fashion. Ross accidentally breaks a little girls (Sarah) leg and takes over her brown bird duties, aiming to sell as many cookies as possible to earn her a trip to space camp.
This year Joey’s seasonal job is selling Christmas trees, causing issues for Phoebe. Even more so when she finds out about the chipper. A heartwarming ending to this Friends episode; the boys put on a space show for Sarah, Rachel gets an opportunity in fashion, some less desirable trees are saved and Joey discovers snow in a can.
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What’s your favourite Friends Christmas episode? Let us know in the comments or on socials and as always stay tuned to FinalBoss for more TV content.
Shaun is FinalBoss’ most prolific cinephile. If he hasn’t seen it, it ain’t worth watching. You’ll find him writing about everything from blowout blockbusters to small-screen splendours as he waits impatiently for Lord of the Rings to be released by Amazon. Catch up with Shaun and see what he’s been watching on www.letterboxd.com/shaun_1982.