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Every Christmas Episode Of The Office Ranked Worst To Best

If you're not a fan of Hallmark movies or your typical Christmas classics, it can be hard to generate some holiday spirit. But if you enjoy The Office, a good alternative to romantic comedies or animated classics is to binge Office Christmas episodes. Who doesn't love the eternal, twisted power dynamics of the Party Planning Committee, tightly controlled by despot Angela? Or the over-consumption of cheap alcohol and the resulting shenanigans? Or the decorations, the gift exchanges, the holiday-themed jokes, and pranks? 

In total, there are seven Office Christmas episodes. Sadly, there was no Christmas party in season 1, which had only six episodes, and the same goes for season 4, which was produced during the writer's strike of 2007-2008. Besides these exceptions, the Christmas party was an annual tradition at Dunder Mifflin's Scranton branch. However, that does pose a question ... which Office Christmas episodes made the top of Santa's nice list, and which ones deserves a lump of coal?

To top this list, it won't be enough to simply be a good episode of The Office. We do expect quality, memorable moments, top-notch quotes, and that classic uncomfortable cringe. But we also expect our top contenders to give us those tingly, warmhearted fuzzy feelings that only a little bit of Christmas spirit can provide. So, fill your World's Best Boss mug with hot cocoa and settle in because we're about to unveil the Christmas episodes of The Office ranked worst to best.

Christmas Wishes is an Office Christmas episode that's missing some key characters

The reason that season 8's "Christmas Wishes" ranks as the worst can be made clear in five words — no Michael Scott, no Pam. It's unnecessary to elaborate on how the loss of Michael impacted the series as a whole because every fan knows already, but his absence is felt in this episode, as well. With Pam also missing (probably due to actress Jenna Fischer's maternity leave), the show is left without two of its pillars.

As for the plot, "Christmas Wishes" features Andy as the floundering manager of the Scranton branch, who dresses like Santa and attempts to grant the wishes of his employees. Andy's girlfriend, Jessica, attends the party, leading to jealousy with Erin, who gets drunk and tells Andy her Christmas wish is that Jessica would die. A newly divorced Robert California gives drunk Erin a ride home, and Andy follows them, clearly worried about the implications of that ride. Fortunately, Robert plays the gentleman and really does just drop Erin off at her house, but the entire subplot is uncomfortable. And not in the "haha, this is awkward but funny" way that cringe humor fans love. Instead, it's just plain unsettling.

Meanwhile, Andy threatens Jim and Dwight that the next one to play a prank will forfeit their Christmas bonus, and the money will be given to the innocent party. The pair then attempt to frame each other, and while their antics are enjoyable, the episode still fails to impress.

Moroccan Christmas is a bit too grim for its own good

It's undeniable that season 5's "Moroccan Christmas" has an impressive cold open, featuring Jim's most memorable holiday prank — the apparently gift-wrapped desk and chair that collapse when Dwight tries to sit down. Dwight also shines in this episode for his subplot of reselling Princess Unicorn dolls at exorbitant prices to desperate parents, including Toby and Darryl. As Dwight says, "Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-ka-ching!"

Meredith's alcoholism is front and center in this episode, and putting the seriousness of a drug problem aside for a moment, it does lead to some good humor at first. During the party, Michael makes Meredith a "One of Everything," which is equal parts Scotch, absinthe, rum, gin, vermouth, triple sec, and two packs of Splenda for good measure. Meredith dances around the party and later accidentally sets her hair on fire. But things get a bit too serious when Michael stops the party to hold an intervention and then tries to drag her into rehab against her will.

Also featured in this episode is Phyllis as the head of the Party Planning Committee. Phyllis managed this by blackmailing Angela, who's been having an affair with Dwight while engaged to Andy. When Angela eventually refuses to do Phyllis's bidding any longer, Phyllis reveals the affair to the whole office. "Moroccan Christmas" is a good episode, but it's hard to feel holly and jolly when you're dealing with alcoholism and affairs, even if you are laughing all the way.

Secret Santa isn't the most original Office Christmas episode

Season 6's "Secret Santa" suffers from a lack of originality. Jim and Dwight, not Angela, lead the Party Planning Committee this episode, and they appoint Phyllis as Santa rather than Michael. Needless to say, this leads to some childish antics from the Scranton branch manager. However, we've basically seen this plot before when Jim and Dwight held the iconic "It Is Your Birthday" party for Kelly. Another unoriginal element is the threat of the branch losing their jobs after David Wallace tells Michael there's an impending buyout. But later in the episode, to no one's surprise, their jobs turn out to be safe. The threat of job loss rings hollow in the show's sixth season. After all, it's been a recurring plotline since The Office's pilot episode.

"Secret Santa" does have some redeeming moments. Phyllis' genuine excitement at being the office Santa Claus is endearing and perfectly acted. Michael has two hilarious mispronunciations back to back, saying that Jesus heals "leopards" and that Phyllis has "uslurped" his role as Santa. Plus, Andy is Erin's secret Santa, and he chooses to give her the presents from the 12 days of Christmas, which seems adorable until you realize that means he's been giving her dozens of live birds, and they've been wreaking havoc in Erin's life. On balance, though, "Secret Santa" is more of a snore than a score.

Dwight Christmas lets Belsnickel take center stage

By its final season, you would expect that the well of Christmas party jokes would've run dry, but season 9's "Dwight Christmas" pulls off a surprisingly interesting episode. Even more impressive is that the episode succeeds despite the absence of three mainstay characters. Michael Scott, Ryan, and Kelly are all absent.

The highlight of the episode is that we get to see Christmas through Dwight's eyes. When Phyllis "forgets" to plan a theme (only forgotten to enrage Angela), Jim convinces Dwight to help the office celebrate a Schrute-style Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas. As a result, Dwight dresses as the winter character Belsnickel, prancing around the office, speaking in an absurd, high-pitched accent, and deeming the people of the office as either "impish" or "admirable."

The episode also wins points for having a heartwarming resolution. Jim initially leaves the party early, disappointing both Pam and Dwight. But when Jim later returns, Dwight's excitement showcases how far the two have come, from deskmate pranksters to almost friends. The episode is emotionally weighed down, however, by tension between Jim and Pam, as Jim is beginning his career in Philadelphia. Since the couple are typically the most relatable characters in the show, it's hard to watch them suffer, and their struggle casts a shadow over an otherwise decent episode.

Christmas Party is heavy on laughs yet light on holiday spirit

The first Christmas episode of the show, season 2's "Christmas Party" created the tropes that became expected in every subsequent holiday episode — Party Planning Committee drama, someone getting over-the-top drunk, and Michael having a tantrum when something doesn't go his way.

This episode is most memorable for the Secret Santa scene, which begins with a nervous Jim preparing to give Pam the now-famous teapot, stuffed with inside jokes and a special note. After all, "Christmas is the time to tell people how you really feel." But the gift exchange is commandeered by Michael, who's chosen to give Ryan an iPod despite the $20 gift limit. When Phyllis gives Michael a homemade oven mitt, he changes the exchange to a Yankee swap. Much to Jim's horror, Dwight ends up with the teapot, and Pam chooses the iPod.

There are some golden moments in this episode. For example, Dwight shows Jim his plans for the teapot and shoves it neti pot-style up his nose, and Michael says the classic line, "Well, happy birthday, Jesus. Sorry your party's so lame." But while this is a great episode of The Office, it failed to climb higher in our rankings because, despite the holiday setting, there's not much Christmas cheer. Sure, when Pam trades the iPod for Jim's teapot, our hearts were warmed, but that's more about their friendship and future romance than peace on Earth and goodwill to men.

Classy Christmas is a genuinely touching Office episode

In season 7's "Classy Christmas," it seems as though the office is set for another standard holiday party— that is, until Michael gets the news that Holly will be making a temporary return to Scranton. Under the impression that Holly is single, Michael demands that Pam scrap the party plans and instead throw a classy Christmas party. Michael then swaps his usual Santa suit for a velvet jacket, and he even hires a bassist for live music. But when Holly arrives, we discover that she's still dating her boyfriend, AJ, leaving Michael devastated. Meanwhile, Darryl has brought his daughter to the party to try to strengthen their relationship, but the classy take on Christmas is boring to a little girl.

This two-part episode ultimately succeeds because it balances humor with holiday sentimentality, and it provides an emotionally fulfilling ending. The employees of the office rally together to cheer up Darryl's daughter, who then raids the office vending machine with her dad and hands out snacks. Plus, Michael gets a pep talk from Pam and returns to the party, even dressing as Santa again. With all the good cheer, you'll definitely be feeling a small bubble of hope welling up in your heart.

A Benihana Christmas is The Office's best Christmas episode

There's nothing like a dead goose slammed on a desk to really rev up the action in a solid cold open. Season 3's "A Benihana Christmas" is filled with moment after moment of goodness like this, and the episode exemplifies The Office at its best. 

Need a refresher of all the amazing moments? Well, Michael is reeling from his breakup with Carol the realtor after he photoshopped his face over her ex-husband's on his Christmas card. Pam and Karen team up to create a margarita-karaoke Christmas to rival Angela's party. We learn about the infamous tickets to Sandals, Jamaica. Pam and Jim trick Dwight into thinking he's being recruited by the CIA. Michael and Andy pick up new girlfriends at Benihana, but Michael can't tell them apart, which he realizes while singing them "Your Body Is a Wonderland." On top of all that, corporate sends the office bathrobes, but when Michael finds out they're one short, he has Dwight steal Toby's.

And not only is it hilarious throughout, but all the plotlines are brought to a satisfying close. The dueling Christmas parties merge. Jan agrees to go with Michael to Sandals. Pam even gives Toby back his bathrobe. "A Benihana Christmas" really feels like quintessential Office goodness, and it ends on a positive note that will carry you into the Christmas season with the cockles of your heart warmed.