For the last two years I took on a "30 Days of Christmas" experiment that had me listing my selections for all of the holiday movies and television episodes (classic, modern classic, and guilty pleasure) that this time of year just isn't complete without. But seeing as how I've been doing a "list" experiment in November (and seeing as how the next logical step would be to list Christmas music, but my knowledge of that part of pop culture is severely limited), I thought it might make more sense to just do a shortened version this year. So I am bringing you the Christmas episodes of 2011 television that are sure to be must sees*:
"Hairdos & Holidays" - Hart of Dixie - Airs on The CW on December 5th at 9pm. Wade (Wilson Bethel) and George (Scott Tucker) team up once again to go in search of the perfect tree for the town square. Meanwhile, there is yet another pageant in town, and Zoe (Rachel Bilson) takes her rivalry with Lemon (Jaime King) to a new level when she coaches someone against Magnolia (Claudia Lee), who is the favorite to win.
"Silent Night" - Haven - Airs on Syfy on December 6th at 10pm. When Christmas decorations pop up in July, the town becomes a place that the residents can't leave-- unless they disappear, at which they are doing so at an alarming rate. It is up to Audrey (Emily Rose) to find the troubled towns person who has trapped Haven-- before it becomes forever. Read my advance review here.
"First Christmas" - Up All Night - Airs on NBC on December 7th at 8pm. Reagan (Christina Applegate) will do anything to make Amy’s first Christmas perfect, even if it means getting help from an unlikely source, her mom (guest star Blythe Danner). In an effort to find Reagan the perfect gift, Chris (Will Arnett) faces a major obstacle…the mall. Meanwhile, Ava (Maya Rudolph) fears her relationship is in trouble when Kevin (guest star Jason Lee) decides to spend Christmas with his ex-wife. View a photo preview here.
"The Nutcracker" - Suburgatory - Airs on ABC on December 7th at 8:30pm. When Tessa (Jane Levy) overhears George (Jeremy Sisto) break up with his girlfriend on Skype, she blames herself for his failed relationship and decides that she's going to get them back together. Unbeknownst to her, though, George is really enamored with Tessa's cute art teacher. He admits that he's over dating crazy city women, and that he's looking for love in the burbs. George decides to embrace the holiday spirit with a tree trimming party complete with ex-girlfriend, potential new girlfriend, and the Royces, and he soon finds himself under the mistletoe with a special someone. View a photo preview here.
"Express Christmas" - Modern Family - Airs on ABC on December 7th at 9pm. The family is gathered at Jay (Ed O'Neill) and Gloria (Sofia Vergara)'s pool on a sunny December day, and that's where they realize that everyone will be scattered this coming Christmas, so if they want to celebrate together, then it will have to be today! Everyone sets off with their respective duties for this super fast celebration: Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), Alex (Ariel Winter), and Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons) get the tree, while Jay and Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) are in charge of gift wrapping, Phil (Ty Burrell) and Manny (Rico Rodriguez) get the groceries, Gloria and Luke (Nolan Gould) go retrieve the ornaments, and Claire (Julie Bowen) and Haley (Sarah Hyland) shop for all the gifts. View a photo preview here.
"Bitches Be Crazy" - Happy Endings - Airs on ABC on December 7th at 9:30pm. Max (Adam Pally) once again desperate for cash, even with his kick-ass retro limo still around. So he agrees to dress up as Santa for Penny (Casey Wilson)'s charity event. Meanwhile, Jane (Eliza Coupe) and Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) plan to go to Turks & Caicos for the holidays, but Jane accidentally gives the tickets to their housekeeper and then can't scheme fast enough to get it back. View a photo preview here.
"Regional Holiday Music" - Community - Airs on NBC on December 8th at 8pm. When the Greendale glee club has a nervous breakdown at the hands of Jeff Winger (Joel McHale), the choir director (guest star Taran Killam) recruits Abed (Danny Pudi) to recruit his friends to fill in. Christmas spirit soon fills them in this all-original holiday musical. View a photo preview here.
"Citizen Knope" - Parks and Recreation - Airs on NBC on December 8th at 8:30pm. Everyone in the Pawnee Parks Department tries to find Leslie (Amy Poehler) the perfect holiday present, while she decides to take action to get things done faster within her own department by forming yet another committee.
"Christmas Wishes" - The Office - Airs on NBC on December 8th at 9pm. It may not be a rousing game of White Elephant, but Andy (Ed Helms) has his own plans for his first holiday season as new regional manager-- namely deciding to grant every employee's Christmas wish. Things go awry at the office holiday party, though, when Robert California (James Spader) decides to drown his sorrows.
"12 Dates of Christmas" - Airs on ABC Family on December 11th at 8pm. Amy Smart is a woman relegated to relive Christmas eve over and over until she gets it right, not only with her blind date (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), but also her father and new step-mother, her ex-boyfriend, her neighbor, and a couple of special strangers she meets along the way. View a photo preview here.
"Christmas" - New Girl - Airs on FOX on December 13th at 9pm. Paul (Justin Long) gives Jess (Zooey Deschanel) an expensive gift that makes her uber-nervous and turning to Nick (Jake Johnson) for advice on what to get him in return. The spirit of the season certainly comes out when Jess remembers her childhood spent caroling around the neighborhood, though whether or not she opts to bring Paul into that part of her life may determine just how long he'll be sticking around. View a photo preview here.
"It's A Hopeful Life" - Raising Hope - Airs on FOX on December 13th at 9:3pm.n a nod to the classic It's A Wonderful Life, the Chance family goes to the movies and are surprised to find similarities to their own life, which transports Jimmy (Lucas Neff) into a cinematic dream state where he imagines what life would be if he never met Lucy (guest star Bijou Phillips) and never had Hope. View a photo preview here.
* Disclaimer: I have not actually seen many of these yet, but based on loglines, photo previews, and just general love for the shows year-round (in addition to their past holiday episodes, where applicable) all make these feel like informed suggestions, nonetheless.