By Barb Chabai
This feature appears courtesy of TV Shows on DVD.com
Mix a few beloved characters, stir in chaotic forces of nature and add a story arc that ends with the cynic discovering the true meaning of Christmas - and you have all the trappings of a very special, eggnog-flavoured holiday episode.
Like Aunt Meg sifting through a bowl of mixed nuts to pick out all the cashews, we went into the archives searching for some long-forgotten Christmas episodes from sitcoms. Even at the peak of the self-indulgent (or in the case of Aqua Net hair spray, overindulgent) Me Decade, we could always count on our favourite shows to remind us that the spirit of the season was found not in the malls, not under the tree, but on cable.
Golden Girls ("'Twas the Nightmare before Christmas") The girls plan to spend Christmas with their respective families, but a series of coincidences strand them in Miami, where they're forced to eat cheesecake and roast Rose over an open fire for spouting off an endless stream of St. Olaf yuletide legends.
Who's The Boss? ("The Christmas Card") A twist on the timeless "Gift of the Magi," Angela wants to buy Tony a rare Tony Micelli baseball card and Tony considers selling his only card to buy Angela an extravagant gift. No one buys either of them as a couple.
Family Ties ("A Keaton Christmas Carol") Skeptic Alex, who finds the season a "silly, sentimental farce," is visited by the spirits of Christmas future and past dressed as Mallory and Jennifer. On an eerily coincidental note, Tina Yothers continues to be haunted by the ghost of Career Has-beens.
The Wonder Years ("Christmas") Kevin anxiously tries to find a suitable gift for doe-eyed girlfriend Winnie Cooper after she unexpectedly gives him a present - even though he's disappointed about not getting what he hoped she'd be putting out this year.
Roseanne ("Santa Claus") Roseanne and Jackie work at a local mall as St. Nick and the missus. The original Bad Santa, Roseanne is disgusted by the greed shown by the selfish, snot-nosed children of Lanford, but mortified when she realizes she's actually married to giant elf Tom Arnold.
Newhart ("No Room at the Inn") Dick tries find accommodations for a traveller named Joseph and his very pregnant wife on Christmas Eve. However, the inn is overrun by a deluge of snowed-in guests being comforted by a crackling fire in the hearth and Joanna's fluffy, shoulder-padded sweaters.
Night Court ("Let it Snow") After a blizzard strands the gang inside the courthouse, they are forced to cancel their individual holiday plans and remain downtown. When the food in the cafeteria is devoured, they turn on very special guest star Yakov Smirnov.
Full House ("Our Very First Christmas Show") While stranded (hmm... detecting a theme?) at the airport on Christmas Eve, the Tanners learn that Christmas isn't a place, but a warm and special feeling. Oh, no wait... that's just Uncle Joey.
Perfect Strangers ("Gift of the Mypiot") Balki and Coozin Larry throw a Christmas party and invite Scrooge-like Mr. Gorpley, whose miserable demeanor threatens to put a damper on the festivities. That is, until wacky Balki lets his pet sheep loose in the apartment!
The Facts of Life ("The Christmas Show") Instead of going home for Christmas, Jo is stuck at Eastland in Peekskill with headmistress Mrs. Garrett, who is shocked to accidentally learn that Jo is not only sensitive and gentle-hearted, but actually straight.
Cosby Show ("Getting to Know You") While Cliff gets better acquainted with new son-in-law Martin, Denise tries to explain what Santa looks like to a highly suspicious Olivia. In the process, Rudy whines about no longer being the cute one, Theo pilfers food and Claire acts like a cold-hearted beeyatch.
Murphy Brown ("What Are You Doing New Year's Eve") Murphy tries to avoid attending Corky's New Year's Eve bash, until the newsroom gang challenges her to have fun without booze. Murphy proves that, even while sober, she can still bring life to a dull party by letting her pet sheep loose in the apartment!