A Definitive Ranking of All the Christmas Episodes of 'Friends'


Dec. 22 2021, Updated 12:37 p.m. ET

'Friends' Christmas episodes
Source: Warner Bros.

As Christmas approaches, it's important to get your holiday watchlist all queued up. My personal binge-watching choice this season will be Friends for two reasons. For one, they have an impressive slew of holiday eps, and second, while some sitcoms go the painfully cheesy route around Christmastime, Friends really comes through with the laughs and feels that perfectly embody the spirit of holiday cheer.

Plus, rejoice! All of Friends is on HBO Max, so you can watch episode after episode without interruption.

Without further ado, here is the definitive ranking of all of the Christmas (and Christmas Eve eve) episodes from everyone's favorite friends.

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10. The One With Christmas in Tulsa (Season 9, Episode 10)

friends tulsa
Source: Warner Brothers

This Christmas episode isn't the most exciting plot-wise, but it does deliver a cute compilation of every other holiday season the friends have spent together. This trip down memory lane comes after Chandler finds out that he'll have to spend this Christmas away from the gang because of a work trip to Tulsa, and reminisces on how nice it has been to celebrate the holidays together with his friends year after year.

In the end, the episode does take a turn for the best when Chandler manages to surprise the crew by quitting his job and coming home on Christmas Day. There's a lot of work drama around the holidays for these guys!

9. The One With All the Candy (Season 7, Episode 9)

friends candy
Source: Warner Brothers

Monica decides to make Christmas candy for everyone in her building, and the candy turns out so delicious, there's soon a mob outside her door clamoring for more.

In an equally Christmasy (and arguably funnier) part of the episode, Ross buys Phoebe the pinkest, prettiest bicycle in the city and teaches her how to ride one for the very first time. Her blunders and Ross's patient lessons set the stage for many nervous laughs and heartwarming holiday cheer.

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8. The One With the Girl from Poughkeepsie (Season 4, Episode 10)

friends poughkeepsie
Source: Warner Brothers

As any New Yorker will tell you, dating someone from another borough feels like long distance in city terms. In this episode, Ross meets a girl he's interested in on the train but doesn't find out until late in their ride that she lives in Poughkeepsie, which turns out to be the only downside to this dating prospect.

Meanwhile, Phoebe is working on a holiday song — one that rhymes every character's name — which proves frustrating AF because she can't think of anything good that rhymes with "Monica." The song she delivers in the end is an instant Christmas classic, at least as far as I'm concerned.

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7. The One With the Inappropriate Sister (Season 5, Episode 10)

friends inappropriate sister
Source: Warner Brothers

The holidays are a great time to give back, and Phoebe jumps aboard the altruism train when she volunteers for the Salvation Army as a bell ringer. She quickly finds out that New York is a tough sell — even when it comes to charity — after she witnesses one person throwing a cigarette into her donation bucket and another trying to steal the Salvation Army's change.

At the same time, Rachel is dating someone from the building who has a close and handsy relationship with another woman, who turns out to be his sister.

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6. The One With Ross's Step Forward (aka The One with the Creepy Holiday Card) (Season 8, Episode 9)

friends creepy holiday card
Source: Warner Brothers

You can't really rush the step of sending holiday cards as a couple, as any Friends fan will recall from this episode. Mona suggests she and Ross send a Christmas card together, which freaks Ross out because he thinks the relationship is moving too quickly.

Meanwhile, Monica and Chandler have an annoying dinner with Chandler's boss, and a pregnant "randy" Rachel is ready to hook up with the first man she sees.

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5. The One Where Rachel Quits (Season 3, Episode 10)

friends rachel quits
Source: Warner Brothers

As I mentioned earlier, Christmas is often a time for job drama among the Friends crew. And everyone knows, as scary as the holidays are, they can be even scarier when you're looking for work. Rachel experiences this firsthand after quitting her job as a waitress and attempting to pursue her dream career in fashion.

Joey's also got a new gig in this episode working at the Christmas tree lot. Unfortunately, the cheery job results in a huge holiday blowout for Phoebe when she learns what happens to unwanted Christmas trees.

(Spoiler: They end up in the chipper.)

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4. The One With Phoebe's Dad (Season 2, Episode 9)

friends phoebes dad
Source: Warner Brothers

Poor Phoebe. In this episode, she really embodies all of the scaries and sads the holidays have to offer. After finding out her father is still alive (and not the man from the photo frames), Phoebe takes Chandler and Joey on a road trip to find her dad.

The encounter doesn't quite result in the warm family cheer viewers might expect from a holiday special, but laughs abound nonetheless when Joey and Chandler are forced to buy their friends' Christmas gifts at a gas station.

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3. The One With the Routine (Season 6, Episode 10)

friends routine
Source: Warner Brothers

Although it's often remembered as a New Year's Eve episode, let's not forget that "The One with the Routine" is, in fact, a Christmas special, with Rachel, Phoebe and Chandler teaming up to try and find Monica's impeccably hidden presents.

My favorite part of the hunt is when they find the old shoe with a note from Monica saying, "Chandler, I knew they'd break you."

Also, impressive dance moves, Monica and Ross.

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2. The One With the Holiday Armadillo (Season 7, Episode 10)

friends holiday armadillo
Source: Warner Brothers

This is probably the first Christmas episode to come to the minds of avid Friends fans, which makes sense, because it's pretty fantastic.

In an attempt to teach Ben more about Hanukkah and his Jewish roots, Ross dresses up as the "holiday armadillo," Santa's half-Jewish friend. Chandler then shows up in a Santa suit and almost steals the show, but the two manage to team up to get Ben hyped for the holidays.

Bonus character: Joey shows up as Superman.

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1. The One With the Monkey (Season 1, Episode 10)

friends monkey marcel
Source: Warner Brothers

Maybe because I love pet monkeys, maybe because I had a stuffed animal called Marcel back in the day, but this is hands-down my favorite Friends Christmas episode, and maybe even my favorite holiday special of any show.

A young Season-1 Ross introduces the gang to his roommate, Marcel the monkey, who is nothing short of adorable. The friends also decide to host a holiday party, and to make sure no one feels lonely, they make a pact that none of them will bring a date to the affair. Of course, all the characters try their hardest to renege on this promise throughout the episode, and in the end, find themselves alone anyway.

What a deep metaphor for life.

Merry Christmas and happy binge-watching!

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