As a young Jewish homosexual, Christmas wasn't for me -- I never had a Christmas tree, never sang carols, never had my dad dress up as Santa, so that's another thing to get mad at him about. But I still loved Christmas, I just had to glut myself on the aspects of it that were commercially consumable. Christmas movies are great and there are plenty of Christmas bops, but the most accessible Christmas content was on TV.
As the years went on and TV got more inclusive, Christmas wasn't the only holiday being celebrated on television;. As a young Jewish gay I may have lost myself in Christmas episodes, but as an adult queer woman I can also watch the characters I love celebrate a holiday season that includes everyone. As your likely starting to get into the holiday spirit, here's a handy guide to the best -- and gayest! -- TV holiday episodes.
RuPaul's Drag Race "The Queen Who Mopped Xmas" (Season Three) While Drag Race hasn't done a proper holiday special yet -- that'll change next month -- there have been holiday-themed challenges, and the season three premiere featured the most iconic one. Season three had an incredible group of queens: Raja, Delta Work, Carmen Carrera and the incomparable Stacy Layne Matthews. For their first-ever challenge, the queens were tasked with posing for a holiday greeting card and then thrifting a holiday look for the runway. Highlights include: the (first) return of Shangela, Carmen's incredible body and Vanessa Williams as the guest judge!
Will & Grace "All About Christmas Eve" (Season Five) Will & Grace has plenty of holiday episodes, but my personal favorite is from season five. Grace is struggling her relationship with her new husband and her best friend, repeatedly ditching them both for the other as they try to see The Nutcracker. Meanwhile, Karen and Jack are holed up in a suite at the Palace Hotel, flashing neighboring buildings from the windows. Highlights include: Karen demanding that Will pleasure her and Jack with 'extra points for working in a shoe shine mitt' and Karen telling Grace she looks like Santa Claus because she looks "like you just came down the chimney." (Ok, Karen is always the highlight.)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer "Amends" (Season Three) Buffy wasn't a show with a lot of holiday episodes -- in seven seasons there are only three Halloween episodes and one set during Thanksgiving -- but "Amends" is the best of them all. Newly returned from Hell, Angel is haunted by the ghosts of his former victims in a spin on A Christmas Carol, though they ultimately turn out to be manifestations of The First, who would go on to return as the final season's Big Bad. Highlights include: Faith joining the Summers women for Christmas dinner, Oz and Willow's reconciliation following her cheating on him with Xander -- if only they knew she'd turn out to be gay! -- and of course, the emotional final confrontation between Buffy and Angel, when Angel's attempted suicide is thwarted by a miraculous California snowstorm.
Gilmore Girls "Forgiveness and Stuff" (Season One) For anyone who wasn't sure: Gilmore Girls does not actually take place inside a snowglobe, although it does seem to exist in a perpetually perfect New England fall. The show's first holiday episode is also its best -- Lorelai and Emily are forced together during one of their endless fights when Richard is rushed to the hospital during Christmas dinner. Highlights include: Emily laying the groundwork of Lorelai and Luke's future romance, Lorelai crying after missing out on a genuine moment with her father and a guest appearance by Jane Lynch!
The Proud Family "Seven Days of Kwanzaa" (Season One) Damn, remember how good The Proud Family was? Suga Mama is absolutely a gay icon, and this episode is also iconic, and is pretty woke for a Disney Channel cartoon. The Prouds encounter a homeless family and invite them over for Christmas, only to have the family teach them about Kwanzaa. Highlights include: everything Suga Mama says, but especially when she shades Oscar, who says he doesn't do anything for seven days. "'Cept go without bathing."
Parks and Recreation "Christmas Scandal" (Season Two) Is it really the holidays without a sex scandal? In one of the standout episodes of one of the best season of Parks, Leslie Knope finds herself embroiled in a political sex scandal with a disgraced councilman. Asked to steer clear of work, the rest of the department quickly realize just how hard Leslie works, which leads to a heartwarming moment once she's finally back with the team. Highlights include: tabloid journalists claiming Leslie and Ann are in a relationship -- we wish -- and Andy's suggestions for what April should get her gay boyfriend for Christmas: a spray tan, "hip-hop abs dance fitness DVD" or a trip to Germany. "Does he already have buttless chaps?"
Rugrats "A Rugrats Chanukah" (Season Four) While vastly inferior to the masterpiece that is the Rugrats Passover episode, the toddler-retelling of the Maccabees story is still a holiday favorite. Grandma Minka starts to tell the story of Chanukah before going makes latkes with Didi, leaving it up to the rugrats to finish the job. Highlights include: Minka being total #bubbiegoals and the gift that was the "Meanie of Chanukah," aka what I used to call my mom when she didn't get me the doll I asked for.
Gossip Girl "Roman Holiday" (Season One) No single season of a television show is as perfect as Gossip Girl season one, don't @ me. In the show's holiday episode, Blair's father visits with his new boyfriend, who Blair of course attempts to sabotage with an ex-boyfriend and some good-old-fashioned slapstick comedy during at an ice rink. All of Blair's Gossip Girl looks are goals, but she really nails the holidays throughout this episode. There's a super boring B-plot about Dan losing his virginity to Serena but who cares when Blair finally makes up with her dad after finding out he decked out a room in his new French chateau just for her? Rich teens, they're just like us! Highlights include: every outfit Blair wears but especially her ice skating tweed two-piece, Roman telling Blair's mother they've been friends "since before Marc Jacobs went into rehab," the icy shade Blair throws at (ugh) Vanessa.