On the occasion of it being that time of year.

10. “The Voice of Christmas,” “The Brady Bunch,” Dec. 19, 1969. Cheesier than a Hickory Farms cheddar ball. Selfless Cindy doesn’t want toys for Christmas; she wants Santa to restore the voice of her laryngitis-inflicted mother so she can sing in church. The entire episode has been compressed into a nine-minute version on YouTube.

9. “Guess Who’s Coming to Christmas,” “Happy Days,” Dec. 17, 1974. Mr. C. only wants family present on Christmas Eve, then Richie discovers the Fonz has no place to go for the holidays. I bet I don’t need to tell you how the story ends.

family-ties8. “A Keaton Christmas Carol,” “Family Ties,” Dec. 14, 1983. At some point, every sitcom does a version of “A Christmas Carol,” in which the show’s resident Scrooge learns the true meaning of the holiday. The “Family Ties” version is a cut above the rest, primarily because of the climactic scene, in which Alex, having found the spirit on Christmas morning, goes on a shopping spree at the only place open: 7-Eleven. He gives Jennifer a six-pack of cough syrup. Watch it here.

7. “Santa Goes Downtown,” “Night Court” Jan. 11, 1984. Hey, what’s Alex P. Keaton doing in Judge Stone’s courtroom, and why is he acting like such a punk? Wait, that’s not Alex; it’s Michael J. Fox guest starring as Eddie, a troubled teen arrested for shoplifting on the same night a man claiming to be Santa is arrested for trespassing. This episode is a rarity: a Christmas story set after Christmas. Watching it on YouTube reminded me how much “Night Court” suffered after the death of Selma Diamond, who steals both her scenes in this episode. YouTube offers “Santa Goes Downtown” in three parts; here’s one, two and three.

6. “A Merry Little Christmas,” “Knots Landing,” Dec. 20, 1990. This episode ends with star Michelle Lee’s rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” playing over a montage of scenes showing the characters observing the holiday. It isn’t all sap and pap: In a moment that captures the bitchy tone that distinguished “Knots’” final seasons, we see down-on-her-luck heiress Anne Matheson (Michelle Phillips) rip off a Salvation Army-style Santa. (Here’s a crummy YouTube version of the scene, apparently made when someone pointed their camcorder at a SoapNet rerun of the episode.)

5. “The Strike,” “Seinfeld,” Dec. 18, 1997. The Festivus episode. What more do I need to say?

4. “The Draft Dodger,” “All in the Family,” Dec. 25, 1976. Yes Virginia, there really was a time when the networks drew big audiences by scheduling original programming on Christmas night. Clearly, this was an era when our nation had its priorities straight – why waste time with your family on a holiday when you can watch TV? The highlight of this episode is a powerful scene in which Archie’s old war buddy gives an impassioned Christmas dinner speech defending Mike’s draft dodger friend, a fellow guest. CBS aired a terrific “All in the Family” retrospective in 1991 in which a disgruntled viewer expressed his belief that this episode gave “aid and comfort” to America’s enemy in Vietnam. Can you imagine any sitcom today stirring such emotion?

3. “Afternoon Delight,” “Arrested Development,” Dec. 19, 2004. At Christmastime, Michael visits his mother, Lucille (the incomparable Jessica Walter), who suspects someone tried to break into her home. “I have a surprise for whoever it is if he comes back,” Lucille says, holding a rape horn and a fire poker. “First I blow him, then I poke him.” Read the whole script here.

2. “Mary, Joseph and Larry,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Nov. 10, 2002. At the height of its popularity in our house, “Curb” made Andrew laugh until he cried, and “Mary, Joseph and Larry” was no exception. Here’s how the New York Times described my favorite scene in this episode: “Larry absently ate a cookie shaped like ‘Baby Jesus’ that his Christian in-laws had baked for their Christmas nativity scene. Larry defended himself by saying it looked to him like an animal cookie. ‘I thought it was a monkey,’ he stammered. His sister-in-law was unforgiving: ‘You swallowed our Lord and Savior.’”

the-west-wing21. “In Excelsis Deo,” “The West Wing,” Dec. 15, 1999. Toby (Richard Schiff) arranges a homeless veteran’s funeral at Christmastime. This is the episode that helped Schiff earn his supporting actor Emmy, but if you ask me, Kathryn Joosten steals the show. She’s terrific in the scene in which her character, Mrs. Landingham, movingly tells Charlie (Dule Hill) about the death of her twin sons in Vietnam. A nice example of what made “The West Wing’s” first season so special. The only “In Excelsis Deo” scene on YouTube is a charmer: President Bartlet entertains a group of youngsters at the White House.

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