From Holiday Armadillos to New Year's Eve dance routines, Friends has delivered some of the most memorable Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year's moments on television. Since the sitcom is so beloved, fans often make it a tradition to rewatch some of their favorite holiday-themed Friends episodes at the end of each year. There are a good amount to choose from, but let's be real and rank the best Friends holiday episodes, from the more forgettable hijinks to the iconic moments that will always bring holiday cheer.
Almost every single season of Friends includes one or two episodes celebrating winter holidays, and since those festive episodes get a lot of play for superfans at the end of each year, viewers end up developing pretty strong opinions about which ones are the best and which ones are safe to skip over. If you are one of the many Friends fans planning to celebrate the holidays by marathoning the sitcom's themed episodes, then you will probably want a reminder about what each of those episodes are about... and how they compare to one another. Use the below ranking as your guide to all the times Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Joey, and Phoebe celebrated the holidays together.
10. "The One With Ross's Step Forward" (Season 8, Episode 11)
Unfortunately, there really was not anything holly or jolly about Season 8's relatively forgettable holiday episode. The Christmas drama entirely centered on Ross trying to avoid defining his relationship with Mona after she asks to send out a joint holiday card with him. The resulting panic is characteristic of Ross, but not all that festive. Also not festive are the other storylines, which involve Chandler going to strip clubs with his crude boss and a hormonal Rachel lusting after Joey... Yeah, this isn't really Friends at its best.
9. "The One With The Inappropriate Sister" (Season 5, Episode 10)
There really is not a lot of festivity going on in Season 5's holiday episode. The bulk of the action is focused on Ross and Chandler fighting over Joey, and Rachel realizing the guy she is into had a creepily close relationship with his sister. The only hint of the holidays comes from Phoebe, who signed up to collect money for charity on the streets. However, her Christmas spirit was dulled when passersby misused her collection bucket. While Phoebe's outrage is funny, this episode as a whole is definitely not the best one to get you in the mood for the holidays.
8. "The One With Monica's Boots" (Season 8, Episode 10)
There is a reason Mondler is one of the most beloved Friends couples, and this holiday episode is a great showcase of it. After spending a ton of money on super expensive new boots, Monica refuses to admit they hurt her feet, and wears them to Chandler's office Christmas party. In the end, Chandler has to carry Monica home from the party due to her pain. Honestly, there really is not much holiday-related material in this episode, either so it isn't the best choice for anyone specifically looking for a festive watch, but it's still a solid episode.
7. "The One With The Girl From Poughkeepsie" (Season 4, Episode 10)
As Monica deals with being tormented by her employees at work, Rachel has a fling with one of Chandler's coworkers, and Ross has trouble finding a girlfriend with the right zip code for him. Though none of those storylines are particularly jolly, the episode does deliver one hugely memorable Friends holiday moment at the very end, when Phoebe sings her holiday song in Central Perk, which hilariously ends in gibberish since she was unable to think of a rhyme for "Chandler."
6. "The One With Christmas In Tulsa" (Season 9, Episode 10)
While Friends' final holiday episode certainly can't top this list since it's largely a clip show of memorable moments from past holiday episodes, it still stands out for its particularly touching story about Chandler being forced to work in Tulsa over Christmas rather than spend the time with his loved ones. In the end, Chandler chooses to quit his job rather than miss out on the festivities, resulting in one of his most romantic moments with Monica.
5. "The One With Phoebe's Dad" (Season 2, Episode 9)
Season 2 hit Friends fans with what is probably the show's most emotionally fraught holiday episode, as Phoebe sets out to find her father and Rachel delivers a list of pros and cons to Ross. The episode has a particularly festive ending, as the gang celebrates a "summer Christmas" party when Monica and Rachel's radiator breaks, and then they all exchange presents. Chandler and Joey's gifts are all from a gas station, making the gift-giving scene particularly hilarious.
4. "The One Where Rachel Quits" (Season 3, Episode 10)
The Christmas cheer is truly turned up to 11 in Season 3's holiday episode, which includes Ross hilariously competing with a troop of Brown Bird Scouts to sell the most cookies, and Monica and Joey making Phoebe feel better after seeing a Christmas tree thrown into a wood chipper.
3. "The One With The Routine" (Season 6, Episode 10)
As Friends continued into its later seasons, it became more and more clear Ross and Monica were the two funniest characters, especially when it came to physical comedy. I know this is a controversial statement and it's definitely subjective, but just think about how many of the show's wackiest moments come from the Gellers. For proof, look no further than their ridiculous, cringe-y, but hilarious dance routine they performed while filming Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve to try to get on TV.
2. "The One With The Monkey" (Season 1, Episode 10)
It is really hard to top Friends' very first holiday episode. The episode served as the introduction of Marcel the monkey, Ross' pet he got to try to help mitigate his loneliness. That's a theme for everyone this episode, which centers on the gang making a pact to not bring a date to their New Year's Eve party. Of course, some wild mishaps lead to everyone landing a date, which don't all end well. Memorably, Chandler tried to get back with Janice in this episode, and Phoebe and David have a big dramatic moment. Basically, it's got everything a Friends fan could want from a classic episode.
1. "The One With The Holiday Armadillo" (Season 7, Episode 10)
Every Friends fan knew this one was coming. The most iconic holiday moment in the whole series was easily Ross frantically dressing up in an armadillo costume in order to try to explain Hanukkah to his son Ben. The episode culminated in a memorable showdown between Chandler dressed as Santa and Ross in his Holiday Armadillo getup, while Joey for some reason chose to disguise himself as Superman. On top of the silliness, the episode was also a standout for its presentation of interfaith families who find a balance between both Christmas and Hanukkah each holiday season.