Every South Park Christmas Special, Ranked

Despite the show’s topical humor, the best South Park Christmas specials still hold up well today and are a great way to get into the festive spirit.

Highlights

  • South Park’s ability to stay relevant and include topical content is impressive, contributing to its longevity.
  • The show’s Christmas episodes are worth watching for a hilarious and festive experience.
  • In addition to Christmas, South Park has covered a wide range of other holidays, including Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Easter, with each episode offering laughs and satirical commentary in equal measure.

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The way that South Park continues to reinvent itself in order to remain relevant is incredibly impressive, as too is the show’s ability to include topical content that’s incredibly up-to-date. It’s faced its fair share of controversy over the years, but, love it or loathe it, it’s hard to argue that the show is not without merit. After all, it’s been on the air for more than a quarter of a century now, so it must be doing something right.

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Although the show has strayed away from its episodic format in recent years in favor of a serial approach to storytelling, that doesn’t mean that it can’t still feature holiday specials. There have been plenty of them over the years, although some have been a lot more memorable than others. Those looking for something hilarious to watch this Christmas would therefore do well to check out what South Park has to offer.

Updated December 16, 2023, by Tom Bowen: It’s been a good few years since South Park last delivered a true Christmas special, with the past few seasons having instead been dominated by episodes inspired by current affairs. Thankfully, there are still plenty of classic South Park Christmas episodes for fans of the show to enjoy, as well as a wide array of specials centered around some of the other big annual holidays like Thanksgiving, Easter, and even Saint Patrick’s Day. Besides, the best South Park Christmas episodes are still every bit as funny as they were back in the day and are well worth watching for those looking to get into the festive spirit and kick off the holiday season with a laugh or two.

11 The Spirit of Christmas (Short)

IMDb Rating: 6.4/10

south-park-christmas-episodes-the-spirit-of-christmas-short

Given how many great South Park Christmas episodes there are, it’s perhaps quite fitting that the show’s roots can be traced back to an animated short centered around the holiday season. It wasn’t called South Park back then, though it did feature Cartman, Kenny, Stan, and Kyle and laid a lot of the groundwork for what the series would eventually become in terms of its signature humor.

The Spirit of Christmas sees the boys create their very own Frosty the Snowman, which kills Kenny almost immediately after coming to life. The boys decide to seek help from Santa, who turns out to be Frosty in disguise and quickly proceeds to kill Cartman. Thankfully, Jesus is able to bring an end to Frosty’s killing spree by decapitating him with his halo and the two surviving boys reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.

10 #HappyHolograms (S18E10)

IMDb Rating: 6.8/10

A still from the South Park Christmas special

Continuing on from the previous episode, Kyle wants to put on a family-oriented holiday special to bring people together in their living rooms. Unfortunately, his idea is hijacked by Cartman who ends up providing commentary for the event. With celebrity holograms running rampant and Cartman becoming increasingly popular and powerful, PewDiePie makes an appearance and helps return everything to normal.

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At times it can feel like #HappyHolograms focuses a little too hard on satire than it does on its Christmas theme, but that doesn’t make it a bad episode. Quite the contrary, in fact. At the time that it first aired, it was an incredibly topical episode with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments.

9 Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics (S03E15)

IMDb Rating: 7.3/10

A still from the South Park Christmas special

Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics is incredibly reminiscent of the South Park movie thanks in large to its many musical numbers. Many of the show’s most popular characters are on hand to provide their own renditions of some of the finest Christmas carols and, of course, they all have that classic South Park twist.

The episode also features a number of celebrities and historical figures including Hitler, JFK, and Princess Diana. There’s not much of a plot to speak of nor is there really any real cohesion between the skits aside from Mr. Hankey’s sections. There are however some wonderful songs included which make for a magnificent musical medley.

8 Bike Parade (S22E10)

IMDb Rating: 7.6/10

A still from the South Park Christmas special

There’s a lot going on in Bike Parade, but its primary focus seems to be on lampooning Amazon and Jeff Bezos, who is once again portrayed as an alien-like creature throughout the episode. It centers around a strike at South Park’s Amazon fulfillment center and the boys’ quest to obtain the bike parts that they need to win an upcoming bike parade.

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The episode touches on a lot of issues, including working conditions at Amazon facilities, privacy concerns surrounding electronic assistants, and the impact of large businesses on family-run stores. Ultimately, with a little help from Randy’s weed, the town decides that now that they have Tegridy, they no longer need Amazon for their fulfillment. It’s topical, it’s funny, and it makes for a great episode.

7 A Very Crappy Christmas (S04E17)

IMDb Rating: 7.5/10

A still from the South Park Christmas special

It’s often said that you can’t polish a turd. You can, however, roll it in glitter — and that’s exactly what the show does here with the addition of Mr. Hankey’s fecal family. At a time when the Mr. Hankey character was just starting to feel a bit stale and dried out, they added a new dimension to the character and plenty of comedy potential. The highlight is undoubtedly Hankey’s ‘Circle of Poo’ song, which helps his young son Cornwallis to realize his place in the world.

With Christmas spirit at an all-time low, the boys team up with the Hankey family to try and raise some festive cheer. They eventually settle on the idea of making a Christmas animation that uses excerpts from The Spirit of Christmas — an early animation created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone that served as the precursor to South Park. The boys’ animation ultimately helps the townspeople to realize that the true meaning of Christmas is commercialism and they rush out to buy presents, thus saving Christmas.

6 It’s Christmas In Canada (S07E15)

IMDb Rating: 7.6/10

A still from the South Park Christmas special

Kyle’s adopted brother Ike being Canadian had been used as a plot point in several episodes before this episode, but this was one of the first times that it really took center stage. Events are set into motion when the new Prime Minister of Canada declares that all adopted Canadians living in America must return to their home country and Ike is taken away.

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Kyle decides to go to Canada to get his brother back and Stan agrees to join him as he’s in the mood for a Christmas adventure. Cartman reluctantly tags along too, although as usual, he has his own ulterior motives. After defeating an old foe, the boys eventually get Ike back but are stuck in Canada for Christmas, leaving both Stan and Cartman disappointed.

5 Christmas Snow (S23E10)

IMDb Rating: 7.6/10

A still from the South Park Christmas special

When the town is unable to refrain from drunk driving, Santa decides to ban the sale of alcohol leaving the people of South Park depressed and angry. As is often the case in season 23 though, Randy is on hand to come up with a solution. He develops a new strand of his patented Tegridy weed called ‘Christmas Snow’ which helps cheer everybody up although it later turns out to just be cocaine.

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It can at times be quite a dark episode, especially the scene where the townspeople partake in their ‘tradition’ of drunk driving. Watching Santa try cocaine is one of the episode’s other highlights, but it’s once again a case of it being the Randy Marsh show. How exactly one feels about the character will decide whether that’s a good or a bad thing.

4 Red Sleigh Down (S06E17)

IMDb Rating: 8.0/10

A still from the South Park Christmas special

Given what we know about Cartman, it seems safe to assume that his name is deeply etched into Santa’s naughty list. Keen to ensure that he still receives Christmas presents though, he aims to turn the page by doing a good deed. Not just any good deed though. Cartman wants to bring Christmas to the people of Iraq.

After Santa’s sleigh gets shot down, the boys enlist the help of Jesus who is packing an arsenal of assault rifles and other weapons. It’s a wacky and hilarious episode that tiptoes along the line between incredibly offensive and a little abrasive from start to finish.

3 Merry Christmas Charlie Manson! (S02E16)

IMDb Rating: 8.1/10

A still from the South Park Christmas special

When the boys head over to Nebraska to spend Christmas with Cartman’s grandmother they end up getting a very special guest. Those expecting it to be jolly old Saint Nick clearly aren’t familiar with the show at all. As the episode’s title suggests, a recently escaped Charlie Manson turns up at the house together with Cartman’s uncle Howard and proceeds to take everybody hostage.

After bonding with Stan, however, Manson ends up imparting some words of wisdom before handing himself over to the police and the episode ends with the boys and Cartman’s family visiting Manson in jail to sing carols. The episode’s absurdity is emblematic of the show’s style during its early seasons and serves as a nice reminder of why it’s so beloved.

2 Mr. Hankey, The Christmas Poo (S01E09)

IMDb Rating: 8.1/10

A still from the South Park Christmas special

This was the episode that first introduced the world to Mr. Hankey, perhaps one of the nuttiest characters in the show’s history. He’d go on to feature in numerous episodes throughout the early days of the show and even had a top-ten single in the UK. It’s his very first appearance in the show though where he really leaves his mark and quite literally redefines ‘toilet humor’.

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Mr. Hankey serves as a plot device to explore Kyle’s experiences being a Jew at Christmas time. The talking turd has many people believing that Kyle is crazy and also gets Kyle into a lot of trouble when he launches himself at Cartman’s face. This — and several other moments directly in the wake of Mr. Hankey reverting to a regular piece of poo — provide some of the episode’s funniest and most memorable moments.

1 Woodland Critter Christmas (S08E14)

IMDb Rating: 9.1/10

A still from the South Park Christmas special

Woodland Critter Christmas begins like any other animated Christmas special with a lighthearted storybook-style narrative and some of the cutest characters ever created. What follows, however, is anything but routine and quickly devolves into the stuff of nightmares.

These cute little creatures trick Stan into helping them bring about the apocalypse and Kyle finds himself in serious trouble. Thankfully, just as it starts to look like all hope is lost, Santa shows up and blows the critters away with his shotgun before their satanic ritual can be completed. It’s easily the best South Park Christmas special and a must watch for fans of both the show and the festive season itself.

Other South Park Holiday Specials

south-park-holiday-specials

As well as numerous episodes centered around Christmas, South Park also boasts plenty of other holiday-related storylines, with Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Easter all having episodes dedicated to them over the years. Though not all of these will help viewers find their festive spirit, they do offer just as many laughs as their Christmas-themed counterparts.

The show’s first-ever Halloween episode, Pinkeye, is perhaps the funniest of the spooky specials, though it is starting to show its age a little in some places. Those looking for a more recent example should therefore turn to either the 2019 Tegridy Farms Halloween Special or the fantastic season 16 episode, A Nightmare on FaceTime.

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When it comes to Thanksgiving episodes of South Park, the classics still reign supreme, with Starvin’ Marvin in Space and Helen Keller! The Musical by far the two funniest on offer. The Game of Thrones-inspired Black Friday trilogy from season 17 is well worth a watch too though, as is A History Channel Thanksgiving.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, Easter hasn’t gotten nearly as much attention as some of the other big holidays, but that’s not to say that it’s been ignored entirely by the show’s creators either. The aptly named Fantastic Easter Special from season 11 does a wonderful job of parodying The Da Vinci Code while simultaneously poking fun at the Catholic religion.

The show’s creators have dedicated episodes to smaller holidays as well, most notably Saint Patrick’s Day with the fantastic Credigree Weed St. Patrick’s Day Special. There was even an entire season dedicated to the Covid-19 pandemic, though, ironically, due to the pandemic, Season 24 was limited to just four episodes, the last of which was South Park: Post Covid: The Return of Covid and showed the boys all grown up in a post-Covid world.

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Fuente: successacademy.edu.vn
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