There's something about watching a holiday episode of your favorite TV show that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Whether it's a yearly Christmas episode the ends with the main characters cozying up around the Christmas tree, or a fun-filled Halloween episode that captures the best spooky feelings and makes you feel like a kid again, there's really nothing on TV like a classic holiday special.
For fans of The Big Bang Theory, the holiday episodes of the series have always felt truly special. From the apartments being fully decked out for the season, to Sheldon's hatred for almost all holidays, the best Big Bang Theory holiday episodes manage to feel like throwbacks to classic sitcom episodes while still featuring the smart and diverse humor that the series is known for. Like everything that's great about Big Bang Theory, its holiday TV episodes can be counted on year after year to make us laugh, to make us feel, and to make us glad that we don't have to spend the holidays with Sheldon, we only have to spend a half an hour each Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas with him.
Even if it's not that time of year, you better prepare to head off to Mrs. Wolowitz's house for Thanksgiving, order the pepermint bark cheesecake off the Cheesecake Factory menu, and deck the halls with the rankings of the best Big Bang Theory holiday episodes. Bazinga!
Sheldon worries about the approaching Christmas holidays and his indecision about what to buy for Penny, as he needs it to match the value of her gift to him. After deciding on a basket of bath items he discovers a large selection, so not knowing what Penny will get him, he buys the entire range to cover all contingencies. Penny's gift to Sheldon is a napkin both autographed and used by Leonard Nimoy. Sheldon, overwhelmed since he now possesses Nimoy's DNA and can grow his own Leonard Nimoy, gives Penny all the gift baskets and also a rare "Sheldon" hug.
Meanwhile, Leonard meets visiting researcher and fellow experimental physicist Dr. David Underhill. Though Leonard envies David for being handsome and a more successful physicist than himself, he jumps at David's offer to help him in his research. Things come to a halt when David meets Penny and the two start dating - though they quickly break up when Penny discovers nude photos of his wife on his phone. Leonard only learns this when he comes to Penny's apartment to yell at her about their own on-off relationship. When he realizes his mistake, he and Penny cuddle each other to comfort each other.
Original Airing: Dec 15, 2008
Season: The Big Bang Theory - Season 2
Episode Number: 11
At Christmas, Leonard's mother visits, much to Leonard's horror and Sheldon's delight. Penny is upset to learn that Leonard has not told her about his mother's visit, nor his mother about their relationship, while Leonard learns that Sheldon appears to know more about his parents' lives than he does.
Original Airing: Dec 14, 2009
Episode Number: 11
Sheldon is in Texas to help with his sister's home birth but is as usual totally self-absorbed and unsympathetic to his sister's discomfort, and no help at all. Between video calls, his friends wonder how their lives would be had they never met him (as in It's a Wonderful Life). Penny notes Leonard would have been too afraid to date her, Bernadette thinks she would not be with Howard because of his strange friendship with Raj, and Leonard speculates Penny would be living with Zack, who would trade money for useless items such as beans. Amy suggests that if Leonard had not moved in, Penny would have tried to seduce Sheldon in Leonard's absence, while Howard notes he would be caring for his mother even after her death (as in Psycho), and Raj and Leonard suggest they would be obese flatmates owing to Raj's cooking and Leonard's loneliness. Amy thinks she would be sad and alone.
After Amy encourages Sheldon to be with his newborn nephew, Raj observes that Amy has significantly influenced Sheldon, and Leonard shows her picture on Sheldon's screensaver, among the other scientists Sheldon admires the most. On returning home, Sheldon tells Amy he would have preferred her to have been in Texas with him (or instead of him). In a final Cheesecake Factory scene with Howard and the obese Raj and Leonard, Leonard asks Penny out; she turns him down to reveal she is dating an extremely cool Stuart. The scene changes to reveal this as Stuart's fantasy whilst sitting alone in the restaurant.
Original Airing: December 12, 2013
Episode Number: 11
Leonard meets an attractive female comic book enthusiast named Alice at the comic book store and immediately gets attracted to her. However he is still in a committed relationship with Priya and as a result, is torn between cheating on her with Alice or staying loyal to her. He goes to Penny for advice, but he does not find her advice useful, so he goes to Sheldon, who quotes Friedrich Nietzsche's views on morality (Morality is just a fiction used by the herd of inferior human beings to hold back the few superior men). Leonard surprisingly takes Sheldon's advice and goes to Alice's apartment. But just when they are about to have sex, Leonard's conscience gets the better of him. He tells Alice that he already has a girlfriend, prompting her to throw him out of her apartment. Later he tells Priya via Skype about how he tried to cheat on her.
To his surprise, Priya accepts his actions but then reveals that she cheated on him by sleeping with her ex-boyfriend. Leonard becomes very upset at this and closes his laptop on Priya, indicating their breakup. Meanwhile, Sheldon becomes the victim of a successful Halloween prank by the guys and decides to take revenge by pranking them back. But due to his lack of guile, none of his pranks are successful; Leonard reverses his airbag prank on him; Raj does not get scared of the snake which Sheldon hid in his drawer in their office; Howard and Bernadette pretend that Howard had suffered a heart attack after Sheldon gives him an electric handshake, which actually scares him more. However, he manages to finally scare Leonard by leaping out from under the couch cushions in zombie face paint after Leonard speaks with Priya.
Original Airing: Oct 27, 2011
Episode Number: 7