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The Best Holiday Episodes On 'The Big Bang Theory'

Updated November 6, 2019 392 votes 95 voters 8.2k views14 items

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!

  • The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis
    Photo: CBS

    The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis

    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
    Is this a great holiday episode?
  • The Holiday Summation
    Photo: CBS

    The Holiday Summation

    After the Christmas holiday, Sheldon and Amy tell Leonard and Penny about their visit to his mother Mary, who upset Sheldon by confessing she never thought he would find a partner. Sheldon reacted by acting anti-socially and getting his ear pierced.

    Also, Leonard and Penny had a series of mishaps chopping down a Christmas tree and bringing it home, while Bernadette and Howard have been struggling to cope with a constantly screaming baby. Eventually, Bernadette does resolve the problem by climbing into Halley's crib and sleeping with her.

    • Original Airing: January 5, 2017
    • Season: 10
    • Episode Number: 12
    Is this a great holiday episode?
  • The Maternal Congruence
    Photo: CBS

    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
    • Season: 3
    • Episode Number: 11
    Is this a great holiday episode?
  • The Thanksgiving Decoupling
    Photo: CBS

    The Thanksgiving Decoupling

    The gang spends Thanksgiving at Mrs. Wolowitz's house. As she is laid up in bed, Raj, Bernadette and Amy cook. Penny recalls her Thanksgiving in Las Vegas with her ex-boyfriend Zack, and a "fake" wedding. Her friends tell her the wedding was real, so she is legally married, causing tension between her and Leonard. Howard vainly tries to bond with his father-in-law, Mike, who instead starts to bond over football with Sheldon, who is apparently very knowledgeable as he was forced to watch the game with his father as a child.

    After Mike shares beers with Sheldon to comfort him because his father died while he was young, they continue to hit it off. Amy orders Sheldon to apologize to Howard after insulting him. A now-drunk Sheldon gestures to Amy, says to Mike, "Ain't she great?", and then swats her on the rear and suggests she get them more beers. Amy is shocked but delighted at the physical attention. Meanwhile, Penny has invited Zack over to sign the annulment papers to end their marriage (to the excitement of Raj, Bernadette, and Amy). Zack is at first reluctant to sign, expressing concern at how ending the marriage will affect their non-existent kids. Penny demands he sign, and he does. Mike finally compliments Howard, but then attributes his kindness to being drunk. Penny and Leonard reconcile.

    • Original Airing: November 21, 2013
    • Season: 7
    • Episode Number: 9
    Is this a great holiday episode?