Get ready for the Christmas party of your dreams as EW ranks Bob's Burgers yuletide episodes.
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Whether it's crafting an ode to Thanksgiving or one of TV's best Halloween episodes, Bob's Burgers celebrates every holiday with its trademark comic flair (as well as a lot of high-spirited songs).

Their Christmas episodes are no exception, and in honor of their latest one, "Gene's Christmas Break," EW has ranked all of them from the mildly merry to the shimmering showstoppers. There are no stockings full of coal on the list and each one offers plenty of laughs, but some sparkle just a little bit brighter. From a love story involving mannequins to an underground Christmas rave, the Belchers' holiday adventures are more fun than a chocolate candy cane. Read on to see if you agree with our rankings.

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10. "Bob Rest Ye Merry Gentle-Mannequins" (Season 3, Episode 9)

It's hard not to compare the first Christmas episode to the insane glories of the later ones, but there is still plenty of amusement in season 3's inaugural attempt. After Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) inherits a storage unit from his Uncle Ernie the kids hope that it will pay for their Christmas presents, but those hopes are dashed when all they find is Chet (recurring guest star Zach Galifianakis), the window designer for Uncle Ernie's old department store. At Linda's (John Roberts) behest, Chet moves into their basement and starts creating daily holiday displays for the restaurant, but things get weird when he claims that he was once a mannequin who lost his mannequin wife, Nadine, when Uncle Ernie's store closed down. After a skeptical Bob suggests Chet's wife is probably in a dump now, Chet's Christmas Eve display takes a rather bloody turn and Bob's needing to order a lot more ketchup as a result. The kids track down Nadine and find her in a sex shop window, and with Bob's help, manage to free her in a highly inappropriate manner (best to avoid this one if you are watching with kids). All Bob's Burgers Christmas episodes wind up being weirdly sweet, and this one is no different when the kids volunteer to go without gifts to secure Nadine's freedom from the sex shop. Alright, maybe it's more weird than sweet but it's the thought that counts, right?

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9."Christmas in the Car" (Season 4, Episode 8)

One basic fact of these Christmas episodes is that Linda is as crazy for Christmas as Bob is for Thanksgiving. After Linda goes through not one but two trees before they even make it to the holiday, the family must go out searching for a new tree on Christmas Eve even though Bob already put his precious ham in the oven. While Linda is deciding which scrawny tree to pick at the nearly empty tree lot, Louise (Kristen Schaal) goes over her plan to trap Santa later that night. Unfortunately, Teddy (Larry Murphy) is the one who gets caught when trying to protect the ham by turning off Bob's oven. The trouble really starts when Bob backs out of the tree lot to go home and the episode turns into an homage to Stephen Spielberg's Duel only this time featuring an enormous candy cane truck. Once Bob's car gets stuck in the snow while hiding from the ominously minty vehicle, he and the irate truck driver, Gary (voiced by comedian Bobcat Goldthwait) eventually come face-to face. After Bob lets him get a punch in for cutting off his truck earlier, Linda insists that the lonely Gary take their tree, much to Bob's aggravation since it was her insistence on the tree that led them here in the first place. Linda's generous Christmas spirit wins out, and even though Louise caught Teddy and not Santa, at least the ham wasn't ruined. And that's the best Christmas gift of all.

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8. "Better Off Sled" (Season 9, Episode 10)

Not the most Christmas-y feeling episode, but "Better Off Sled" is still a fun winter episode involving Louise and her arch-nemesis Logan (Kurt Braunohler) fighting over the only good sledding hill in the park. Logan refuses to give up ground for his snowball fight and just like the little battle commander she is, Louise plots to retake it for sledding with the help of Rudy's cousin Mandy (Jillian Bell) and her softball pitching skills. Mandy wins the battle, but the war isn't over yet, and a lot more varsity members get involved before the hill is finally won. Armored with the best cookie sheets Bob's kitchen has to offer, Louise, Tina (Dan Mintz), and Gene (Eugene Mirman) face down their snow bullies once and for all. With the help of Mandy and every girl in town who wants to hit Logan with a snowball (it's a lot of girls), they retake the hill. Louise isn't a complete grinch and helps Logan get a bit of a head start before he reaps the blizzard he has sowed. Linda meanwhile faces the plight of every casual knitter who discovers their spouse is a better and faster knitter than they are (raises hand) when she tries to make the kids Christmas scarves only to discover Bob is a natural at it. But it turns out the kids like their mom's weirdo scarf best of all, and Linda has a very, merry Christmas indeed.

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7. "Yachty or Nice" (Season 11, Episode 10)

The Glencrest Yacht Club is having its annual Christmas Yacht Parade, and much to Bob's befuddlement, he's been invited to cater along with a collection of much fancier restaurants. Linda hopes she'll finally meet the mayor, but Bob's general paranoia gets the better of him and he starts to suspect that this is a joke being played on him by aspiring yacht club member and fellow culinary competitor, Jimmy Pesto (Jay Johnston). When Bob suspects Jimmy is planning to pants him in front of the whole gathering, they both wind up in the water, and Jimmy confesses his somewhat unexpected plan. He honestly thought the club would like Bob's food so much, that the glory of Bob's cooking would reflect back on him, and they would finally let him into the damn yacht club. Bob feels terrible and as much as it pains him, makes an appeal to the club president on Jimmy's behalf. But he's not the only family member who suffers a crisis of conscience as Louise, Tina, and Gene discover when they find out Teddy has been hired to be this year's Yacht Parade Santa, and he has access to tons of expensive toys to give out. They scheme to steal some of them until Teddy leaves the choice whether to take the gifts up to them. They eventually give back the gifts, but don't leave empty-handed, because like a good Santa, Teddy has put aside a defective but still working RC car for them. It might be slightly dangerous, but as we all know, those are the kind of gifts Louise likes the most.

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6. "Gene's Christmas Break" (Season 12, Episode 10)

Louise usually takes the lead in the Christmas episodes since she's the most gift-crazy of the Belcher kids, but in 2021's amusing entry, Gene takes center stage as his passion for Christmas music threatens to take down the entire holiday. When he accidentally breaks his favorite Christmas album, the very rare Percy McTinsel-bud's "Tinsel Machine," Gene melts down. Despite the fact that Gene has been incessantly playing the album and driving the whole family crazy, Tina and Louise try to find him a replacement copy to no avail. As a last ditch effort to save their Christmas from Gene's despondency, the Belchers try to rerecord the album themselves which doesn't work until Gene gets a trippy vision from Percy McTinsel-bud (Dana Snyder). Taking Percy's advice, Gene takes the Belchers version and makes it his own. His Christmas is saved and just as successful is Bob and Linda's Secret Santa with Teddy, Mort (Andy Kindler) and Mike the Mailman (Tim Meadows). Teddy initially pitched the idea just for him, Linda, and Bob, so he's thrown off when Linda recruits Mort and Mike and he gets stuck with Mort instead of Bob or Linda. It's a familiar storyline for anyone who has every gotten caught in a Secret Santa they regret (which is pretty much everyone), but it all turns out well in the end when they all get a gift they like, even Mort. 

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5. "Father of the Bob" (Season 5, Episode 6)

There is no better way to spend the the holidays than settling long held family grudges. After holding onto a beef (sorry) against his dad, Big Bob (Bill Hader), for 30 years, Bob is in no mood to resolve it. Turns out that even though Bob learned the restaurant business at his dad's knee, the elder Belcher wasn't so supportive of his son's culinary adventures. But when Linda forces Bob in the kitchen with his father on Christmas Eve, they finally have it out. After Big Bob's longtime customer Henry (comedy legend Carl Reiner) chooses Bob's specialty burger over his usual tuna melt, Big Bob storms out of the restaurant. A lazy Christmas gift from his kids they foraged from his dad's basement helps Bob discover that his dad saved the first review of Bob's restaurant, and he realizes he shouldn't have humiliated his dad in his own restaurant. Bob finds his dad at the gay bar next door which is run by family friend Pete (Nick Offerman). They hash it out over some country line dancing which Bob's dad is surprisingly adept at. Both apologize and old wounds are finally healed. It's a Christmas miracle!

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4. "Have Yourself a Maily Linda Christmas" (Season 10, Episode 10)

The perpetually struggling Belchers are always short on cash when Christmas time comes around, so Linda decides to get a temporary job at the Post Office during the holiday season, and the results are reliably ridiculous. As expected, Linda's unending Christmas cheer starts to wear on her fellow employees. When a last minute postal delivery goes awry, she takes it upon herself to play Santa and violates all known postal regulations in the process. She goes on the lam with the package and takes Louise and Gene, who are looking for a last-minute gift for Tina since they both fell down on the job like true younger siblings everywhere. Linda's own mailman, Mike, intercedes at first to stop her, but after a Christmas change of heart just makes sure it's an official delivery. Meanwhile, Bob is stuck in holiday hell as Linda's squabbling family arrives while she's still missing in action. He somehow helps to resolve their long-running feud over the fact that Gail (Megan Mullally) got trapped in an ottoman the previous Christmas, so by the time Linda arrives home, things are unusually merry and bright. Though not for poor Tina who gets an origami swan made from a packing slip, but when you have siblings like Gene and Louise, what can you expect?

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3. "Nice-Capades" (Season 6, Episode 5)

After Louise unknowingly bullies the mall Santa (guest star Henry Winkler, who uses his own nice guy reputation to hilarious effect here) out of a store's fancy massage chair, she spends the rest of the episode trying to make up for her behavior. Despite Bob confirming that he's pretty sure she's getting presents this year, Louise goes back to the mall to apologize, and when that doesn't work, basically bribes the mall Santa to stay off the naughty list. But Santa winds up soaked in milk and cookies and Louise gets banned from Santa's Village for her efforts. Realizing that Santa sits across from the mall's ice rink, Louise decides she needs to put on a little show about all her good deeds, and with Mr. Fischoeder's help (Kevin Kline, game as always), she puts on the most demented Ice Capades this Santa has ever witnessed. But despite skating chicken nuggets and a ballad about bourbon by Mr. Fischoeder, when it comes time to detail her own good deeds, Louise realizes she's a fraud. Her family rushes in to convince her that despite all her snark, she is a nice person and the mall Santa agrees to put in a good word with the real big guy in red so she gets the gift that she wants. Unfortunately, Louise wants a shark so she's gets a goldfish as a less deadly substitute, but at least it isn't a lump of coal.

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2. "The Last Gingerbread House on the Left" (Season 7, Episode 7 )

Kevin Kline's Mr. Fischoeder doesn't show up in every episode of Bob's Burgers, but when he does, it's a sheer delight and a big reason why "The Last Gingerbread House on the Left"  slots so high on the list. While Linda and the family are planning to go caroling, Mr. Fischoeder begs Bob to come by his house for another one of his dubious schemes. This time it involves tricking him into entering a gingerbread house-making competition with a bunch of armed millionaires. Bob wants to leave, but when Mr. Fischoeder bribes him with a month of free rent to throw the competition and prevent his landlord from losing yet again, Bob reluctantly agrees. After a while, Bob has enough of Mr. Fischoeder's trash-talking  "gingerbooms," and he throws the free rent out of the tiny icing-lined window and aims for the top prize so he can give it to his kids (an afternoon at the local zoo with its albino polar bear cub). Tempers flare and once the bullets start flying, Bob's gingerbread house is the only one left standing and he wins by default. The kids loves their time with the polar cub and in a show of Christmas generosity, Bob lets Mr. Fischoeder and the other millionaires get in a cuddle as well.

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1. "The Bleakening: Part 1 and Part 2" (Season 8, Episodes 6 and 7)

The glittery tree topper to this list is the two-parter from season 8 which is stuffed with songs, mystery, and a dryly hilarious turn from guest star Adam Driver as a nude model named Art. Linda wants to throw the best Christmas party ever, but her holiday cheer is ruined when someone steals her little tree and all her favorite ornaments from the restaurant. Once they find out that decorations have been stolen all over town, Linda and Bob go investigating, but the kids think it's the Bleaken, a horned present-stealing creature that Teddy seems to believe is real. The kids sneak out of the house on Christmas Eve and follow the clues, but after Tina gets scared, she gives her parents a hint on how to find them. Bob and Linda track them down to what seems like an abandoned warehouse, but is really an underground Christmas rave. Linda spots her tree amidst the blinding lights and snatches the DJ's mic to read the crowd the riot act. But once she witnesses the drag performance by Miss Triple X-Mas (Todrick Hall singing an incredibly catchy ode to Christmas lights), her heart grows three sizes. She apologizes to the crowd while also admitting she called the cops because she was pissed someone stole her ornaments. Finally, Art, who was at her party as well, emerges out of the crowd and confesses that he alone stole everything. Linda realizes he had the same dream for this party that she had for hers. Catching the Christmas spirit himself, Bob jumps into action and leads the approaching cops on a wild Bleaken chase so the party can continue. Linda parties until dawn and promptly passes out. She sleeps through Christmas morning but at least her dream has been restored.

Episode Recaps

Bob's Burgers

The animated series from Loren Bouchard follows the world of the Belcher family and their burger joint.

type
  • TV Show
seasons
  • 9
rating
genre
creator
  • Loren Bouchard
network
  • Fox

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