Sitcoms writers love to throw their characters into awkward holiday situations, and New Girl is no exception. Throughout the series, the roommates of 4D celebrated Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day on-screen almost every season.
While fans might find the Christmas and Thanksgiving episodes the most memorable, ratings compiled on the Internet Movie Database actually indicate that the audience enjoyed the large variety of the holiday episodes. The highest-rated holiday episodes range from a 7.7 (which happens to be the average rating of the show) to an 8.3. Only seasons 5 and 7 don’t have episodes in the top 10.
10 Keaton (7.7)
This season 3 Halloween episode gives the audience quite a bit of backstory on Schmidt — and sets up an awkward situation for the roommates that makes a big change to the show.
Jess discovers that Schmidt grew up exchanging letters with Michael Keaton, but in reality “Keaton” was first Schmidt’s mother, and then Nick in college. Jess takes it upon herself to write to Schmidt as Keaton as well in an effort to put him in a better mood, with Nick and Winston joining in. When Schmidt discovers their betrayal, he’s so hurt that he decides to move out of the loft — across the hall.
9 The Crawl (7.7)
Valentine’s Day is always an event on New Girl, especially for the single characters. Instead of wallowing in his single status, Nick decides to plan an epic pub crawl with Winston as the group’s designated chaperone.
Along the way, the group picks up more singles at each bar, but Jess and Ryan, who are supposed to be staying sober to still go to dinner, find themselves drinking the night away and worried about the future. The episode even sets up a big storyline for Coach and this is when he first meets May, the woman who would eventually get him to move to New York. In the end, Nick starts to break down when he realizes he can’t complete his pub crawl, but the always prepared Winston saves the day by creating their own last stop for the crawl just outside of the pub.
8 The 23rd (7.7)
With everyone going home for Christmas except for Schmidt, the group decides to have one last night out by attending the holiday party at Schmidt’s work. The night doesn’t go well for Nick and Jess when Nick accidentally spills the beans to her boyfriend Paul that she doesn’t think she’s in love with him.
Jess and Paul end up breaking up while Winston spends most of the night hanging out with Schmidt’s boss’ son and Nick finds himself trapped on a balcony with a fighting Jess and Paul. When Nick sees how upset Jess is after they leave the party to go to the airport, he stops in “Candy Cane Lane” to cheer her up, a place she had previously wanted to visit with the group. All of the houses already have their lights off, but after some rallying from the friends, the entire neighborhood lights everything back up just for them.
7 Thanksgiving (7.8)
In the first season, Jess spends a lot of time trying to move on from her ex, Spencer. When she connects with Paul, a fellow teacher, she invites him for Thanksgiving dinner. Though her roommates aren’t initially interested in celebrating the holiday, they decide to find a way to pull it off as long as Schmidt does all the cooking.
The guys are surprised to see that Paul is essentially a male version of Jess, complete with impromptu singing. Winston interrogates Paul to see if they’ll get along, while Nick isn’t initially thrilled with him. Cece decides to help Schmidt with dinner, but her tendency to not wash her hands, put her fingers in the food, and get under Schmidt’s skin makes cooking dinner difficult. The evening is topped off by their neighbor turning up dead.
6 Parents (7.8)
The second Thanksgiving-themed episode of the series focuses on Jess’ relationship with her parents. She invites both of them to the loft for Thanksgiving, supposedly at different times, but as it turns out, she’s trying to “Parent Trap” them.
Jess might deny it, but she’s always wanted her parents to get back together. That means awkwardly trying to get Nick to flirt with her mom and bond with her dad while Cece and Winston encourage competition between Schmidt and his cousin.
5 Operation: Bobcat (7.9)
The only season 6 holiday episode to land among IMDb’s top rated, “Operation: Bobcat” is another Valentine’s Day outing. Unlike previous seasons, the group goes their separate ways.
Jess spends the day single, but she also cashes in on a dinner prepared by Gordon Ramsey that she won at an auction, and decides to help Winston with his plan to propose to Aly. Forced to speed things along when Aly voices that she wants to marry him, Winston sees a lot of his plan go awry, but eventually he ends up in the place where they went on their first call together and is able to pop the question — in costume as a bobcat.
4 Valentine’s Day (7.9)
The first Valentine’s Day of the show doesn’t go very well for Jess or Schmidt. It’s her first single Valentine’s Day in six years, and she asks Schmidt to help her have a one-night stand.
Instead, Schmidt, Jess, and the guy she meets at the bar all end up at his place watching TV before the tires are stolen right off of Schmidt’s car, leaving him to call Cece for help. Jess’ date ends up getting back together with his ex, and she almost decides to have a one-night stand with Schmidt instead. Luckily for her, Nick is there to stop her from making that mistake after spending most of his night waiting for his date to be done work.
3 Halloween (7.9)
While Jess is unemployed in the second season, she takes on some interesting jobs. One of them is as a zombie in a haunted house in October. Working the haunted house just happens to coincide with her developing genuine feelings for Sam, the doctor she’s been casually seeing.
Though all of her friends come to the Halloween celebration, they refuse to go in the haunted house, despite her having free tickets for them. Jess even invites Sam, who does show up, but Nick discovers Sam is still seeing other people. Nick decides to brave the haunted house to warn Jess, which only ends in him being terrified, feeling like he’s in a horror movie, and getting beat up by costumed performers after he accidentally punches Jess in the face. Jess (and Winston) both end up breaking up with their respective partners in the episode, but Schmidt comes to be friends with Cece’s new boyfriend, Robbie.
2 Santa (8.2)
It’s fitting that “Santa” ranks just above “Halloween” since it continues the Jess and Sam storyline. While Jess and her friends try to attend as many holiday parties as possible in a single night, Sam pursues them because he wants to have a real relationship with Jess.
His attempt to reconcile with her is complicated by Jess being terrified to talk to him, Winston having a piece of food stuck in his ear all night, and Nick getting into an argument with his new girlfriend Angie about her rule-free lifestyle. Eventually, Angie and Nick make up and Jess has all of her friends tag along while she tracks down Dr. Sam at work, complete with one of the strangest renditions of “O Come All Ye Faithful” ever performed on television.
1 Thanksgiving IV (8.3)
Like “The Craw,” this is one of the few holiday episodes to feature all six main cast members, which is part of the appeal. Seeing how the dynamic changes when all four of the guys spend the holiday with Jess and Cece is highly entertaining — especially once Schmidt dubs the event “Bangs-giving.”
The idea is that everyone brings a potential hook-up for everyone else to dinner. This doesn’t work out for all parties involved, but it certainly keeps the audience entertained.
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