If you’re burned out on all the classic Christmas movies on the tube and you’ve seen everything worth seeing at the box office, here are a few personal picks for some overlooked but spiritually thought-provoking episodes of TV shows that you can now enjoy on DVD no matter what holiday you are celebrating.
My So-Called Life: “So-Called Angels”: This episode of the angst-filled teen drama always makes me cry. Angela Chase (Claire Danes) and her agnostic family find their spiritual and emotional preconceptions challenged when Angela’s friend Rickie goes missing and the Chases’ search for him lead them to a mysterious encounter with a homeless teen.
Once & Again: “Gingerbread House”: In my opinion, this series–which focused on two divorcees trying to find a way to be in love and blend their families while also dealing with their exes–was one of the best shows ever on television. This episode focuses on mom Lily’s attempt to create a perfect gingerbread house over the holidays as the ultimate metaphor for trying to piece back together her broken life and heal her relationship with new love Rick after a major transgression on her part. Lily learns that trying to achieve reconciliation is neither easy or pretty, always fragile, but always possible. The other touching twist in this episode is the way Lily’s youngest daughter, Zoey, also has some of her own holiday dreams unexpectedly shattered.
X-Files: “5X05 Christmas Carol”: Faith and science collided over and over again on this series, but in this episode the always-skeptical Scully is home for the holidays and begins to have nightmares which she thinks may connect her to a murdered woman’s daughter. As Scully tries to unravel the mystery, she comes face to face with her past. The episode (it’s the first of a two-parter) is not so much about Christmas but about reconnecting with family with some supernatural help. Can’t we all use of that?