The 100 Greatest ‘SNL’ Holiday Sketches

One hundred holiday sketches? Cracked readers must have been very good this year
The 100 Greatest ‘SNL’ Holiday Sketches

Last year’s Steve Martin/Martin Short Christmas episode of Saturday Night Live was the highest-rated of the year and that shouldn’t be a surprise. There’s something about that noel time of year that brings out the show’s best, from slam-dunk holiday hosts to song parodies like “The Chanukah Song” that become seasonal standards. For everyone on the Nice List, here are 100 SNL holiday sketches to pile up beneath the tree. Let’s get to the unwrapping…  

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Christmas Past

SNL got real-time grief for this homophobic Scrooge sketch (with Jimmy Fallon doing most of the offensive honors). Somehow, it’s aged even worse. 

Gilly: Christmas Ghost

For some reason I can’t remember, Gilly hosted an entire holiday-themed compilation episode, A Very Gilly Christmas. This short, mostly jokeless bit only served to introduce funnier sketches from the past. 

Susan Boyle Holiday Message

Anybody out there remember Susan Boyle? Mom? Aunt Colleen? Anybody?

John Malkovich Reads ‘The Night Before Christmas’

SNL describes Malkovich’s reading as “dark and cynical,” and I don’t disagree. But six minutes of dark and cynical sure feels like a lump of comedy coal.

Rockefeller’s Christmas Message

There was a time when the Rockefeller family received public scorn for selling a controlling interest in the Rockefeller Center to the Japanese. In hindsight, no one cares.

It’s a Wonderful Trump

I’ll admit a bias against SNL’s Trump-based satire. Blame the way that the show ran any potential funny into the ground with its weekly Trump slaps. Plus, this is the least successful of SNL's Wonderful Life parodies.

Singing Elves

Gender-bending performance elves guaranteed to make you shake your boozy.

Stefon and Snooki Sing A Christmas Song

Neither the Snooki nor Governor David Paterson impressions have aged well, but even by yesterday’s standards, this sketch feels thrown together at the last minute. 

Christmas Tree Lot

Somehow, James Franco getting intimate with holiday trees doesn’t rank among his most inappropriate relationships. 

Visit With Santa

The joke here is cute kids with precocious questions for Santa, but Disney Channel-types who mug for the camera aren’t my cup of cocoa. As for the political asides, smug isn’t a good look, Kate McKinnon.

Elf on the Shelf

Jason Momoa is a shelf elf in charge of monitoring a kid who can’t stop masturbating. Momoa’s scraggly elf beard just adds to the ick factor. 

Christmas Socks

Poor Paul Rudd, hosting a Christmas episode during COVID. Given the circumstances, pretty good! (But the bird business goes on for a bit.) 

Donald Trump Christmas Cold Open

As Alec Baldwin Christmas sketches go, give me “Glengarry Glen Christmas” or “Schweddy Balls.”

Christmas Bar

A holiday sketch only in that there are Christmas decorations in the bar. The actual concept: People in Brooklyn are violently self-effacing. 

Sue’s Christmas Surprise

Kristen Wiig is an all-time SNL great, but Sue is an acquired taste. A wooden Taylor Lautner isn’t helping. 

Christmas Sing-Along

Chris Hemsworth and Cecily Strong invite everyone to sing “Debra’s Time,” a holiday standard that no one knows. This wasn’t tone-deaf Hemsworth’s finest moment. 

White Christmas

Everything you’d expect from a Black holiday movie but with white people. A sketch that tries to be edgy and play it safe at the same time will inevitably fail at both. 

MTV’s Jingle Ballerz: A Hip-Hop Nativity

Another excuse for SNLers to break out their impressions, but despite its holy subject matter, this one is less divine than similar sketches.  

Ex-Convict Mall Santa

Colin Quinn is a newly released convict making some extra holiday cash. I’ll ruin the sketch’s best joke — Quinn's St. Nick did time with The Santa Clause’s Tim Allen.

Garth and Kat Sing Hannukah Songs

The thrill of improvisational comedy is watching funny people make up shit on the spot but the electric jolt doesn’t quite translate through a television screen. For credibility’s sake, it has to be bad enough that we believe that Fred Armisen and Kristen Wiig didn’t make up the songs ahead of time. Mission accomplished. 

Special Offer

This variety show spoof is lifted by a bonkers performance from returning star Maya Rudolph. Not sure it needed the Bill Cosby date-rape drug bit, though.  

Rudolph’s Big Night

Young Pete Davidson stars as Rudolph, the bullied reindeer who pushed back. Watch the Rankin-Bass version instead.

Two A-Holes Buying a Christmas Tree

Both Kristen Wiig and Jason Sudeikis developed funnier, more likable characters than their first break-outs, the Two A-Holes. You'll find those sketches higher on this list.

Hilary Actually

It’s hard to think of a sketch that represents a specific moment in time more than one that spoofs both Hillary Clinton’s election loss and Love ActuallySNL went to this well again with Pete Davidson — how many Love Actually spoofs do we need?

The Christmas Conversation

Do you remember how COVID ruined the holidays? Here’s a reminder that’s about as fun as a pandemic Christmas.

Simon Christmas Drawings

Mike Myers’ Simon draws depressing holiday pictures with new pal Danny DeVito. Watch carefully and you might get a peek at Simon’s bum, you cheeky monkey.

Bring It on Down to Wrappinville

There was a minute when Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake were SNL’s It Boys. This, my friends, is just past that minute.

Dunkin’ Donuts

Not so Christmasy, but Casey Affleck is still pretty dang funny as the King of Dunkin’. 

Romantic Holiday Gift Ideas with Tracy Morgan

Morgan has plenty of suggestions for what to buy your wife for Christmas. Here’s hoping she likes spicy buffalo wings at the dog track. 

Santa’s Workshop

SNL has done a surprising number of sketches featuring Santa’s elves. This is one of the less successful ones, with St. Nick’s minions disapproving of the old man’s weight loss.

Tim Meadows on Kwanzaa

There haven’t been a ton of SNL Kwanzaa sketches, and this Meadows clunker might be one of the reasons why. (The cast’s lack of diversity over the show’s first 30 years or so also has something to do with it.)

Nativity Play

If the excitement of a LIVE ANIMAL ON STATE sends you into giggle fits, this is the sketch for you. For the rest of us …

Hallmark Channel Christmas Promo

I can’t remember if Hallmark holiday parodies felt fresh back in the day, but I get about 17 daily variations of this in my Instagram Reels feed.

Debbie Downer’s Christmas Eve

I love Rachel Dratch but Debbie Downer is a one-joke premise that was never as funny as its original Disney World incarnation. But this one gets a pass for its hilarious Grinch opening subbing in for the usual Debbie Downer theme song. 

Hannukah Harry

A breakthrough character for Jon Lovitz, and a reason for SNL to celebrate the Jewish holidays a decade before Adam Sandler sang his famous song. 

Santa’s Elves Deserve to Be Punished

We’re back in Santa’s workshop, but this holiday season his underlings belong on the naughty list. Those kinky little bastards.

The Lawrence Welk Show with Rico Garlanda

Probably the least successful of the Lawrence Welk Show sketches due to James Franco’s inelegant crooner, but even the least funny Dooneese sketch is still pretty hilarious. 

Hot Tub Christmas

The ghosts of two dead strippers make annual holiday visits to a Radisson Select hot tub. As comedy concepts go, we’ve heard worse.

Best Friends

Andy Samberg and Katy Perry make a bunch of unlikely friends for the holidays, proving being alone might be the best way to spend Christmas.

Christmas Toy Joke-Off

Seth Meyers, Amy Poehler, Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey take part in a Christmas joke fight to the death. The subject: Strippers and toys.

Now That’s What I Call Christmas

It’s celebrity impression time, with Lorde, DMX, Michael Buble, Shakira and more singing your holiday favorites. 

Drunk Uncle on the Holidays

Can someone please fax a holiday hug to Drunk Uncle?

Hallmark Holiday Dating Show

One of two sketches on this list that spoof Hallmark’s sappy holiday romances. This one is funnier. 

Steve Martin’s Christmas Wish (Reprise Version)

The holiday bit so nice, Steve Martin did it twice. Or at least re-introduced it with Gilly.

Steve Martin’s Christmas Wish (Classic Version)

The original always trumps the remake.

North Pole News Report

Like many of the sketches on the night of his triumphant return to SNL, Eddie Murphy wins on sheer happy-to-be-here enthusiasm. Which, come to think of it, was a big part of his original appeal. 

Jingle Barack

It’s the final holiday season of the Obama administration, so Chance the Rapper goes out with a bang before Trump takes over. It was even crazier than he and Kenan Thompson predicted. 

Motivational Santa

Matt Foley is the motivational Santa in a van down by the river. It’s another mall Santa sketch, but who better to pull it off than Farley?

Home for the Holidays

There have been a few executions of this concept (the Matt Damon/Cecily Strong one comes to mind), where a family’s expression of warm holiday feelings is in sharp contrast to the harsh, chaotic reality.

Best Christmas Ever

And here’s that better-realized version.

You’re A Rat Bastard, Charlie Brown

We’re docking points because there’s not much here that feels like Christmas, but Martin Short’s Larry David is worth the price of admission.

Michael Buble Christmas Duets

Another impressions showcase, but adding Michael Buble to the mix is more fun that I would’ve expected. I’d buy this album!


Only Phil Hartman can rival Dan Aykroyd as a commercial pitchman, and he’s on top of his game selling a protective lap layer so you won’t get ticks from jolly St. Nick. 

The Harlem Globetrotters’ First Christmas

You probably have to be a Gen X kid to appreciate the days when cartoons starred time-traveling Globetrotters. If you told me this actually aired on a Saturday morning, I’d buy it.


Scary Eminem stand-in Stu really wants a PS5 for Christmas, and he won’t stop writing letters until he gets one. 

Christmas Miracle

Every Ms. Rafferty sketch hits the same crazy beats, but Kate McKinnon pulls it off anyway. KrinkleMaus sounds like a worthy addition to holiday lore.

Master Thespian Plays Santa Claus

Jon Lovitz’s fourth-most-popular recurring character tries on Santa Claus for size. His secret? Acting!

Mister Robinson’s Christmas

Like most Mr. Robinson sketches, this one is medium on jokes but high on Eddie Murphy’s charisma. Robinson is full of holiday spirit — like Santa, he likes to sneak into your house late at night. 

Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started A Conversation With on Christmas

Cecily Strong was just breaking through with her Girl, wondering why Secret Santa just can’t come out as gay already.

Santa Baby

If Quentin Tarantino directed a holiday sketch, it would probably look a lot like “Santa Baby” — the laughs are a-plenty but it sure feels like the snow is going to be splattered red tonight. 

George H.W. Bush’s Christmas Message

As political cold opens go, this one’s not bad — Dana Carvey’s silly take on the elder President Bush is always good for a chuckle. 

Angelo Christmas

Aristotle Athari deserved better!

Office Christmas Party

Alcohol + Becky from Payroll = epic holiday office party.

Christmas Whistle

A so-so concept — an annoying Christmas whistle watches over the drunk and forlorn — is saved by a hilariously frustrated John Goodman performance.

Grimaldi Classic Creations: Crying Nativity Scene

The Baby Jesus has never been more annoying. 

This You Call A Wonderful Life?

This you call a Hannukah parody of a Christmas classic?

Christmas in Australia

Will Ferrell gets sodomized after losing a fight to the Christmas Kangaroo. Happy holidays, everyone!

Kissing Family

Once again, the Vogelchecks don’t mind slipping each other the tongue. If it’s the holidays, then it’s all the merrier.

The Christmas Candle

A one-joke song that scores hard thanks to Aidy Bryant, Kate McKinnon and Emma Stone. 

Consumer Probe: Holiday Edition

Dan Aykroyd’s Irwin Mainway is back with more dangerous toys for the kiddies, including Johnny Switchblade Adventure Punk, Mr. Skin Grafter and Bag O’ Broken Glass.

Guy Fieri’s Full Throttle Christmas Special

Yet another impressions showcase, but this one works better than most thanks to unconventional celebs and go-for-broke performances. 

Stefon’s Holiday Tips

This sketch has everything, from Menorah the Explorer to A Fish Called Kwanzaa. 

Christmas Cards

Holiday cards on the refrigerator door come to life in this clever excuse to rip on friends and neighbors.

It’s A Wonderful Life: The Lost Ending

Sitcoms are notorious for recycling the plot of It’s A Wonderful Life and SNL is no better — there are no less than three spoofs on this list. Our favorite is this one, with George Bailey kicking the crap out of Old Man Potter.

Glengarry Glen Christmas

Now this is how you use Alec Baldwin. Rather than his hammy Trump impression, we’d rather see him reprising his Glengarry Glen Ross a-hole boss. Never forget the rule of ABC: Always Be Cobbling.

Dyke and Fats Save Christmas

I’m a sucker for Kate McKinnon and Aidy Bryant’s 1970s cops and the way they lean into the ugliest stereotypes the decade had to offer. They’re two damn fine cops… for broads.

Holiday Pagaent

Who would have thought Martin Short and Paul McCartney were a comedy pairing made in holiday heaven? As he did with Chris Farley years earlier, Sir Paul proves to be an extraordinary straight man. 

Christmas Morning

It’s the holidays and once again, mom gets the short end of the stick. C’mon, even the dog got a robe.


Let’s hear it for the underappreciated Beck Bennett, bringing the stereotypical Scrooge character to hilarious new life as the guy you don’t want at your holiday party.

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

Everyone’s kinky at Christmas, even the teeny-bopper daughter who learns that she likes to watch. 

Vincent Price’s Christmas Special

Sure, the impressions — Vincent Price, Liberace, Katharine Hepburn, James Dean — are dated. But you could be a clueless 10-year-old and still guffaw a the sharp, funny characterizations. 

Holiday Jewelry

Guess Pandora won’t be advertising on SNL anytime soon. (But where’s the lie?)

Dick in a Box

An all-timer, but frankly, I forget that it was holiday-themed. But sure enough, that’s the reason it’s in a box. 

Season’s Greetings from Tarzan, Tonto and Frankenstein

Deck. Halls. Boughs. Holly. 

I Wish It Was Christmas Today (All of ‘Em)

I don’t understand exactly why this works, but I’m pretty sure it has something to do with Tracy Morgan’s sweater shuffle. Play it every year! (Anybody else suspect Fallon is screwing up the Casio chords — every time! — to draw a little attention to himself?)

Christmas Eve at the White House

Nearly every sitting president has received the SNL holiday spoof — this was probably the first. Chevy Chase is still taking back-pain pills from the Christmas tree fall. 


Steve Buscemi and Kristen Wiig get awkward for the holidays. Low concept but surprisingly winning, powered by its stars’ comedy charisma. 

What Up With That? Christmas Spectacular

The infamous sketch in which Samuel L. Jackson dropped an F-bomb for the holidays. “C’mon, Sam!”

St. Joseph’s Christmas Mass Spectacular

This one’s for the Catholics. If you know, you know. 

Sweeny Sisters Holiday Party

My holiday heart always goes clang clang clang for the Sweeney sisters. A tour de force.


Charlie Brown Christmas

Robert Smigel has professed his love for Charlie Brown in the past. Here’s his loving send-up of one of the all-time holiday special greats. Even wet blanket Linus can’t spoil it.

Do It (On My Twin Bed)

Anyone who’s ever brought a significant other home for the holidays will relate. Bonus laughs for throwing back to the middle-school pictures.

Shweddy Balls

This one’s been run into the ground over the years, but it’s still a classic — applaud the writers for holding back the Shweddy Balls punchline for as long as possible. Wait for it, wait for it…

Sump’n Claus

If I was putting together a Kenan Thompson Top Ten, this might make the list. Nice to know that this holiday season, everyone’s getting a little sump’n.

Serial: The Christmas Surprise

The Christmas Surprise will probably get less funny as the years go by and the memory of Serial fades. But it’s a spot-on satire of the mystery, highlighted by Cecily Strong’s nearly-NPR-like vocals. 

The Chanukah Song

Unpredictably, Adam Sandler’s goofy gift to the little Jewish boys and girls has become a genuine holiday classic. Put on your yamulke, ‘cause here it comes!

Santa’s My Boyfriend

A new Christmas standard, and a passing of the torch (of sorts) with veterans Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph teaming with youngster Kristen Wiig. The ending harmony may bring a tear to your eye. 

Christmastime for the Jews

The iconic Darlene Love sends this one into orbit, a Christmas celebration for the people who don’t celebrate Christmas. 

Dysfunctional Family Christmas

An ode to family discomfort at the holidays, sung by an all-star team of SNL greats. Damn near perfect. 

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