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7 best SNL holiday skits, ranked

Saturday Night Live (SNL) skits are hit or miss. But when it comes to holiday skits, they usually strike gold. There are so many great holiday skits throughout the sketch comedy show’s 48-year and 49-season run and counting. Think: Rachel Dratch’s Debbie Downer putting the Grinch in the holiday spirit.

Digital Shorts like D**k in a Box starring Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake, John Malkovich disappointing kids with his dark reading of a Christmas classic, the iconic Chanukah Song written and sung by Adam Sandler, Eddie Murphy celebrating Christmas in Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood are just a few of the stellar skits that have been made over the past decades.

A few SNL holiday skits have stood out for being hilarious, timely, and relatable. These are the seven best SNL holiday skits worth watching again and again.

Christmas Morning (2020)

Christmas Morning - SNL

Relatable to any mother who has spent countless hours shopping, wrapping, and prepping for the big day, Christmas Morning is a rap sung by an excited family. The two parents and two kids sing about and show off all the cool stuff they got. It starts out on a positive note, with each family member reciting some of their coolest gifts, from a telescope to a new phone. Mom, played by Bridesmaids star Kristen Wiig, is at first pleased with her new robe, wearing it with pride. But as the list of gifts continues, she only has that one present to sing about.

The song continues, and mom’s contributions get darker and darker. Her stocking is empty, she burned her hand making everyone breakfast, and the dog even got more gifts than she did (including his own robe). The two-and-a-half-minute skit is a wake-up call to all families who might forget about poor old mom in all the excitement of Christmas.

I Wish It Was Christmas Today (2000)

A Song From SNL: I Wish It Was Christmas Today - SNL

This sketch, which appears as an opener to a holiday-themed episode, features Horatio Sanz, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Kattan, and Tracy Morgan singing and dancing like a string quartet to an original song called I Wish It Was Christmas Today. It’s silly with repetitive swaying in unison, Kattan’s head flipping back and forth as he holds a keyboard, Sanz strumming on a Martin Backpacker guitar, and Morgan’s stoic face as he shimmies. You can’t help but laugh at how ridiculous it is.

This sketch proves that sometimes, simplicity is all that’s needed to make people laugh. Laugh they did, and this sketch has reappeared and been recreated many times over the seasons, including by the original cast more than a decade later.

Sue: Christmas Surprise (2009)

Sue: Christmas Surprise - SNL

Sue is one of Wiig’s most memorable recurring characters from the series. The overly excited woman can’t keep a secret to save her life. She gets so worked up to the point that she’ll literally injure herself to stop from speaking and ruining a surprise. In this holiday-themed iteration, which features Taylor Lautner as the guest host, Sue is gathered with extended family for the holidays, and her niece has a big secret to reveal. She and her husband are pregnant, but the parents don’t know yet, and they’re on their way over.

It’s a big mistake to reveal the news with Sue in the room. She fights the temptation to stop herself from saying something as if she’s going to burst wide open if she doesn’t. Wiig’s physical comedy is a stand-out in this sketch; from devouring a cheeseball with her bare bands to prevent herself from passing out to sticking a stocking over her head to hide her mouth, it’s comedy gold.

Best Christmas Ever (2018)

Best Christmas Ever - SNL

Matt Damon and Cecily Strong hit it out of the park with this skit about two parents at the end of Christmas day reflecting on all the joy the holiday season brings. While they seem satisfied with how everything went, flashbacks paint a very different picture. Christmas, as many can relate to, was nothing more than a chaotic mess of arguments, issues, drama, and exhaustion.

Best Christmas Ever is so funny because it’s relatable. When all is said and done, the truth about how you remember Christmas Day after the fact might not be as real as what truly happened. But it’s all about making memories with the kids, even if you wanted to pull your hair out a million times. Damon’s dad character swearing as he tries to put together a playhouse and Strong’s mom character guzzling wine throughout the evening are downright hilarious moments in the skit.

Glengarry Glen Christmas: Elf Motivation (2005)

Glengarry Glen Christmas: Elf Motivation - SNL

Alec Baldwin reprises his character Blake from the movie Glengarry Glen Ross. Except now, he’s a top elf, sent in to motivate the other elves who aren’t pulling their weight. While the elves constantly complain about their tools and the expectations for output, Winter’s Breath (Baldwin) from the home office has a little something to say about their incessant whining and low productivity.

As the skit progresses, it’s a total replication of the iconic scene from the movie but with a holiday theme. “Put that cocoa down,” Baldwin screams to one of the elves, telling her that “cocoa is for cobblers only.” He even describes the principles of “ABC” in sales, messing up the line (saying the real one from the movie) and breaking character for a brief moment. He’s ruthless, mean, and anything but motivating. Baldwin commits fully to the role while the elves cower in fear at his threats and menacing presence. While the sketch hits different for those who have seen Glengarry Glen Ross, it’s funny even without picking up on the reference.

Bring It On Down to Wrappinville (2013)

Bring It on Down to Wrappinville - SNL

Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake were always a dream team on SNL. A fan favorite is a recurring sketch with the pair dressed in elaborate costumes singing outside of a store as mascots to promote its wares. In this holiday-themed one, which serves as the episode’s cold open, they are dressed like gift wrap and a gift bag, competing with Aidy Bryant’s character who is trying to attract shoppers to her small gift-wrapping kiosk by singing lame songs.

The immediate cheers from the audience as soon as Timberlake hops on stage is evidence of the skit’s popularity. They sing songs with lyrics fitting to the theme, like Roll Out and It’s Tricky, complete with exaggerated dance moves. They are professional wrappers, after all.

Delicious Dish: Schweddy Balls (1998)

NPR's Delicious Dish: Schweddy Balls - SNL

The most popular and still the best holiday skit from SNL, arguably even one of the funniest SNL skits ever, remains Delicious Dish: Schweddy Balls. Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon are deadpan NPR radio hosts welcoming guests to the show to discuss their Christmas wares. Pete Schweddy (Alec Baldwin) is their first, and he’s there to talk about his baked goods. His golf ball-sized spherical dessert treats are called Schweddy’s dessert balls. As he describes the care that goes into making them and the two ladies sample the merchandise, the conversation becomes filled with sexual innuendos and double entendres. Yet none of them seem to realize this.

From a discussion of the size and shape to the melt-in-your-mouth taste of the balls, it’s a wonder the three actors never broke character while delivering their lines. This Delicious Dish skit is a classic one that fans love to watch again and again every season. Despite the immaturity of the humor, it never gets old.

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Christine Persaud
Christine has decades of experience in trade and consumer journalism. While she started her career writing exclusively about…
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