First gracing the airwaves in 1999, SpongeBob Squarepants took the world by storm as the new millennium dawned. Lasting thirteen seasons, SpongeBob and his friends also have three full-length movies.
Despite new episodes no longer being released, these loveable sea creatures are still relevant in today’s pop culture and the ability to rewatch shows on multiple streaming outlets.
And while there isn’t a huge amount of Christmas episodes over the thirteen seasons and three movies, there are iconic, fun, and heartwarming Christmas episodes that are worth discussing and ranking.
So without further adieu, let’s talk about the best SpongeBob Christmas episodes and why they still hold a special place in this SpongeBob fan’s heart.
Bottom Line Up Front: The best SpongeBob Christmas episode has to be Plankton’s Old Chum because it has the Christmas spirit without being heavy-handed. It has classic elements of SpongeBob humor, with surprising twists.
Overall, it’s just a well-crafted episode and stands out over the rest. (I also love when Plankton and SpongeBob team up!)
And so, In order of least favorite to most favorite, here are the best SpongeBob Christmas episodes!
Number 6 – Frozen Face-Off
To keep you on your toes, we’re starting the list with a not strictly Christmas episode. This is more of an overall winter-themed episode. It is from Season 8 Frozen Face-Off (Episode 4). This is a longer episode, lasting twenty-three minutes.
It begins with iconic reporter Perch Perkins reporting on a sleigh race where the winner receives a whopping one million dollars. All the lovable sea-dwelling characters have their own sleighs, true to their personalities: Patrick sits in a box drawn by gummy worms, SpongeBob is towed by Gary, Squidward has a fancy imported worm, etc…
Plankton is of course present, towed by his computer-wife Karen. But of course, Plankton uses the opportunity to sneak into the rarely empty Krusty Krab to try and steal the Krabby Patty secret formula. (You know Mr. Krabs can’t resist a race for a million dollars and is busy off at the race!)
And while Plankton runs off to steal the Krabby Patty formula, SpongeBob begins picking up his lost friends, whose hubris all gets the best of them as their sleighs fail them for those various reasons. Squidward, Sandy, Mr. Krabs, and Patrick, all pile into Spongebob’s sleigh to head home.
The crew is eventually attacked by a snow monster, who is portrayed by a live-action toy, and shoots ice from her mouth. What is this monster though?
This is the never before seen in any episodes yet, and not-so-mythical The Abominable Snow Mollusk, which is a sort of Bigfoot-type creature, whose very existence is questioned by the masses.
The episode concludes with our favorite sea creatures working together to get home, utilizing all their various strengths. Of course, they get to The Chum Bucket just in time to confront Plankton, who traps them and leaves them to be Abominable Snow Mollusk food.
Fortunately for them, she’s only acquired a taste for the gummy worms SpongeBob gave her and mistakes Plankton for a jellybean, ending the episode and the strife by swallowing Plankton.
I rate this as my least favorite wintery/Christmas episode because I am not super into the Abominable Snow Mollusk detour. I don’t like the live-action toy integrated into the cartoon either.
Whether it’s in SpongeBob or any other show, I like when creators stick to their chosen medium. Overall though, this is another silly adventure for the Bikini Bottom crew and worth a watch for some lighthearted, wintery fun.
Number 5 – The Snowball Effect
The Snowball Effect, Season 3 Episode 6 is a surprise winter episode, which occurs when an iceberg floats into the tropical waters above Bikini Bottom. As a result, Bikini Bottom is blanketed in snow, and Patrick and SpongeBob take full advantage with a snowball fight.
Of course, Squidward gets involved but only to tell the best friends to quiet down. He resists the urge to join the fight until he is forced to defend himself, and once that starts, he can’t stop.
He gets so into the game that SpongeBob and Patrick retreat, leaving Squidward to build a giant snow fort and fire snowballs at an unseen attacker, who, as the camera pans out, turns out to be snow falling from the coral tree above him. At the end of this episode, and an overall theme of this show, Squidward’s greatest foe is always himself.
This is number five on my list because it isn’t very Christmas-focused, but it is Christmas-season appropriate. (SpongeBob is even wearing a Santa hat.)
The whole scene of snowball fights and building forts is very Christmasy and the final scene of Patrick and SpongeBob enjoying cocoa by the fire while Squidward fights no one just makes you all warm inside, just like Christmas!
Number 4 – Krabs a la Mode
Season 5 Episode 5 Krabs a la Mode brings winter inside the Krusty Krab – literally.
Plankton plays on Mr. Krabs’ fiscal responsibility (ahem… cheapness) by turning down the heat in the restaurant, making Mr. Krabs believe his thermostat is at the usual temperature and therefore refusing to turn the heat up. Meanwhile, Plankton advertises the toasty temperature of his restaurant, which still doesn’t bring customers in.
Across the street, SpongeBob, in true SpongeBob form, adapts. He ice-skates around the restaurant, which is covered in ice from top to bottom.
SpongeBob sets about delivering Krabby Patties with ease and grace on none other than frozen Krabby Patties. Those ‘patty skates’ as the customers call them, begin to sell along with the prepared food, creating an even more fun atmosphere. Classic!
I’m making this number four because it’s adorable and classic to the SpongeBob formula. It’s nothing crazy and new, but it’s definitely worth watching!
Number 3 – It’s a SpongeBob Christmas
Season 8 Episode 23 brings Christmas back with the adorable It’s a SpongeBob Christmas. Christmas reappears officially for the first time since season 2’s introduction of the holiday. The creators chose to do this episode with stop-action a la A Nightmare Before Christmas with toy replicas of the Bikini Bottom citizens.
That’s right, all the characters are portrayed with toys. And this longer-than-usual episode (twenty-four minutes long) really has a little bit of everything.
Robots, poisoned fruit cake, toys playing the characters, even a toy version of Patchy the Pirate! This is a musical heavy episode, which isn’t for everyone, and while SpongeBob Squarepants doesn’t shy from music, it isn’t a constant either.
The episode opens with Patchy the Pirate who introduces the special episode as he has so many others. But not all is well in Bikini Bottom today, as Plankton plans to ruin the holiday by tainting fruit cake with ‘jerktonium‘, an element to make kind people jerks.
By making everyone else bigger jerks than him, Plankton will inevitably look better to Santa and therefore finally get a gift other than coal (ideally the Krabby Patty secret formula of course!)
The only person in Bikini Bottom whose ‘tiny brain and big heart’ makes him impervious to the jerktonium laced fruit cake is SpongeBob, but everyone else is corrupted by the element and needs to then be saved by SpongeBob, who counteracts the jerktonium with a magical song and the help of Sandy.
SpongeBob, therefore, ends up saving the citizens from getting knocked off the nice list. Plankton’s plot is exposed and Santa brings forth the well-earned punishment for Plankton, who deserves coal yet again this year! Meanwhile, the citizens of Bikini Bottom get their Christmas gifts that they earned every other day of the year.
This is number three for me because it’s sweet and I love the music. I’m not wild about the live-action, as I said before, I like when creators stick to their medium.
At least in this episode though, the format is consistent. I also think the storyline overall is really sweet, I love that SpongeBob is both the hero and the butt of the joke. In short, I highly recommend checking this one out!
Number 2 – Patchy the Pirate Presents: The SpongeBob Christmas Special
It’s hard to not love the first-ever Christmas episode from SpongeBob Squarepants. It has elements of A Christmas Carole, it has music, it has twists, it has everything!
Christmas is introduced to Bikini Bottom and SpongeBob in Season 2, Episode 8. Patchy the Pirate Presents: The SpongeBob Christmas Special. When SpongeBob goes to visit Sandy Cheeks and finds her decorating the tree-dome for Christmas, he needs to know more about this special holiday.
Sandy explains to SpongeBob what Christmas is, and who Santa Claus is. As to be expected, SpongeBob is over the moon about the holiday. He sets about bringing the holiday to Bikini Bottom by educating the citizens as Sandy educated him.
So the episode really is about getting hyped for Christmas, as SpongeBob brings that energy to everyone’s door. Of course, Santa nearly misses the town, which is new on his list.
But not to worry, Spongebob has melted the Scrooge figure, Squidward’s, inspiring Squidward to take on the role of Santa that year. (SpongeBob makes Squidward a music box shaped like a clarinet so that Squidward didn’t feel left out when Santa came.) Of course, Squidward only finds this out after taunting Spongebob because Santa hadn’t appeared.
So Squidward encompasses the true Christmas spirit in pretending to be Santa and literally emptying his home of items to give gifts to the citizens of Bikini Bottom. Of course, Squidward discovers later that Santa is in fact real, when he appears later, thanking Squidward for his help and leaving him a gift.
This is number two because I love the growth of Squidward. I also love that Christmas is brought to Bikini Bottom by SpongeBob’s enthusiasm, love, and innocence. That spirit affects Squidward so much that he goes out of his way to improve everyone’s lives by literally giving away all his earthly possessions. Not even Scrooge did that! I love this episode and demand you watch it every Christmas!
Number 1 – Plankton’s Old Chum
Plankton’s Old Chum, Season 12 Episode 11 isn’t technically a Christmas episode, but I’m going to count it because Christmas is a huge theme in it. The episode starts with Plankton, up to no good, as he tends to always be, in the process of trying to rid himself of his massive amounts of expired chum.
During this endeavor, he stumbles on SpongeBob and convinces him that the expired chum is not in fact expired chum but a new, fresh, chum, and is a gift for the whole town.
But if SpongeBob tastes the chum, he will know it’s expired, so Plankton tells him to wait until a special day, a holiday, a holiday Plankton makes up on the spot: Chum Day. Of course on Chum Day, you consume chum that is hidden somewhere in your home.
Plankton promises to tell Spongebob more of the traditions of Chum Day if he helps him hide the chum around the town in preparation for Chum Day.
SpongeBob and Plankton then become sort of Santa Clauses of chum, hiding the expired chum in the houses of the locals in Bikini Bottom. (Insert vomiting emoji.) All the while SpongeBob thinks he’s doing something kind, while Plankton is simply trying to rid himself of all his expired chum.
In all his innocence, SpongeBob jam packs Bikini Bottom with the chum until the sewers and houses explode with it, and the gross chum rains down on the town, flooding the town and ruining the homes.
Of course, the people of Bikini Bottom realize what Plankton has done and confront him, when SpongeBob interferes and sings a Chum Day song to the tune of the Christmas song Deck the Halls. He even makes himself a chum-based beard to pretend to be Santa Claus.
SpongeBob wholeheartedly believes this is an actual holiday, and that innocent feeling of love, giving, and acceptance next gets to the children of Bikini Bottom. Their love and innocence convince the adults that Chum Day is a holiday that should be honored, and it therefore is. In fact, it’s even declared a holiday by the Mayor of Bikini Bottom herself!
And in a true nod toward Christmas, Squidward reenacts the scene from A Christmas Carol when Scrooge emerges from his slumber to ask a boy on the street what day it is. Of course, Squidward hears back that it’s Chum Day, which he tells the boy is disgusting and slams his window. (Squidward is not so easily manipulated as the rest of Bikini Bottom.)
And despite Chum Day becoming a hit, Plankton still gets what’s coming to him, when the health department appears to discover who is responsible for the toxic mess in the town.
The inspector tells Plankton that he can either pay a hefty fine for the mess that needs to be removed or eat it all himself. Let’s just say Plankton does not pay the fine.
I’m rating this number one because it has all the elements we love about SpongeBob, with added heartwarming moments and classic but surprising humorous additions.
For example: the health inspector at the end, sent to punish whoever is responsible for the chum incident, is a classic SpongeBob last-minute addition, but it’s followed with one more scene of the sparkling, clean Bikini Bottom, and an obese, sick, Plankton, eating his final pieces of expired chum.
And SpongeBob’s purity and innocence both ruins Bikini Bottom and then brings it back together, which is classic SpongeBob. Elements like these take an episode from good to great.
What I love most about this episode is how the creators made something gross (chum) into something hilariously endearing and a little bit sweet. Should we all start celebrating Chum Day now?
FAQs About The Best SpongeBob Christmas Episodes
Answer: Yes they do! Christmas was introduced in season 2 by Ms. Sandy Cheeks herself, who brought the tradition from the above-the-water land (Texas) she comes from.
Answer: They sure do. SpongeBob has Halloween episodes, Valentine’s Day episodes, and April Fool’s Day episodes, there is even an Earth Day episode!
Final Thoughts on The Best SpongeBob Christmas Episodes
Even though SpongeBob doesn’t have a ton of Christmas-specific episodes, they do a wonderful job of integrating the Christmas spirit, themes, and winter season into Bikini Bottom over thirteen seasons. Choosing favorites isn’t easy for a fan like me, but sometimes cuts need be made!
I hope this article has inspired you to watch more SpongeBob, now and over the holidays. You can stream it on Paramount or purchase every season through Amazon Prime!