The Office: Last Christmas
by Haylee Fisher (@haylee_fisher)
As a longtime fan of The Office, I always look forward to the Christmas episode. Though nothing will beat season two’s Yankee Swap exchange where Jim gave Pam a blue teapot, Christmas episodes have consistently been highlights of their respective seasons. Last year was strange without Michael and his party shenanigans (who can forget him drawing on one of their Benihana waitresses so he could tell them apart?), and I was looking forward to seeing how this year would be handled without him as well.
At first it seemed like there wouldn’t be a Christmas party because Party Planning Committee Head Angela had been too caught up in her husband’s cheating scandal with Oscar to even remember to plan anything. That leads to a great exchange where the employees throw out different theme ideas, including Dwight’s traditional Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas. Angela hates the idea but Jim and Pam think it will be hilarious, and of course, they win out. And hilarious it is. Would you expect anything less from Dwight than wine that can be used to clean medical instruments and some type meat brick made from animal stomach lining? But no Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas would be complete without an appearance from Belsnickel, aka Santa, who has rolled around in dirt for fifty years. Jim calls him “Santa but dirty and worse,” and I think that’s the perfect description.
Belsnickel decides who has been “impish” and who has been “admirable” and those who have been admirable receive gifts like gaskets for canning jars, mousetraps and slingshots, and those who have been impish get whipped. No surprise there that Dwight–excuse me, Belsnickel–determines Oscar to be impish. Soon after, Jim realizes he needs to leave for Philadelphia for his first day of work at his new sports marketing agency. Dwight hits him for bailing and genuinely looks hurt that he’s leaving early, since all Jim wanted to do was get a good night’s sleep before his first day.
Jim and Pam have a sweet goodbye moment in the parking lot where Jim says this was the perfect last Christmas party. Foreshadowing? Do you think Jim will really leave Dunder-Mifflin at the end of the season and go to Philadelphia to work full-time?
Dwight notices Pam’s sadness and cancels the rest of the party. But lo and behold, Jim realizes there is nowhere he’d rather be than spending Christmas in Scranton instead of by himself in Philly and is even greeted with a hug from Dwight. He even tells Drunk Darryl he’s set up an interview for him with the agency. Aww!
Elsewhere, Pete learns Erin has never seen Die Hard and they decide to watch it after she gets an email from Andy saying he’ll be gone at least another two weeks. (As a side note, I’ve never seen Die Hard, either. Does that make me a bad nerd?) She ends up crying and Pete comforts her in a moment straight out of season two and the Jim-Pam-Roy triangle.
Speaking of romances, after taking up most of the day talking about the Scranton Strangler case with her, Nellie shushes Toby who asks if she’s going to kiss him. She does. Well, that came out of nowhere! Do you think it was a one-time thing or they will become the new office relationship?
Did this episode live up to previous Office Christmases? Will Belsnickel go down in Dunder-Mifflin party history? And when is Andy coming back – I mean, how many vacation days does he have?!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars