Dec. 20 – Family Guy “A Very Special Family Guy Freakin’ Christmas”

Original Air Date: December 21, 2001
Seth MacFarlane rips off the Simpsons every day with his shows. Why not do a Christmas episode as well?
Almost everyone has heard of Family Guy. In 1999 Seth MacFarlane started a show on Fox inspired by growing up watching The Simpsons. It was fairly popular but in 2001 after its third season (and after this episode) Fox decided to cancel the show.
Fortunately for us, though, Adult Swim began airing the show, which helped the then fledgling network to establish itself. In 2004 Family Guy returned and has been running ever since. This is the first of two Family Guy Christmas specials. The show also allowed Seth MacFarlane to expand to other shows like AmericanDad and The Cleveland Show.
Alright so I recognize that a lot of you may have already seen this as it is one of the earlier episodes of the show but it’s one of my favorite Family Guy episodes and I would be remiss if I didn’t give it its time to shine. So let’s get to it!

It’s Christmas time in Quahog

Lois and the kids are at the annual Quahog Christmas tree lighting ceremony, which is being chaired by the family’s neighbor Cleveland Brown.

Chris hands Stewie a candy cane…

Which he immediately carves into a shiv

Cleveland gives a brief introduction and thanks the local senior center for helping to light this year’s Christmas tree. Lois directs Stewie’s attention to the manger scene where the annual Christmas Pageant will be held. It seems sweet, darling Stewie is going to be playing the role of Baby Jesus. Stewie responds, as expected, with violence.

 Blasted woman!

Lois then takes the candy cane away from Stewie telling him he can’t have any sweets before dinner. Who cares that he just tried to murder her (again). Lois explains why the tree is important and how it reminds her of all the joy of the Christmas season. It’s because she seems to be the only one who really understands what Christmas is all about that we just KNOW she’s gonna lose all faith in the holiday before the episode is over.

The Quahog Christmas tree with some weird grey guy near the middle

We then go back to the nativity scene…

Now you see it…

Just in time to see Peter plow through it with the family station wagon.

Now you don’t

Our next scene takes us to the Griffin residence on Spooner Street and we get a chance to see the house with all of its Christmas cheer and we see the family gathered around the TV.

Your standard Christmas Special home

Lois reminds Peter that even though it is the day before Christmas Eve he still hasn’t gotten them a tree. Peter asks Brian to tape the show they are watching, but Brian reminds him that the VCR hasn’t worked since he tried to tape Monday Night football. We then see the first of our classic Family Guy cutaway gags. This one showing Peter trying to tape football only to be thwarted by the FBI.


With the commercial break and Lois’ promise of a new VCR, Peter finally caves and runs out in front of the house and to hunt down a tree.

Viola! A tree!

Sadly though for Peter he can’t go back to watching TV because he and Lois are expected at Joe and Bonnie Swanson’s house.

Peter tries to get out of it by offering to kill Lois’ mother

How did Joe get the lights on the roof?

Peter, Lois, Joe, and Bonnie all gather around for some eggnog. Joe is really down and Bonnie explains that is because Joe had his accident (the one which crippled him) on Christmas.

Joe recreates a common interaction for him using gingerbread men

Fortunately, at this time the tension is broken up by the appearance of Peter’s other two neighbors, Quagmire and Cleveland. 

Do they know they’re standing under mistletoe?

Lois convinces Peter to take Joe along with the guys for their yuletide shenanigans. As they are leaving Lois reminds Peter to take one of the presents in the car to Toys For Toddlers, a local charity. Peter sort of listens but is more concerned with joining in the festivities and calls for a beer, which Joe promptly denies him.

“But I neeeeeed it!”

The rest of the Griffin family is left to decorate the tree. Lois comes in to take Stewie to bed and is rewarded with another threat (for the second time thus far). Lois tells Stewie he should be nice instead of naughty because Santa is always watching, a fact that gets him thinking.

Stewie believes he has found one of Santa’s cameras

We now catch up with the boys as they are driving around town singing and having a merry time, all except for Peter. While the guys are carrying on and drinking, Peter is stuck as the designated driver. After being teased and watching his friends make fools of themselves (something he would normally be drunkenly taking part in) Peter tells the guys he has to get going so he can drop off the toys at Toys For Toddlers. Back at the house, Stewie is rummaging through some presents. In the background we hear a voice and Stewie turns to see none other than Santa Claus! He pulls out a gun and starts firing rapidly.

Keep firing Stewie!

This is one of the early Family Guy Star Wars references they would make prior to their three Star Wars Specials. In this case they are referencing the scene in Empire Strikes Back where Han and Leia walk into the dining room on Bespin and see Darth Vader. Han starts firing at Vader only to have his shots deflected and his blaster removed from his grip by Vader. In this case Santa is obviously Vader and Stewie is Han.

Of COURSE Santa is a Sith Lord

Santa then places Stewie in a sack and brings him back to the North Pole where Stewie becomes Santa’s Most Special Little Helper.

I bet that hurt

Ah, but it was all just a dream. WHAT A TWIST.

It’s all in your head…

It is now Christmas Eve. Lois thanks Peter for allowing Joe to play with him and the guys. He wanders into the living room and she asks him to bring the rest of the presents in from the car. Peter flops down and the couch and Brian asks if he is going to go do it. Peter responds by saying that he already took care of the presents by dropping them off at Toys For Toddlers. ALL OF THE PRESENTS. This starts an argument between Peter and Brian about the definition of for and from because Peter thought that the presents were labeled as from the family.

Oh shiiiiiiii

This realization triggers leads Peter to try and get back the presents he accidentally gave to the charity. We find Peter and Brian at a local trailer park trying to form a plan.

You see kids, you’re too gross to have nice things

Needless to say, Lois is displeased.

Lois if you strike me down I will become more powerful then you can possibly imagine”

And for those of you keeping track at home, yes that is Star Wars reference number two for this episode. Obi-Wan Kenobi, New Hope yeah, yeah, you guys know. Lois does cool down a little though because even though Peter screwed up it did bring some happiness to the less fortunate (Read: Those filthy trailer trash monsters). Seizing the opportunity, Peter asks if he can drink some beer and watch KISS Saves Santa.

Yup, KISS is gonna save Santa

Lois though buts a bit of kibosh on the whole thing so they can go to the mall to re-purchase all the Christmas presents. She decides they need to split up to get the list done faster. She and Peter split the list between them and she sends the kids to go take Stewie to go see Santa.

The great and powerful Santa Claus

Peter walks through the mall looking for presents and he comes across a TV store where he watches a moment of KISS Saves Santa.

A slight twist on a Christmas Special cliché

Then suddenly the TV turns off as the salesman hands it to a customer. Peter expresses his frustration but the salesman reminds him that it will be on next year. We return to Brian as the timer goes off on the turkey. As he gets up to go to the kitchen a spark flies off the fire and lands on the carpet!

The living room is ablaze!

Brian turns back around the corner for a fire extinguisher, but has less than positive results.

Dammit Peter!

Back at the mall… Stewie has reached the front of the line to meet Santa and is now sitting on his lap telling him what he wants for Christmas: Plutonium. What little boy doesn’t want plutonium?

You hear me, Fat Man?

Santa asks him if he can be a good boy and, of course, Stewie agrees to be good in exchange for the dangerous substance. Meanwhile, Brian is finally able to locate a real fire extinguisher to help but it sends him flying all over the room spraying foam everywhere.

Steady, Brian

Peter has found one of the gifts on his list, a set of barrettes for Meg. However, someone else is spying that fine piece of jewelry. A feisty old grandma has her eyes on them too. Peter licks them to try and convince her to not want them. This has no effect on the old demon and it leads to a chase scene through the mall, culminating in Peter being attacked by fish. Because why not?

She’s old. How quick can she be?

Returning to the house, we see Brian picking himself up after putting out the fire in the living room when he remembers the turkey. He runs into the kitchen to put out that fire, but the fire extinguisher is all out of foam.

Well… shit

The family now is on their way home from the mall. Lois talks about how they’re following the star on top of the town Christmas tree home.


Lois’ analogy cues the second cutaway gag of the episode. This one is of the three wise men as they are walking across the desert following the star in the west. We see the wise men arguing over the presents they got for the baby Jesus.

Dick move, bro

Two of them are pissed the third guy got gold and bitch about how he exceeded their agreed upon $5 limit. Eventually they agree to just give all three gifts as a group and not from each one individually. The family arrives home to find it destroyed. The turkey is smoldering in the oven, Brian is blowing on his burned up hands, and worst of all the TV is smashed!

Joy is dead

Peter and Brian begin yelling at each other. Peter is yelling at Brian for ruining the TV. Brian is yelling at him for buying a novelty fire extinguisher. Eventually Lois comes between the two of them and gathers everyone together to work on cleaning up the house. She asks Meg to go to the cabinet to get her some paper towels but then Meg tells her there are no paper towels, and things take a drastic turn for the worse.

No Paper Towels?!?!

Lois is fed up with it! She throws the turkey across the room before ripping into Peter and everyone else about all the stresses of the holiday season before storming out of the house, bound and determined to kill everyone else’s Christmas spirit. Remember how she was so cheery and full of Christmas spirit she was earlier? Yeah, not so much anymore.


The family stands flabbergasted in the living room as Lois destroys some of our favorite Christmas memories.

George in “It’s A Wonderful Life”

Lois pushes him off the bridge

Lois comes across the Frosty the Snowman. He wishes her a Merry Christmas, which turns out to not be such a good move on his part.

Frosty and the kids

One of these kids is a sociopath

Lois then sees the Quahog Christmas tree and is filled with a manic need to see it in ruin.

Sometimes you just want to destroy something beautiful

We return to the family to see them licking their wounds after Lois’ outburst. Stewie enters and is excited and ready for the Christmas pageant. He realized that in order to get want he wants from Santa he must play along and be nice.

Stewie makes a shitty baby Jesus

Chris asks where Lois might be. Peter then mentions that he placed a homing beacon in Lois’ skull for just this reason. However, he also put them in a bunch of squirrels.

Well that’s not very useful Peter

Luckily, Lois is at the pageant they need to bring Stewie to. They find her scaling the town tree to try and kill the star.

Lois goes full King Kong

Joe is there with his cop friends to get Lois down with a tranquilizer gun.

Ahhh, the holidays

Peter convinces Joe to let them go ahead with the pageant, hoping it might put some of the Christmas spirit back into Lois. The opening scene shows Bonnie portraying the virgin Mary in the stable about to give birth to the baby Jesus.

Definitely not a virgin

The she pulls Stewie out from under the blanket. Stewie gives a long speech about the joy of Christmas and explains that we act nice around this time of the year because we are being watched by the omnipresent Santa.

Stewie knows all

Lois sees this and is touched, but Peter tells the cops to take the shot anyway. So much for learning lessons. Now she’ll just be in a tranquilizer-induced sleep for the rest of the episode.

“I’m gonna hang her head over my fireplace”

We return to the Griffin house and see the family opening their gifts, except for Lois who is unconscious in the corner. 

They’ll get around to fixing the house eventually

Stewie opens the last of his presents and is dismayed at the Hungry, Hungry Hippos he has received but then Chris hands him one last present.

Seriously, who gives babies plutonium?

This last present solidifies Stewie’s belief in Santa. Brian asks Peter if he got everything he wanted for Christmas. Peter answers in the positive and produces a copy of KISS Saves Santa and we watch the final scene of the movie.

KISS saved the day!

Jesus is referenced quite a few time throughout the episode. Stewie portrays him in the Christmas pageant, and Peter talks about zombie Jesus in his introduction to the pageant. It’s all fairly surface though and not deeply religious. Santa is all over this episode. He’s at the mall. He’s in Stewie’s dreams. He’s on TV. Plenty of Big Red to go around. Not too many people really learn anything or have any revelations about the “true meaning of Christmas” in this special. Lois sort of does before she’s tranquilized. Stewie just learns pretending to be on his best behavior will get him presents (in the form of dangerous radioactive chemical elements). Everyone else just kind of goes with the flow. That said, Christmas is definitely all up in this bitch. While no one really gets into the the spirit, the thought is there.

PRODUCT INFORMATION (Shop Amazon through us and support the site!)

You can find A Very Special Family Guy Freakin’ Christmas on its own OR you can grab all of Family Guy: Volume 2. We also recommend checking out Family Guy: Volume One if you lived under a rock or have not heard of TV until today.









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