How I Met Your Mother: The 10 Best Holiday Episodes

How I Met Your Mother, the sitcom spanning 9 seasons, gave fans plenty of reasons for Christmas cheer. These are the 10 best holiday episodes.

How I Met Your Mother graced the world with nine seasons that featured over 20 incredible holiday episodes. While the beloved comedy chose to cover what Ted and the gang were up to on traditional holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, it also took on less covered celebrations like Saint Patrick’s Day and Super Bowl Monday.

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While we won't be able to take you through every single one, we're here for some of the highlights. Get ready to laugh because here are the 10 best holiday episodes of How I Met Your Mother.

10 Thanksgiving: Belly Full of Turkey S1E9

The inaugural Thanksgiving episode sees Lily and Marshall visiting his family in Minnesota for Thanksgiving. To make matters more complicated, Lily believes she might be pregnant with Marshall’s child, and watching how different his family is from her creates a reason to be concerned. They make that famous, disgusting salad with mayonnaise in it, so who can blame her? Meanwhile, Ted and Robin discover that Barney “volunteers” at a soup kitchen. Hint: It’s court-mandated.

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Did we mention that this is the first time it’s discussed that Robin is Canadian?

9  Saint Patrick’s Day: No Tomorrow S3E12


Ted nearly has a run in with the Future Mrs. Mosby during a St. Patrick’s Day party, and Lily and Marshall realize the horror of all horrors: their new apartment slopes downward.

While Ted is out with Barney, he finds that for every bad deed he does, the universe seems to reward him — but in the end, he discovers (thanks to all his pocket dials to Marshall) that he misremembered and was actually a miserable jerk all evening. Ted learns his lesson and goes back to grab his phone from the club the next day but, instead, walks home with an abandoned yellow umbrella in the rain. This umbrella happened to be Tracey McConnell’s and would eventually end up in her hands again before her first meeting with Ted.

8 Christmas: How Lily Stole Christmas S2E11

Remember those two seconds (okay, several months) that Lily and Marshall were broken up for in the second season? Lily finds an old message on an answering machine that Ted left for Marshall during the break-up, telling him to get over that “grinch.”

Although this is what Ted tells his kids, he clarifies that was he actually called her was a really, really bad word.

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The rest of the episode sees Lily letting loose her wrath on Ted, primarily by robbing the apartment of Christmas decorations. While all ends well in the end, it’s not the last time Ted censors out his activities when recounting the story of how he met their mother. Later episodes show the gang eating sandwiches (instead of smoking marijuana) and giving people thumbs-ups (instead of giving them the finger).

7 New Year’s Eve: The Limo S1E11

This early episode saw Ted attempting to get the gang through a string of New York City parties via limo before the clock struck midnight. And yes, this was the episode that featured Barney’s “Get Psyched” mix which had “You Give Love a Bad Name” blaring through the speakers at all the worst moments.

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Ted also invites someone into the limo who he thought was the electronica performer Moby (but turns out to be a crazy person with a gun), and Lily gets lost after stopping home to change her shoes. While the jokes were hilarious, the touching kiss Robin offers up to Ted at midnight (even after her boyfriend showed up late) makes this one of the greatest.

6 Halloween: Slutty Pumpkin S1E6

Ah, Ted — dressing up as a hanging chad yet again.

The “Slutty Pumpkin” tells the story of Ted hoping to reunite with a girl he met four years ago at a Halloween party by re-wearing the same Halloween costume. Her unforgettable pumpkin costume had holes cut… in strategic places.

Although he is unsuccessful (this changes in season 7), he still ends up scoring a long-awaited talk with Robin on the roof, as he reflects back on the night. This episode also marked the first time Marshall and Lily referred to each other as Marshmallow and Lilypad, the first time Barney was called “The Barnacle,” and the first time Barney did a magic trick.

5 Christmas: Symphony of Illumination S7E12

Pull out those tissues. One of the more poignant episodes of How I Met Your Mother saw Robin telling her future children about how she met their father. It's then revealed that she discovered she can’t have kids, so she lies to the gang about being upset over not being able to be an Olympic pole vaulter. While Robin never blurts out the truth to Ted, he tells her that no matter what it’s really about, he won’t ever stop trying to cheer her up.

It’s heartbreaking when it’s revealed that the kids she’s recounting this to are simply in her imagination, but it’s even more heartwarming when Ted refuses to quit standing by her side.

4 Valentine's Day: Desperation Day S6E16

The second of three Valentine’s Day-themed episodes saw Ted getting nervous about his first Valentine’s Day with Zoey, Robin celebrating her singleness, Lily heading to visit Marshall, and Barney — unsurprisingly — hitting on women without dates. Barney dubbed the holiday (and also the episode) “Desperation Day” stating that as Valentine’s Day approaches, women lower their standards.

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The episode also happens to be the first in which Lily references Marshpillow, a pillow she dresses up in Marshall’s clothing to keep her company when he’s not around.

3 Super Bowl Monday: Monday Night Football S2E14

“Monday Night Football” had the gang hilarious trying to avoid the results of the Super Bowl that year, as they were unable to watch it live due to a funeral taking place at the same time. Despite their desperate attempts to avoid the score (including Ted’s wearing of the Sensory Deprivator 5000 when he goes out to get chicken wings), they all end up getting it spoiled but decide to enjoy the game together anyway.

All of them except Barney later watch the Super Bowl together again in the Season 5 Valentine’s Day episode, Rabbit or Duck.

2 New Year's Eve: TailgateS7E13

This is the episode Ted and Barney finally decide to open up that bar called Puzzles — in their apartment, of course. The 149th entry into Barney’s Blog revealed that the bar’s motto was “Where we all fit together.”

Meanwhile, Marshall recounts his New Year’s Eve to his father by continuing their tailgating tradition at his graveside. Lily works through her difficult relationship with her father prior to having a child of her own, and Robin gets promoted to co-anchor with Sandy Rivers.

1 Thanksgiving: Slapsgiving S3E9

Slapsgiving - Best How I Met Your Mother Episodes

By the time How I Met Your Mother’s second Thanksgiving rolls around, Barney still has three slaps looming over his head, which Marshall previously won in the Season 2 episode “Slap Bet.” That — served up with a side of Robin and Ted’s uncomfortable post-breakup friendship — makes this one the perfect Thanksgiving meal.

Robin and Ted ultimately hash out how awkward things have been between them and go back to being friends, and Marshall slaps Barney so hard, it sends him across the room. Three cheers for Lily, the world’s best slap bet commissioner!

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