The holiday season is almost here, and while everyone has their own traditions, it can be nice to add a few each year – and where better to get inspiration than from favorite sitcoms? The Big Bang Theory has a whole host of holiday episodes to borrow from, starting with ‘The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis’ in season 2, all the way to ‘The Holiday Summation’ in season 10.
For the most part, the TBBT gang have Christmas celebrations like anyone else – family comes to town, Christmas trees are decorated, cookies are baked and gifts are given. But there are some traditions that are very specific to Penny, Leonard, Sheldon, and their friends, and these are some of the best to make part of any holiday season.
Put Up A Fake Fireplace
In ‘The Santa Simulation’, Leonard puts up a cardboard fireplace to create a little extra festive cheer (and have somewhere to hang stockings) – and this is a great idea for people who want that special winter-log-fire feeling… but who don’t live somewhere with a real fireplace. Go the extra mile and put a screen inside (laptop, tablet, or otherwise) playing one of the streamable log fires, and pretend that it’s the real deal.
Buy A Few Extra Gifts…
In ‘The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis’, Sheldon is miserable when he learns that Penny has got him a gift – as he sees it, this is an obligation, and a minefield of guessing the value that someone might assign to their relationship. At the mall, he is struggling to guess which ‘level’ of gift basket (of bath goodies) would be appropriate, and comes up with a plan to buy multiple sizes, and then give her one after he’s opened her gift to him. This is actually a great idea, as stocking up on a few extra gifts means never being left without a way to reciprocate a surprise present (although it’s unnecessary to go quite as overboard as Sheldon!).
… But Remember It’s The Thought That Counts
This may be less of a ‘tradition’ in the technical sense, but it’s a great lesson. Sheldon becomes so worried about the value of the gifts matching up that he is totally stymied when Penny gives him a napkin used and signed by Leonard Nimoy. It’s a perfect reminder that the price of a gift isn’t what’s important, it’s how special it will be to the recipient.
Play Christmas Themed Tabletop Games
In ‘The Santa Simulation’, the guys play a Christmas-themed game of Dungeons and Dragons – and have an amazing time! While D&D might not be for everyone, the idea of holiday-themed games is a great one.
This is the perfect way to get people together to do something festive, fun, and a little bit different. If there’s a Dungeon Master in the social circle who can create a holiday world like Leonard did, so much the better, but any holiday twist on a family-favorite game is a wonderful idea.
Recognize Old Traditions And Sir Issac Newton
In ‘The Maternal Congruence’, Sheldon offers up a Sir Issac Newton ornament (as Newton was born on Christmas day), while Leonard connects with his mother. And in ‘The Bath Item Gift Hypothesis’, he teaches Penny about Saturnalia and the pagan roots of Christmas traditions. While Sheldon might not have the most interesting way of explaining it, it’s a wonderful idea to look at famous figures and historical roots related to favorite Christmas traditions. Happy Newtonmas, everyone!
A Tree Decorating Party
This is a bit more common, but it’s still a wonderful inclusion. In ‘The Cooper Extraction’, the gang have a tree-decorating party, and get together for a little festive fun. This is a great way to start the holiday season (although this year, the party may have to be virtual), and to make decorating the home more of an event. This scene is also a nice reminder that while it can be easy to get caught up in making things look perfect, it’s ok to throw out some of the rules, and put Star Wars and Star Trek ornaments next to each other.
Go Out For Champagne
This may be a little tricky in 2020, but borrowing Penny, Bernadette, and Amy’s ‘girl’s night’ idea is a great holiday idea. The three get dressed up, go out to a nice place, and order champagne (which makes everything feel a bit more sparkly).
When the cold weather creeps in, it can be nice to have a reason to go out – and just like in TBBT, remember that the ‘girls’ part of ‘girl’s night’ isn’t a requirement – as Raj comes along with them, too.
In ‘The Cooper Extraction’, there’s a short scene of Penny and Amy enjoying a little virtual skiing, thanks to the Wii. Of course, now there is a surprisingly wide range of skiing games, especially for those with VR systems. Rather than the expense and travel of a ski resort, try a little on-screen skiing instead – less dangerous, and the apres-ski can happen in the living room!
Go Get A Real Tree
‘The Holiday Summation’ is mostly about catching up with the holiday just gone by, and while some stories don’t seem too festive, Penny and Leonard tell the story of going to get a real Christmas Tree. For those who have previously not bothered with a tree, or picked one up in a parking lot, going somewhere to cut one down in person can make the whole thing so much more festive. Just don’t do what Leonard and Penny did, and refuse any help with it!
Wear A Santa Hat
This final tradition is a simple one, but oh so festive. In most of the holiday episodes, Penny is seen wearing a Santa hat (or, in one, reindeer ears). Putting on some Christmas headwear is a fun way to get a little bit more festive without having to really put in any effort at all – and it doesn’t require anything more than buying a cute hat!