|The Office episode|
Michael dressed up as "classy" Santa
|Episode no.||Season 7
|Directed by||Rainn Wilson|
|Written by||Mindy Kaling|
|Original air date||December 9, 2010|
|Running time||44 minutes|
"Classy Christmas" is the eleventh and twelfth episodes of the seventh season of the American comedy television series The Office, and the show's 137th and 138th episodes overall. Written by Mindy Kaling and directed by Rainn Wilson, the episode originally aired on December 9, 2010 on NBC.
In the episode, Michael couldn't be happier when Toby takes a leave of absence, leaving corporate to send Holly Flax (Amy Ryan) to cover for him. Michael forces Pam to plan a second Christmas party on the day Holly returns to Scranton while Darryl convinces his daughter to attend the party in hopes of meeting Santa Claus. Jim agrees to a snowball fight with Dwight, which he later regrets.
Michael couldn't be happier when Toby takes a leave of absence to go on jury duty for the Scranton Strangler trial, leaving corporate to send Holly (Amy Ryan) to cover for him. Michael forces Pam to plan a second, classier Christmas party on the day Holly returns to Scranton. Michael welcomes Holly back with open arms, but becomes upset when she tells him that she and A.J. have settled in together. Holly then tells the women of the office that she's giving A.J. an ultimatum: that he either proposes by year's end or their relationship is over. Michael lies to Holly and tells her that he's seeing a woman named Tara from New York, and Holly shows curiosity, but Michael interprets this as potential jealousy.
When Michael gets further upset over hearing about Holly's relationship with A.J., he takes her toy Woody from Toy Story, a present from A.J., throws it in the trash, and pours his coffee on it. When Holly demands to know who did it, Michael comes forward and admits that he's upset that she didn't want to try a long distance relationship with him yet she's willing to try one with A.J. He also confesses that he planned the (second) Christmas party just for her and then goes back to his office, heartbroken. Holly tries to follow Michael and explain, but Erin prevents her because of Michael's hurt feelings. The rest of the staff (notably Erin and Kevin) look down on her. A.J. arrives in Scranton to surprise her, and Michael welcomes him politely even though he claims to be "dead inside". After cleaning Holly's Woody, he leaves the office and Pam follows him out, where he breaks down. Pam lifts his spirits when she mentions Holly's ultimatum, suggesting their relationship is not going to last very long. He returns to the party where he overhears Holly and A.J. talking about her dirty toy, with Holly fabricating a story to cover for Michael's actions. In addition, when A.J. asked why the office was acting so mean to them, Holly said that it was because of the whole Scranton Strangler incident, which made the office edgy.
Darryl is upset that his daughter Jada would rather spend Christmas with her mother than Darryl. Darryl says that she can sit on Santa's lap if she comes to the office party, but Michael had dressed as his own alternative, "classy" version of Santa to impress Holly. Pam and Andy try to find fun activities for Jada but Andy ends up ruining most of them. Darryl then takes her to the break room, where she is impressed with the snacks in the vending machines. They take out the snacks and hand them to employees. When she hands one to Michael, he decides to dress up as Santa again so she can tell him what she wants for Christmas as Holly looks on with admiration.
Pam says that Jim always gets her great Christmas gifts so she wants to give him one from her. She creates a hand-drawn comic book about Jim who gets attacked by a radioactive bear and takes its powers. She asks for others' opinions before giving it to Jim, but most of them give her pretty harsh critiques. Jim gives Pam a beautiful bracelet and he is equally amazed at the comic book she gives him.
Angela brings her new boyfriend, State Senator Robert Lipton, to the party. Oscar is immediately interested in him and identifies him as gay (but only in a talking-head interview). Later on, Oscar catches Robert casting a furtive glance at Ryan's butt, and looks at the camera knowingly.
Erin, continuing with the trend of seeing Michael as her father figure, is not impressed with Holly in person after Michael spoke so highly of her. She tells the cameras that she does not understand why Holly is considered attractive and angrily stands in Holly's way when Holly tries to chase after Michael following his breakdown.
Jim agrees to a snowball fight with Dwight after Dwight's dismissive comment about the "dusting" of snow leads Jim to peg him with a snowball. When he is first challenged outside, he eventually finds the doors chained and Dwight emerging from a snowman, throwing multiple snowballs at him and leaving him with a bloody nose. Jim is later caught off guard when Dwight disguises himself as Pam at her desk and hits him with another barrage of snowballs (Dwight reveals he has wigs to impersonate everyone in the office, including Meredith, Kevin and Stanley). Jim tries to get him back by hurling one at Dwight with a lacrosse stick, but ends up breaking a window, after which he is reprimanded by Michael and Holly with Dwight present. After getting tricked again by Dwight with a gift trap (Jim supposedly thought the gift was from Pam), he waves a white flag, but Dwight refuses his surrender unless Jim throws a snowball at Pam's face with Dwight watching, which Jim refuses to do. At the end of the day, Jim is too afraid to go outside, but Pam walks with him. They go out to find multiple snowmen, and Jim attacks them all hoping to find Dwight. Dwight, however, is on the roof of the building, claiming that the most powerful snowball in a snowball fight is fear, and smilingly wishes the camera "Merry Christmas" before the show ends.
The episode was written by co-executive producer Mindy Kaling, her eighteenth writing on the series. Rainn Wilson, who portrays Dwight Schrute on the series, directed the episode, his second directing credit of the series after the sixth-season episode "The Cover-Up". The episode is also the first of an upcoming eight episodes featuring Amy Ryan returning as Holly Flax who is credited among the main cast.
"Classy Christmas" received 3.7/10% in the ages 18–49 demographic in the Nielsen ratings. This means that 3.7 percent of all households with an 18- to 49-year-old living in it watched the episode, and ten percent had their televisions tuned to the channel at any point. The episode was watched by 7.18 million viewers, dropping in viewers from the previous week, although ratings were adjusted down for NBC due to NFL game local broadcasts in Indianapolis and Nashville.
This episode received mostly positive reviews. James Poniewozik of Time said, "'Classy Christmas' may not have been one of the show's most hilarious episodes ever, but it did recall the best era of the show, when it was able to deliver with storylines that were as much drama as comedy." He also said, "It was an initially good payment". TV Fanatic's Dan Forcella said that "Classy Christmas" was an enjoyable episode and "watching Jim suffer as Dwight jumped out of a snowman and pummeled him with snow ball after snow ball was absolutely hilarious." Despite this, he also said he wasn't as good as Season 2's "Christmas Party". IGN writer Matt Fowler named it the third best Christmas episode of the series calling it a "Good episode, with a sweet ending". Myles McNutt of The A.V. Club gave it a "B" grade, saying the episode "struggles greatly if you have no emotional connection to Holly and Michael. It isn't funny, by any real stretch of the term, nor is it really intended to be funny." He went on to say "I like episodes like this one in general and don't necessarily need the show to make me laugh, but I would say that I wanted this hour to be slightly more...pleasant."
- Rick Porter (July 15, 2010). "'The Office' Season 7: Holly's back ... in a big way". Zap2it. Retrieved July 16, 2010.
- Gorman, Bill (December 10, 2010). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'Bones,' 'Fringe,' 'Community,' '30 Rock,' 'Office,' 'Apprentice' Adjusted Down; 'Big Bang Theory,' 'Walters: Oprah' Up". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
- Poniewozik, James (December 12, 2010). "Office Watch: A Holly, If Not Jolly, Christmas". TIME. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
- "The Office Review: "Classy Christmas"". TV Fanatic. December 12, 2010. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
- Fowler, Matt (December 10, 2010). "The Office: Ranking the Christmas Episodes". IGN. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
- McNutt, Myles (December 10, 2010). "Classy Christmas". The A.V. Club. Retrieved December 14, 2010.