'That '70s Show': How Many Christmas Episodes Are There, and in What Years Do They Take Place?
The hit comedy That ’70s Show aired for eight seasons, from 1998 through 2006. However, as the name suggests, the show takes place in the 1970s.
But because it begins in 1976, the series (especially the later seasons) operate on a strange floating timeline. These are the That ’70s Show Christmas episode and the years they (supposedly) occur in.
‘The Best Christmas Ever’
The series kicks off in the spring of 1976. By Season 1, Episode 12, it’s Christmas 1976. In the episode, Eric decides to throw his own Christmas party in the basement while his parents have their own upstairs. Laurie spikes the punch, and Jackie and her friends get drunk.
Additionally, Kelso has to go to Bob’s store to buy Jackie’s gift from Red (who’s stuck working Christmas Eve). The cops come to take back the tree Eric cut down to save money for the party. And Eric and Hyde try to win Donna over with presents, but it’s clear who she likes more.
‘Hyde’s Christmas Rager’
Time progresses a bit slower in seasons 2 and 3. All of the second season takes place in 1977, so there’s no Christmas episode. In season 3, episode 9, “Hyde’s Christmas Rager,” Hyde, living with Bud, throws a holiday keg party at the apartment. Eric gets super drunk, and they take him home.
Meanwhile, Jackie and Donna go out because Jackie doesn’t want to be alone for Christmas. But the fireman she flirts with once dated her mom. Red and Kitty invite Bud to come over and lecture him on his parenting. Bud goes back and shuts the party down. Red teaches Eric a lesson.
‘An Eric Forman Christmas’
That ’70s Show Season 4, Episode 12 takes place in 1978. Eric is depressed, so Kitty recruits him to direct the church Christmas pageant. He brings the whole group into it, but no one cooperates with his vision. After Pastor Dave catches him smoking marijuana, he fires him.
The others take Pastor Dave hostage, and Leo tells them they need to apologize to Eric. Michael wants to watch the animated Christmas specials on TV, but everyone makes fun of him. At home, Red steals Bob’s excessive decorations but eventually comes around.
Here’s where things get a little confusing. By the later seasons, it was getting too close to the ’80s, so the writers had to rely on more than the floating timeline. So in Season 6, Episode 7, it’s once again Christmas 1978. But now everyone but Jackie has graduated. They all go to the Christmas dance with her to help her get back on the cheerleading squad.
There’s no explanation as to why it’s still 1978, yet everything’s different. Donna is working at the radio station, and Kelso’s about to be a dad. The guys realize they’re cooler now that they’ve graduated. Meanwhile, Red and Kitty work at the mall as Santa and Mrs. Claus. The next episode is in 1979.
The timeline stays on track. Episode 11, “Winter,” takes place in 1979. Kelso finds toys for the toy drive at the police station, and the guys blow off everything to play with them. Jackie is annoyed that Hyde won’t grow up.
Meanwhile, Kitty has her official Christmas party duties taken away, and Red has to help her. The guys eventually come around and deliver the presents, saving Kitty’s reputation. But Jackie and Hyde remain on the outs.
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