The Office's annual Christmas episode has become a staple of my holiday season, almost to the point where it doesn't quite feel like Christmas time until I see how Michael and the gang botch their office party. I think a large reason why these Christmas episodes work so well is that they're the perfect vehicle for the show's brand of comedy - a situation we can all relate to, turned awkwardly and absurdly onto its head, and then brought full circle to a sweet, funny, and relatable ending. "Secret Santa" is another great holiday treat, even if it takes some time to come into form.
The episode begins as a sort of mash-up of various threads. Erin is horrified by her Secret
Santa gift - a literal representation of the lyrics to Twelve Days of Christmas complete with hens, doves, swans, turtles, etc. - and Andy is too horrified to tell her he's responsible. Dwight has been receiving individual pieces of his Secret Santa present and is struggling to assemble them into something sensible (he thinks it's a gun). Oscar has a crush on the new warehouse guy. Finally, and most importantly, Jim has allowed Phyllis to act as Santa for this year's party (she says she has the right temperament and figure for the job), much to the detriment of Michael, who calls Phyllis "Tranny-Claus."
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