A Holiday Episode for the Ages

This week’s episode of Abbott Elementary comes with good news and bad news. We’ll start with the good, because you’re going to want to hear it: This week’s saga follows the holiday season while the students gear up for winter break, which serves as the perfect way to get in the festive spirit. On the flip side, this holiday episode also means that Abbott Elementary will be entering its own winter break for the next month. We’ll miss you!

Nevertheless, Quinta Brunson and the rest of her Abbott family couldn’t end 2022 without blessing us with the best Christmas present of all. Not only do we get plenty of romance at a local hookah bar, but the team also participates in a Secret Santa gift exchange—one of my favorite moments in Abbott Elementary history. You thought joining your workplace’s Secret Santa was a fun idea? Just wait until you see what Ava’s (Janelle James) scheming for Abbott’s.

The gifts fly by, but the attention to detail is impeccable, as always. Janine gives janitor Mr. Johnson (William Stanford Davis) a lifelike bust of himself. Mr. Johnson buys Melissa (Lisa Ann Walter) a dozen Dallas Cowboy bobbleheads to destroy in whatever way she sees fit. And Ava assigned three people to herself, including Gregory (Tyler James Williams), who gifts her a $17 gift card to a local office supply store. Thanks?

The Secret Santa better rear its head in 2023’s holiday episode, a tradition I’d gladly watch every year to see the bonkers gifts from everyone in Abbott Elementary. Likewise, Abbott Elementary should continue the holiday tradition with a yearly Christmastime episode, because even after Secret Santa wraps, the good spirits only get better.

Janine opts to go to a hookah bar to celebrate winter break, and it’s nice to see our girl out on the town, hunting for a new man. But she doesn’t know how to attract guys, so she asks her friend how to prove that she’s thirsty: “Should I pant?”

Low and behold, a love interest is just around the corner. Gregory arrives, shocked to see his uptight, PG-rated coworker in a sequined bodycon dress. What a coincidence! How marvelous! Even though they’d previously believed they’d spend the end of the year away apart, they get one last dance—literally. Janine and Gregory spend the whole night grinding on each other, and nearly kiss. The slow burn is reaching a flame, finally.

Ava’s also at the hookah bar (apparently this is a popular spot) with her…boyfriend. Yes, she has one of those. Of course she’s been hiding him for years. When Ava spots Janine and Gregory dancing, she asks the bartender for “something cheap,” to use for doing a spit take. “My work nemesis grinding on my work husband?” she shouts, vodka hawking out of her mouth.

Meanwhile, back at Abbott Melissa and Barbara (Sheryl Lee Ralph) take part in their annual holiday dinner. And, because he gifted Barbara a poinsettia for the occasion, Jacob (Chris Perfetti) gets to attend too—only, he ruins the cheer with brutal stories of Christmas past. But if anyone can set him on the right track toward enjoying the holidays, it’s Barbara and Melissa with two bottles of red wine.

Though the students were absent from this week’s episode, it’s always fun to get a peek into the private lives of our favorite adult Abbott Elementary crew. We need to see next year’s edition of Barbara and Melissa’s dinner! Let Sheryl Lee Ralph wear another bedazzled red sweater! And, above all, give us more romance between Gregory and Janine in next year’s (hopefully) annual Abbott Elementary holiday episode.

Abbott Elementary is now on winter break, returning Jan. 4 to start the back-half of its second season.

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