In a discussion of Christmas episodes, I felt that Lucky Star really had to come up. In many ways, this is the anti-Christmas special. Despite having the title “Various Ways to Spend Christmas Eve”, the first real mention of the holiday doesn’t come about until roughly 10 minutes into the episode. And, even then, the situations and dialogue tend to diverge wildly from the holiday. Conversations about why one always asks to wait “five more minutes”, to musings about report cards and people who ride the Uptown train pepper this installment, and the focus jumps from topic to topic in the series’s trademark spastic style.

Eventually, actual Christmas stuff does enter the episode’s focus, and the episode’s writing really begins to shine. Random soliloquies about Santa being a breaking-and-entering creep blend with hilariously dark moments, which include (but aren’t limited to) Tsukasa crushing Konata’s fantasy that Santa is real, or Kuroi-sensei’s lonely holiday that gets spent in MMOs, while she indulges in clearance Christmas Cake.

The episode isn’t all doom and gloom, though. Kagami and Tsukasa’s cutaway to Christmas traditions provide a few moments of a hilarious Engrish rendition of Joy to the World, and viewers do get a glimpse of Konata in a Santa suit. But, for the most part, it’s just another episode of Lucky Star. It’s a bit goofy, a bit mundane, and just dark enough to work. Still, I guess that’s why it stands out as a Christmas special. After all, it’s one of few that doesn’t go out of its way to drive the “Christmas” angle into the viewer’s skull.