<p>Belsnickel makes Santa <em>obsolete. </em>All hail Belsnickel!</p>

Belsnickel makes Santa obsolete. All hail Belsnickel!

Holiday episodes of The Office have given us some of the finest moments in the show’s history, from Michael Scott purchasing an iPod for Ryan and wreaking havoc on a game of Secret Santa, to the reveal of Dwight and Angela’s affair, to Angela singing Christmas-themed karaoke. And in this week’s episode, we’re given the Christmas gift of seeing Dwight dress up as Belsnickel, the Pennsylvania Dutch (and dark and erotic) version of Santa. And it is amazing.

The episode begins with Erin realizing the Christmas party was scheduled for that day, even though no preparations have been made. This probably has something to do with Angela, who is the head of the party planning committee, discovering her husband was having an affair with none other than Oscar. The workers of Dunder Mifflin refuse to be denied their Christmas party, so ideas are thrown around for a potential party (tropical Christmas, topless Christmas, tapas and Swiss Miss Christmas) and it’s decided that the theme will be none other than Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas, proposed by none other than Dwight.

Jim, with Pam’s enthusiastic help, pushes hard for Dwight’s Christmas as a final bit of enjoyment before he anxiously goes off to Philadelphia for his first day of work. Although Halpert has been waiting for this moment to finally happen, he seems quite shaken up to be working anywhere other than Scranton’s Dunder Mifflin. So, for his final gift before he departs, he’s given Dwight Christmas.

Dwight Christmas does not disappoint, at least for the Halperts. The office is given gifts of wine that tastes like lava (and a spoon that helped give birth to Dwight), a meat loaf that’s made out of a pig’s stomach and Dwight reading a German poem by candle light. Probably one of the best moments of The Office is seeing Dwight dresses up as the fictional Belsnickel in a dirty fur coat and hat, in a role that he was born to play. We also get a glimpse of a warehouse worker dressed in blackface and colorful pantaloons.

Rivaling season two’s game of Secret Santa is Belsnickel’s game of judging if the office employees have been “admirable” or “impish” this year (not naughty or nice). Oscar is impish and receives a whipping, while Pam, Stanley, and Phyllis are admirable and receive gifts such as little mason jars and a mousetrap (for the young ones!). But when Jim has to leave early, he gets viciously whipped for being impish. Jim departs, and Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas is called off.

Phyllis saves the day by arranging an impromptu holiday party to replace Dwight’s Christmas. But Pam is depressed by Jim’s departure, and surprisingly, so is Dwight (maybe it has to do with his brother Jeb abandoning the Schrute family for Christmas in recent years?). But no fear! Halpert makes his triumphant return and receives a large hug from Dwight. The break the pig rib and pig goo splatters all over the employees of Dunder Mifflin.

It’s nice to see some camaraderie amongst these two after so many years of rivalry. The drama isn’t over, though: Daryl has been chugging glow wine after getting frustrated with Jim failing to bring up his own employment at the sports marketing firm. After getting wasted and running to confront Jim upon his arrival, he learns that he’s going to be brought in by the company for the interview. Daryl gets excited, does a little twirl, and ends up destroying the table of food. “Very impish,” Dwight remarks. Very impish indeed.

The episode’s B-plot involves the growing Pete and Erin romance and Die Hard. Pete claims he can recite all of Die Hard, and tries to perform it for the oblivious Erin. But when Erin receives a disappointing email from Andy saying he won’t be coming home for a few weeks after seeing Life of Pi and getting depressed, she makes a move by inviting him to watch Die Hard with her. After she gets upset, he places his arm around her – she’s still Andy’s girlfriend but lets the arm stay regardless.

The episode ends on a twist: after listening to Toby’s Scranton Strangler story all day, Nellie attempts to distract him from his monologue with a kiss. The end up making out against the refrigerator. New/random romance alert?


--Best Dwight Line: “What is that I hear? Someone on the roof? How strange, excuse me I have to run to my car to take a dump.”

--“Guess what kids? Belsnickel isn’t real! It’s me! Dwight!”

--Best Jim Face: Jim’s undeniable smile while Dwight recites the German poem is adorable.

--Throwback: Remember the “Christmas Party” episode of Season 2, when Jim makes Pam the personalized teapot and has to spend the entire party getting it back to her after Dwight takes it? Look how far you’ve come, Halperts!