Chicago Fire may not go as hard on the holiday theme as, say, NCIS, but the firefighting drama does have a surprising number of strong Christmas episodes. The show dropped one into its first season, and another in season 3, but the one we recommend watching this year was actually released during season 10.
It's an episode that has some gnarly, Christmas-themed imagery, which is always a plus, but it also contains character dynamics that have become surprisingly relevant in the wake of the season 11 finale, and the impending season 12 premiere. The episode is called "Winterfest."
"Winterfest" is a classic Chicago Fire Christmas episode
"Winterfest" is perhaps best remembered for the the emergency call that the 51 one gets in which a civilian gets impaled with a Christmas tree during a public event. It's a pretty brutal injury by the show standards, but Mouch (Christian Stolte) is able to maintain his cool and help the civilian out.
(Come to think of it, seeing Mouch in action is a nice holiday reprieve from the fact that he's fighting for his life in a hospital bed in the current day. Fingers crossed the veteran firefighter pulls through.)
The other aspect of "Winterfest" that makes it perfect One Chicago viewing for the holidays is the emphasis on Stella Kidd (Miranda Rae Mayo) and Kelly Severide (Taylor Kinney). This is the episode in which Kidd returns to Chicago after months away, and Severide is understandably conflicted on how he should feel.
The episode sets up the current Stellaride relationship drama
He's thrilled to have his fiance back, but hurt that she didn't keep in touch or provide updates on when she would back. Obviously, the couple are able to work things out, and they get married in the season 10 finale, but this dynamic has taken on renewed relevance because the roles have basically reversed heading into season 12.
Now Severide is the one on the road, and the one who is doing a terrible job of providing updates on when he'll be back. Kidd is the one who's excited to see her partner again, but is simultaneously upset by the fact that she's been left out of his decision-making process.
"Winterfest" is the ideal Chicago Fire episode to watch heading into 2024 because it harkens back to an earlier time on the show, but it also contains threads and character motivations that are still being addressed today. It's the best of both worlds, and it has a Christmas tree impalement.
What more could you want for Christmas?