I really wish I were keeping some kind of track of “Frasier” episodes. I’m half-assing the watch-through. I wasn’t sure if this episode was the first “Frasier” Christmas or not, but it turns out its the first one where we get the Crane family having Christmas onscreen. And find out John Mahoney is a Christmas enthusiast of the whole home decorating variety, which Kelsey Grammer really doesn’t like.
He liked it as a kid, but eventually got to the age where the mom had to tell he and David Hyde Pierce “shut up or you’ll hurt [Mahoney's] feelings.” It’s a great bit; writer David Lloyd has numerous repeat anecdotes and sight gags and they’re always good.
There’s a fun radio station Christmas party where Dan Butler and Edward Hibbert try to prank Grammer on air for his annual original Christmas story, which I know we haven’t gotten before. This one is about Olaf the Lonely Goat Herd (I haven’t seen Frozen yet, is Olaf in Frozen a lonely goat herd?). It’s a really funny sequence. Great pace from director Philip Charles MacKenzie and Butler and Hibbert prove a fine team.
The main story has Grammer all of a sudden needing a Christmas gift for visiting son Luke Tarsitano, which leads to he and Hyde Pierce having to go out among the commoners to a shopping mall. Grammer and Hyde Pierce toy store shopping is an outstanding scene.
The conclusion involves Grammer and Mahoney having a nice, heartwarming scene without it drawing too much attention to their relationship being the show’s original concept. It’s a good Christmas episode.
Taristano’s iffy as the kid, though he gets off a good joke at Hyde Pierce’s expense.
Speaking of Hyde Pierce, he’s got a reliably funny subplot involving separated wife Maris cancelling his credit cards.
Oh, and the dog wears an elf costume. It’s obnoxiously adorable.