The 1 Reason ‘Breaking Bad’ Doesn’t Have a Christmas Episode

Walter White goes through many experiences during his transformation from high school chemistry teacher to drug dealer criminal mastermind. The absolute character transformation on Breaking Bad helped make it one of the most beloved television dramas in history.

But one thing that the Emmy award-winning series is missing is any mention of Christmas, or any holidays for that matter. Here’s why Walter White and Jesse Pinkman never put on ugly sweaters and Santa hats to have a holiday party.

‘Breaking Bad’ covered 2 years of time in 5 seasons

Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad cast | AMC

The easiest way to keep up with the Breaking Bad timeline is by following the one milestone the series did commemorate: Walter White’s birthday. That coupled with other references and context clues is enough to determine that Breaking Bad occurred over two years, from 2008 through 2010. The series ran from 2008 until 2013.

Another way to gauge the passage of time is the cast’s youngest member. At the beginning of the show, Walt’s wife Skyler is pregnant when he gets diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. By the series finale 5 seasons later, that baby Holly is almost two years old.  

The show turned Mr. Chips into Scarface, Vince Gilligan said

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Though not overtly stated, the biggest reason Breaking Bad writers skipped a Christmas or holiday episode was they didn’t need one. While many sitcoms relied on holiday episodes to hype up audiences or drive the narrative forward, Breaking Bad always had a clear direction and plenty of ground to cover without the added distraction holiday celebrations could cause.

Showrunner Vince Gilligan once described his vision for Breaking Bad as transforming Walter White “from Mr. Chips to Scarface.” He did that by showing how power can corrupt a person no matter how pure their intentions.

By the end of Breaking Bad, Walt finally admits to his estranged wife Skyler that he did it for himself, not for his family.

Holiday episodes can create confusion with timing

Certain show writers don’t pay much attention to chronological inconsistencies and hope their fans don’t either. But Breaking Bad thrives on subtle details that all add up to explore a greater truth. Because of this close attention to detail, there’s no way writers would throw in holidays that don’t make sense in the timeline.

While Walt’s birthday serves as an important marker of time, a misplaced Christmas celebration could create confusion over how much time passed from one even to the next. And since Breaking Bad fans know to look for little clues along the way, there was no way Gilligan and his team could just add a holiday into the storyline without careful consideration.

The Christmas issue never came up anyway

Christmas was easy enough to avoid thanks to the setting.

With Albuquerque keeping a warmer temperature during the winter months, there weren’t any snowstorms to explain. They didn’t need Christmas if it never looked like it might be Christmastime.

Ultimately, Breaking Bad was filled with drama, intrigue, mystery, surprises, suspense, laughs, and heartbreak. And it didn’t need tinsel or mistletoe to achieve any of it.