‘The Office’: 1 Christmas Episode Required ‘100 Tons of Chipped Ice’

Though there are 201 episodes of The Office for viewers to enjoy, fans are constantly revisiting the Christmas episodes. These episodes are particularly humorous and typically feature some very dynamic group scenes. But there’s a lot of logistics that the crew of the NBC comedy had to consider when filming the episodes. Creating an environment that reflected winter weather certainly proved to be difficult at times.

The Office cast poses for one of their Christmas episodes
‘The Office’ cast: John Krasinsky, Jenna Fischer, Rainn Wilson, Steve Carell, and B.J. Novak | Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank

While The Office is based in Scranton, Pennsylvania it was actually filmed in various parts of Southern California. Thus, the temperature never actually dipped low enough to support snow or true winter weather. Furthermore, the cast and crew had to film the Christmas episodes before the holiday season. This meant that they were occasionally dealing with extreme heat even while filming some of the winter episodes.

Why were the ‘Classy Christmas’ episodes of ‘The Office’ so challenging to film?

Though the “Classy Christmas” episodes were actually filmed in November, The Office cast and crew still had to contend with some high heat. But the weather was hardly the only tricky thing that the crew had to handle in order to make the episodes a success. For example, fans will recall that Dwight built an army of snowmen in order to terrorize Jim. In an interview with Office Tally, Mindy Kaling (who wrote the episode) revealed that the snowman took an entire day to build.

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But why were the snowmen such an arduous task for The Office crew? In addition to there being tons of snowmen, they were incredibly tricky to maintain. Throughout the day, the crew had to ensure that the snowmen sustained their shape for the duration of the episodes. Furthermore, since the crew didn’t have access to real snow, they had to create the snowmen out of ice.

The episodes required 100 tons of chipped ice

“We created the snow effects out of 100 tons of chipped ice,” The Office producer Randy Cordray shared. “Our special effects team built metal molds and hand-packed the dozens of snowmen needed for the day. And, of course, we shot these scenes on one of the hottest days of the fall. It was in the high-90’s and blindingly sunny that day, so the entire crew was outfitted with UV-protectant sunglasses since snow-blindness was a real possibility.”

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‘The Office’ cast and crew faced extreme heat while filming

The conditions were so intense that the cast and crew were kept under close watch. “Our set medic monitored the working crew all day to make sure they were well-hydrated and slathered in sunscreen,” The Office producer revealed. “The actors, wearing heavy winter clothes, were kept indoors in an air-conditioned holding area until moments before each shot.”

Clearly, working on a hit TV show isn’t always a glamorous experience. Certainly, the “Classy Christmas” episodes took a lot of hard work to make. But fans of The Office certainly seem to appreciate the effort.

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