Happy Days (1974–1984)
2 user 1 critic

Guess Who's Coming to Christmas 

The Cunningham family Christmas is all set but Richie finds out Fonzie (despite being popular) is alone this holiday. So, Richie decides to ask his folks to let him join them ...but will his folks or Fonzie accept?


Frank Buxton


Garry Marshall (created by) (as Garry K. Marshall), Bill Idelson




Episode cast overview:
Ron Howard ... Richie Cunningham
Marion Ross ... Marion Cunningham
Anson Williams ... Potsie Weber
Henry Winkler ... Arthur 'Fonzie' Fonzarelli
Erin Moran ... Joanie Cunningham
Don Most ... Ralph Malph (as Donny Most)
Tom Bosley ... Howard Cunningham
Al Molinaro ... Al Delvecchio
Beatrice Colen ... Marsha Simms
Randolph Roberts ... Chuck Cunningham
Robert Casper ... Orville
Marjorie Bennett ... Mrs. Harrison
Misty Rowe ... Wendy


The Cunninghams are looking forward to their usual family holidays together. However, Richie finds out that his friend Fonzie, despite being popular,is all alone at Christmas. He asks his parents if Fonzie can share their holiday, eventually they agree and Richie invites him, although he's reluctant at first. Written by happipuppi13

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

christmas | christmas episode | See All (2) »


Comedy | Family | Music



Did You Know?


Contrary to popular belief, this episode did not get excluded from DVD releases. The only thing that happened is that a song got omitted from the soundtrack. See more »

Alternate Versions

When this episode was rerun in 1975, it was presented as a flashback episode featuring a new introduction where Fonzie recounts the story to Arnold (Pat Morita). In 1976, after Morita left the show, the episode was rerun with another introduction where Fonzie tells the story to his replacement, Al ('Al Molinaro'). Syndicated reruns usually show the version with Al. This introduction features the only mention of Chuck Cunningham after his character was dropped in the second season. See more »


References Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) See more »


Joy to the World
Music by Lowell Mason
See more »

User Reviews

this makes my top 5 Christmas episodes list
21 December 2010 | by barrwellSee all my reviews

I used to watch 'Happy Days' in my early teen years when it first came on the air. In fact I think I'm the only person I know who remembered the actual pilot for Happy Days, which was a segment of the old ABC show called 'Love American Style'. So when I saw the episode titled "guess who's coming to Christmas" recently on a cable station, I was amazed that I had never seen it before. It's the one where the Cunninghams invite Fonzie over for Christmas, as Ritchie is sure that Fonz is alone for the holiday even though Fonz insists he's going out of town to be with relatives. This episode is a classic, one of the best from this series and instantly went on my top 5 Christmas episodes list.

This episode was from the first season and a half of Happy Days (it was a mid-season replacement show in January, 1974), when the show was filmed with one camera and a laugh track and had more of a movie-look to it, as opposed to taping in front of live audiences that started in its third season (this gave it that 'sitcom' look). Originally the show had been developed to capitalize on the success of the movie 'American Graffiti', which had also starred Ron Howard. After a couple seasons of mediocre ratings they decided to make Fonz more of a central character and turned him into a superstar icon. The show had immense success, but I think it lost a lot of its nostalgic realism and it got sillier and sillier through the years and at some point as I got older I gravitated to smarter, funnier shows like 'Mash' and 'Barney Miller'.

In this episode the Fonz is still much more human then he later became; at one point in this episode he fixes the Cunninghams car in the garage where he works. Later in the series they never seemed to show him working anymore; it was like he became too cool to be shown working. It's at the garage that Ritchie later sees Fonz heating up a can of ravioli and making a sandwich for his Christmas Eve meal and tries to talk his dad into inviting Fonz to their house for Christmas. They later go over to Fonzies apartment and get him to go with them to the Cunninghams. As they leave Fonz comes back in and slides the gift that Ritchie had brought him under his little table-top Christmas tree and smiles. A nice little touch that showed a sweet and sentimental side of the Fonz that was seldom seen in the series' later years.

The best Christmas episodes involve some touch of supreme humanity or kindness that captures the true spirit of the season and this one surely qualifies. At the end as they sit around the dinner table they ask Fonz to say the Christmas prayer and he looks uncomfortable for a minute and then bows his head and says "Hey God…Thanks", then he smiles. It's a nice, touching wrap-up. It's also a real good turn from a Fonzie that was, at the time, still more human than icon and a Cunningham family that seemed more like a real family from the 1950s.

My other four favorite Christmas episodes are: -Mash "Dear Dad" from 1972 (Hawkeye gets lowered from helicopter into combat zone dressed as Santa to work on wounded soldier), -The Andy Griffith Show from 1960 where they have the party in the jail house, -Twilight Zone "Night of the Meeks" from 1960 with Art Carney, and -The Honeymooner's Christmas episode from 1955 (..I think) when Ralph gives his famous Christmas monologue to his wife and then the whole cast comes out of character and gives a bow to the live audience…I like little glimpses into the early days of television. Simpler times, before they were polluting our minds with so much sex and violence.

I'll tell you what, script writing was much better in the older days too!

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Release Date:

17 December 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Guess Who's Coming to Christmas See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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