Skip to main content

Mama’s Family is a classic TV spinoff from The Carol Burnett Show. The series focuses on the dysfunctional Harper family, headed by matriarch Thelma Harper (Vicki Lawrence). Chaos and hilarity ensued in every episode, including their Christmas celebrations.

'Mama's Family' star Vicki Lawrence in a purple dress, poses as her character Thelma Harper in front of pink backdrop.
Mama’s Family star Vicki Lawrence as Thelma ‘Mama’ Harper I Ron Tom/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

There were only two ‘Mama’s Family’ Christmas episodes during its six-season run

Mama’s Family was a popular sitcom during the 80s and into 1990. The show ran on NBC for two seasons before being cancelled, then was later revived in 1986 for a syndication run. During its six-season run, it aired 130 episodes and only two involved Christmas.

The first Christmas episode, “Santa Mama,” aired in December 1986 during Season 3. Mama isn’t in a jolly mood when the holiday rolls around. However, she has to put on her happy face when she fills in for mall Santa after Vint Harper (Ken Berry) becomes sick.

The second Christmas episode, “Mama Gets Goosed,” aired during Season 6 in December 1989. This time Thelma is in a festive mood as she plans an old-fashioned Christmas. But she gets more than she bargained for when her cousin sends a live goose to cook for dinner. While the family is against the idea, Thelmas insists on cooking the bird.

Which Christmas episode is the highest-rated?

Both of the Mama’s Family Christmas episodes provide laughter and heartwarming moments. In “Santa Mama,” no one could forget Thelma’s cold heart melting when a little girl asks for tools for her unemployed dad. Later Vint’s employer Kwik Key donates a set of tools to the girls’ father. The episode ends on a happy note when Thelma returns from shopping to discover her husband Carl’s missing Christmas star on the tree.

“Mama Gets Goosed” also provides plenty of laughs. Who could forget Iola Boylen’s (Beverly Archer) giant nutcracker vacuum cover she gave to Thelma? But the story mainly revolves around Leland the goose. Although Thelma was determined to cook him, she couldn’t do it. In the end, Leland joins the family for dinner as a guest.

Both episodes were heartwarming and touched viewers. So, which episode is the highest-rated? According to, both episodes have an 8.1 rating. Given they were touching stories, it’s understandable how fans couldn’t choose a favorite.

How to watch ‘Mama’s Family’ this holiday season?

Watching classic TV shows like Mama’s Family is a great way to spend Christmas. With the stress of the holiday, a little humor is needed. Fans will get lots of laughter from their favorite dysfunctional family, the Harpers.


‘Mama’s Family’: Dorothy Lyman’s Soap Opera Work Landed Her the Naomi Role

Reruns of the comedy air on Logo and MeTV. But for those that want to binge-watch, all episodes are available on Amazon, Google Play, Apple TV, and Vudu. So this season, gather around the TV and enjoy the holiday celebrations of Mama and the Harper clan.