Christmas. It's a time of good cheer, but also the day of the year where we look back over everything we’ve done — where we prioritize rest, good food, and being with family. Truly, the day on which we celebrate peace on earth and goodwill towards all.
Unless you live in Riverdale, where Christmas is about illicit love affairs, gaslighting your principal into believing he is Santa, tricking your parents into thinking you don’t care (only to surprise them into realizing you kind of do), and the inexplicable presence of an incredibly rude elf named Jingles who makes every situation much worse than it needs to be. In short, Christmas in Riverdale is still an Archie story, and all Archie stories must be laced with bonkers misadventures, even during the holidays.
The Olden Days
Naturally, most of Archie, Betty, and Veronica’s problems are directly related to their intense long-term relationship with each other. Who Archie is going to spend Christmas with is a hot topic of debate, and even his parents feel like they get the short end of the stick when it comes to Archie’s attention. At one point in the Christmas Classics collection, Archie completely blows his parents off, shouting, “You’ve got to spend Christmas with the ones you love!” This leads to them both reflecting on the old days of Archie’s childhood, during which time he still regularly spoiled Christmas (but at least showed up). Right when they’re ready to call it a day, Archie walks right back through the door dressed as Santa, carrying their presents and reminding them that he does indeed love them. He really didn’t need to go through all that, but our guy is nothing if not a showman.
Besides that, The Archies, at one point, decide that they’re going to become a Christmas-themed band and sing some vaguely suggestive lyrics about Santa. They try to practice in Hiram Lodge’s house despite the fact that none of them (not Archie, not Reggie, not Jughead) happen to live there. Hiram, of course, loses his patience immediately and starts pushing them around town to figure out where they can rehearse. Although this does eventually work out in their favor when Hiram finds the right spot to push them to, Archie’s turn here as the voice of his generation is pretty amazing.
Santa Claus is a real person in the Archieverse, which of course means that there are a few strangely identically-dressed elves hanging around the world also. It turns out that Santa sends naughty elves, of which Jingles is one, to perform “Nice List” duty, or watch over kids to make sure they’re doing what they should. Listen, there’s a lot of weird stuff in Santa mythology, and you can’t blame Archie comics for this one.
The elf assigned to Riverdale just happens to be Jingles, who very openly states that he is indeed there to narc on the teens if they do anything wrong. This means that Jingle is going to have his arms full because the teens of Riverdale can be deeply cruel in some surprising ways. Glance back over Reggie’s entire history. He is a monster.
Jingles comes back every year, so there are always new Jingles stories to be told. A personal favorite is when he gets kicked out of the North Pole for being an obnoxious presence in general, so he tries to room with myriad Riverdale denizens. The sheer hilarity of a weird elf just taking over the living space of random teenagers during the holidays is indeed classic, but most importantly, it leads to Archie actually booting him to Jughead’s house. At first, Jughead is annoyed by Jingles and vows to force him out, but when he walks into the kitchen and sees the feast Jingles has prepared, he decides to keep him — as in, refuses to let him leave.
Christmas On TV
Of course, you can’t talk about Archie and the holidays without bringing up the beloved CW show Riverdale. As Riverdale has generally taken on a… slightly different tone than the original comics, you might guess that their Christmas is a bit of a switch-up, and you’d be right. In their first Christmas episode, "Chapter Twenty-Two: Silent Night, Deadly Night," Archie and Betty pursue the mysterious Black Hood, Cheryl Blossom realizes that her family is potentially broke and improvises a Christmas, and Penny Peabody and Jughead engage in fun verbal sparring matches. Sounds like Christmas to us.
Oh, and remember Jingles the elf? Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, showrunner of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and Archie Comics Chief Creative Officer, managed to fit an Easter egg into the series. In the episode “A Midwinter’s Tale,” the character Susie appears dressed as Jingles. Naturally, Susie discovers that the mall Santa is actually a soul-stealing demon, and chaos breaks out before Sabrina just barely saves the day. Though Jingles doesn’t make an actual appearance, the soul of that terrible elf continues on.