Christmas Specials Wiki
Christmas Specials Wiki

"Dear Dad" is the first Christmas episode of the CBS sitcom M*A*S*H, originally aired as the twelfth episode of the show's first season.



After an intense three-day session in OR, Hawkeye begins writing a letter to his father, Dr. Daniel Webster Pierce, about the goings-on at the 4077th as the 25th of December approaches, a Christmas they were once promised to be home by.

At first, Pierce describes the nightmarish session in OR, which is gotten through by bickering, innuendo and other tension-cutters that Hawkeye feels he must explain to his fellow physician and father. He gives a decidedly mixed compliment to his CO, Lt. Colonel Henry Blake, calling him a nice guy but making him feel a bit like he's on a sinking ocean liner commanded by Daffy Duck.

Since the number one enemy at the camp after Death itself is boredom, a series of rather large packages sent home by Radar pique the curiosity of Hawkeye and Trapper John McIntyre, whose flouroscope inquiry reveals something semi-felonious. Radar has been mailing home a jeep, taken apart and mailed piece by piece, though this seems to be not unique, either for the 4077th or the army, causing Hawkeye to predict a retroactive hernia for Radar's mailman in Iowa when he's told what he delivered.

Pierce describes admiringly and with no envy the Sisyphean task faced by Father Mulcahy, keeping morale and spirits high all while trying "to give this cesspool a yuletide feel" via some makeshift decorations. His unofficial job as camp referee becomes all too real as a recalcitrant Frank Burns finally pushes Klinger too far, causing one of several punch-outs the Major would receive during his time at the 4077th - to cheers and accolades from the patients and staff in OR. As an enraged Klinger returns with a grenade he intends to feed the knocked-out Frank, the Padre intercepts and calms the for-once in-uniform soldier, and manages to persuade the local MP to forget he heard of anything.

While pursuing the amorous company of several nurses, hecklers Hawkeye and Trapper manage to make a complete ruin out of the partial ruin that was Henry's sex lecture.

Trapper has some fun with the kids he's vaccinating, some of whom are almost too savvy even for him. He also manages to help a local farmer save his cow and her calf when the mother is delivering breach, a feat for which he is paid in said mother's milk.

Hawkeye explains to his father about the not-so-secret love affair between the gung-ho uptight Frank Burns and the all-too-military Margaret Houlihan. Through a series of devious and even cruelly escalating pranks, Hawkeye and Trapper manage to bring down not only their morale, but Houlihan's tent around their ears. Pierce later makes up for this in his own way by giving Margaret the Christmas kiss of several lifetimes, which enrages Frank and stuns Margaret.

Hawkeye, dressed as Santa for the orphans, jokes and preps for the kids with volunteer elf Trapper. But Henry and Radar bring news of a soldier wounded on the front lines, with a chest wound best seen to by Pierce. Hawkeye gives Trapper a cautionary "Merry Christmas" if the worst should happen, but McIntyre refuses the grim but tender gesture, saying they'll talk when, not if Pierce comes back. Flying to the front lines in the Santa suit, Pierce's odd appearance is a welcome surprise to both the wounded soldier and his buddies.

The episode ends with a sweep of the cast at that time matched with the actors' names, ending with Hawkeye himself.




  • Hawkeye jokingly mentions to Pierce getting thrown out of the service by wearing women's clothing. Ironically, this is one of the only early episodes featuring Klinger in which he is not dressed in drag.
  • This is the first of many M*A*S*H episodes framed by a letter (or tape) home written by a cast member, including the next Christmas episode, "Dear Sis".
  • This is the only Christmas episode to feature Henry Blake, Trapper John, and Frank Burns.


Actor/actress Character
Alan Alda Capt. Hawkeye
Wayne Rogers Capt. Trapper John
McLean Stevenson Lt. Col. Blake
Loretta Swit Maj. Hot Lips
Larry Linville Maj. Burns
Gary Burghoff Cpl. Radar
Jamie Farr Cpl. Klinger
William Christopher Father Mulcahy
Buck Young M.P.
Odessa Cleveland Lt. Bayliss
Bonnie Jones Lt. Bannerman
Lizabeth Deen Becky
Bill Katt P.F.C.
Gary Van Orman Corporal

See also[]

External links[]

20th Century
Miracle on 34th Street (1955 remake) (1973 remake) (1994 remake) • Die HardDie Hard 2Home AloneHome Alone 2: Lost in New YorkGeorge Balanchine's The NutcrackerTrapped in ParadiseJingle All the WayHome Alone 4The Family StoneDeck the Halls12 Men of ChristmasHome Alone: The Holiday HeistJingle All the Way 2Home Sweet Home Alone
Television episodes and specials
20th Television
M*A*S*H "Dear Dad" • "Dear Sis" • "Death Takes a Holiday" • "All About Christmas Eve"
Tracey Ullman "Santa Baby" • "Kay's Gift" • "Merry Catnip"
The X Files "Christmas Carol" • "Emily" • "How the Ghosts Stole Christmas"
Malcolm in the Middle "Christmas" • "Christmas Trees" • "Pearl Harbor" • "Hal's Christmas Gift
Bones "The Man in the Fallout Shelter" • "The Santa in the Slush" • "The Goop on the Girl"
How I Met Your Mother "How Lily Stole Christmas" • "Little Minnesota" • "False Positive" • "Symphony of Illumination" • "The Over-Correction" • "The Final Page, Part 1" • "The Final Page, Part 2"
Glee "A Very Glee Christmas" • "Extraordinary Merry Christmas" • "Glee, Actually" • "Previously Unaired Christmas"
New Girl "The 23rd" • "Santa" • "LAXmas" • "Christmas Eve Eve"
The Mindy Project "Josh and Mindy's Christmas Party" • "Christmas Party Sex Trap" • "Christmas" • "When Mindy Met Danny"
Last Man Standing "Last Christmas Standing" • "Putting a Hit on Christmas" • "Elfie" • "Wedding Planning" • "Gift of the Wise Man"
Other shows "Christmas Story" • "The Worst Noel" • "Haus Arrest" • "Amends" • "Blue Christmas" • "A Christmas Story" • "Cookies for Santa" • "In God We Trust" • "Road to Tradition" • "Afternoon Delight" • "Christmas" • "The Glitch That Stole Christmas" • "Secret Santa"
20th Television Animation
The Simpsons "Simpson Christmas" • "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" • "Marge Be Not Proud" • "Miracle on Evergreen Terrace" • "Grift of the Magi" • "Skinner's Sense of Snow" • "She of Little Faith" • "'Tis the Fifteenth Season" • "Simpson Christmas Stories" • "Kill Gil, Volumes I & II" • "The Fight Before Christmas" • "Holidays of Future Passed" • "White Christmas Blues" • "I Won't Be Home for Christmas • "The Nightmare After Krustmas" • "'Tis the 30th Season" • "Bobby, It's Cold Outside" • "The Way of The Dog" • "A Springfield Summer Christmas for Christmas" • "Manger Things" • Feliz Navidad
King of the Hill "The Unbearable Blindness of Laying" • "Pretty, Pretty Dresses" • "Hillennium" • "'Twas the Nut Before Christmas" • "The Father, the Son, and J.C." • "Livin' on Reds, Vitamin C and Propane" • "Ms. Wakefield"
Family Guy, American Dad!, and The Cleveland Show "A Very Special Family Guy Freakin' Christmas" • "The Best Christmas Story Never" • "The Most Adequate Christmas Ever" • "Rapture's Delight" • "A Cleveland Brown Christmas" • "Road to the North Pole" • "For Whom the Sleigh Bell Tolls" • "Murray Christmas" • "Season's Beatings" • "Die Semi-Hard" • "Jesus, Mary and Joseph!" • "'Tis the Cleveland To Be Sorry" • "Minstrel Krampus" • "Christmas Guy" • "Dreaming of a White Porsche Christmas" • "The 2000-Year-Old Virgin" • "How the Griffin Stole Christmas" • "Ninety North, Zero West" • "Gifted Me Liberty" • "Don't Be a Dickens At Christmas" • "Santa, Schmanta" • "Christmas is Coming" • "Yule. Tide. Repeat." • "The First No L" • "Christmas Crime" • "The Return of the King (of Queens)" • "Family Guy Christmas for Hulu"
Futurama "Xmas Story" • "A Tale of Two Santas" • "The Futurama Holiday Spectacular" • "I Know What You Did Next Xmas"
Bob's Burgers "God Rest Ye Merry Gentle-Mannequins" • "Christmas in the Car" • "Father of the Bob" • "Nice-Capades" • "The Last Gingerbread House on the Left" • "The Bleakening" • "Better Off Sled" • "Have Yourself a Maily Linda Christmas" • "Yachty or Nice" • "Gene's Christmas Break" • "The Plight Before Christmas" • "The Nightmare 2 Days Before Christmas"
Other cartoons "Hook's Christmas" • "A Christmas Surprise for Mrs. Stillman" • Olive, the Other ReindeerIce Age: A Mammoth Christmas • "The War on Grafelnik" • "Miracle on Culpepper Slims Boulevard" • "A Very Solar Holiday Opposites Special" • "Dip the Halls Adventure" • "Xmas with The Skanks Adventure"