There are over a hundred episodes of Young Sheldon, but The Big Bang Theory spinoff has still never aired a Christmas special—and there is a good reason for this. Young Sheldon and The Big Bang Theory have their fair share of differences. Even though they share the same main character, the sitcom spinoff is a nostalgic single-camera family sitcom with a lot of dramatic storylines, while its predecessor was a multi-camera hang-out show with a lighter, sillier tone.
These disparities have led to Young Sheldon causing The Big Bang Theory plot holes, with viewers wondering how Sheldon never mentioned Paige during his adulthood or why he characterized his flawed, but decent, father as a mean brute. However, one difference between the two shows may seem like a plot hole, but it has a secret in-universe justification. As of Young Sheldon season 6, the show has still never staged a Christmas special while, in contrast, The Big Bang Theory had 3 yuletide episodes in its first 6 seasons. This could seem like a mistake, but Sheldon’s atheism explains the disparity.
Why Sheldon Doesn’t Celebrate Christmas
Young Sheldon is told from Sheldon’s perspective and, as an atheist adult, he doesn’t celebrate Christmas. As such, when recalling his childhood, Sheldon’s adult self doesn’t feel the need to single out the holiday. The Big Bang Theory hero’s atheism is justified not only by his faith in science but also by the story of a predatory church exploiting his mother and ruining her life before his father’s death. Young Sheldon season 6 saw Pastor Jeff fire Mary and ban the Cooper family from the church after news of Georgie and Mandy’s pregnancy got out, meaning Sheldon has a formative reason to view organized religion as a corrupt, hypocritical institution.
This could explain why Sheldon never mentions Christmas in Young Sheldon. Some episodes could have been set during the holiday season but, since this is Sheldon’s version of events and he doesn’t put much stock in Christmas, the character wouldn’t think to mention this unless it was relevant to the plot. Why Mary returned to the church after Young Sheldon remains unclear, although it is likely that her grief over George Sr’s sudden death led her to double down on her piety to find comfort. In any case, what is clear is that the church’s exploitation of her put Sheldon off religion, resulting in him having no fond formative memories of family Christmases.
Why The Big Bang Theory Still Had Christmas Episodes
Since Sheldon’s feelings on Christmas are somewhere between neutral and negative, it would be reasonable for viewers to wonder why The Big Bang Theory had so many festive episodes. There are five Christmas episodes of the show and, since The Big Bang Theory’s version of Sheldon still had no interest in the holiday, it can be hard to see what changed in the intervening years. The answer is that, despite none of them being devout Christians, the rest of The Big Bang Theory gang did celebrate Christmas as a chance to share gifts and goodwill. This meant The Big Bang Theory had its share of Christmas specials where Young Sheldon adopted its hero’s perspective instead.