Homo for the Holidays is the 7th episode of the second season and the 30th overall.

Jack's mother Judith comes over for Thanksgiving and his friends find out that she does not know he is gay.


"Look at you. Okay, look at me."

Will inadvertently invites Jack's mother Judith for Thanksgiving dinner with his friends. Jack, however, becomes unreasonably angry when he learns about this and storms off. When Judith drops by later for a "dry run", Jack's friends find out that his mother is unaware of his homosexuality and even thinks he and Grace used to date.

Will urges Jack to come out to his mother, appealing to the irony that it was Jack who compelled him to come out. While in the middle of the dinner, Jack retreats to the balcony expressing distress at the whole situation and fearing his mother would fall apart when she learns about his sexuality. However, Will comes to his aid again and asks the same question Jack asked to make Will come out to his own parents: "aren't you tired yet?". Eventually, Jack comes out to Judith surrounded by his friends.

Judith voices out her support to Jack, before revealing that she has a secret of her own, too: the man whom he thinks is his father is not. Instead, she reveals that Jack is the result of a one-night stand with someone at a party during the 60s.





  • For his performance on the episode (and in Acting Out), Sean Hayes won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 2000. 
  • Title is a play on "home for the holidays". 
  • This episode attracted the largest audience in the show's two-year history (19.14 million viewers, topping the previous record of 19.08 million established on Thursday, April 8, 1999 with Grace, Replaced). 
  • In 2009, TV Guide ranked this episode #74 on its list of the 100 Greatest Episodes.
  • Veronica Cartwright only appearance as Judith. Cartwright appeared in the Alfred Hitchcock film The Birds with Suzanne Pleshette who plays Karen's mother Lois.
  • In this episode, Will recalls the time he and Jack met at Matt Stokes' party. This continuity is mentioned again during the flashback episode Lows in the Mid-Eighties.

Cultural references

  • When the elevator takes too long for Jack, he exclaims "Damn you, Otis", referring to Elisha Otis, inventor of the elevator's safety system and founder of the elevator company.
  • When Karen arrives at Will's apartment, he refers to her as Cruella, after the Disney villain Cruella de Vil who wears a signature black and white ensemble, reminiscent of Karen's outfit.
  • Jack tries to calm himself by chanting "zum-fun-young-guy-hung-so-lo", and Wills refers to it as a "Fire Island mating call". The Fire Islands is a popular spot among lesbian and gay tourists.
  • Grace tells Judith that Jack's "affair" with Karen was his "Harold-and-Maude phase", referring to the 1971 film Harold and Maude where a young man falls in love with a 79-year-old woman, cleverly insulting Karen's age and appearance.
  • After Jack finally comes out to his mother, and she reveals that Jack's real father is not who he thought he was, Will refers to it as "Gays of Our Lives", after the soap opera Days of Our Lives.
  • After finding out about his father, Jack says he hopes that he does not "wear a black helmet and speak with the voice of James Earl Jones", referring to the Star Wars villain Darth Vader, who later turns out to be father of the protagonist Luke Skywalker. Will then parodies Darth Vader's breathy voice and famous line "Luke, I am your father" with "Luke, you're a homo".
  • Grace mocking Jack's lies about them ("when you speak of me later... And I know that you won't... Please be kind") is a reference to the famous quote in the 1956 film Tea and Sympathy.



Hear ye, hear ye. The holiday shopping season has just begun. Here are your lists. I suggest you surprise me with the things that are in bold. Jack

Jack:The woman is a monster, and you clearly did this to torture me.
Will:I did not. That was just an unexpected bonus, really.

I don't think I've seen him this upset since they hired a female urologist at the free clinic. Graceas Jack storms off

Hot dish coming through. And she's carrying a casserole. Judith

Judith:You must be Grace. Jack said you were sort of funny.
Grace:Oh, yes. I am Grace. Jack said I was funny?
Judith:No, he said you were sort of funny.
Jack:She's not the easiest woman to talk to, you know. She's the most self-involved person I know.
Will:Well, the fruit didn't fall far from that tree.

Once you go Jack, you never go back. Grace

Grace:What are you doing here?
Karen:You invited me.
Grace:Yeah, but I never thought you'd come.
Grace:Jack's mother is going to be joining us, and she doesn't know Jack's gay.
Karen:How could she not know? What is she, headless?

Jack, this isn't gonna be as hard as you think. On some level, your mother has to know you're gay. I mean, she has met you, right? Graceon his coming out

That table setting's exquisite, like it's fit for a queen. Judith

Aren't you tired yet? Willto Jack

Honey, I'm worried. You haven't said a thing about my bangs. Judith

Jack:Who's my father?
Judith:Well... It's not exactly clear
Jack:Mother, if your explanation doesn't end with the phrase "born in a manger," I'm gonna be violently ill.

I think you're missing the silver lining here. When you're old and in diapers, a gay son will know how to keep you away from chiffon and back lighting. Karen

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