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The Christmas episode of season four of Glee follows the format of the popular holiday film Love Actually. We follow different vignettes and storylines, ending in the auditorium with the whole cast doing one number together.
The first short story is probably the most interesting. Artie comes into school upset after having fallen on the ice on the handicap ramp. Finn talks him into going to the nurses office where Artie lies down and falls asleep. He dreams that Rory has returned as his guardian angel and shows him what life would be like if he had never been in a wheelchair.
In a black and white montage in which Artie can walk, he finds that the glee club never got together. Finn, Puck, and Ryder are jocks who bully Kurt, while Rachel works in the school library. Tina never dropped her stutter and Becky is pregnant. Artie tries to bring the group together by singing and dancing to “Feliz Navidad,” but the group finds it stupid. Rory helps him realize that Artie is the glue that holds glee together and upon waking up Artie feels more secure about his life in a wheelchair.
In New York, Rachel is preparing for a holiday cruise with her dads while Kurt is resigned to spending Christmas alone in order to save money. He’s more than surprised when his dad, Burt, shows up at their apartment with a Christmas tree. Burt explains that Kurt’s mother always bought their trees. The first Christmas after she died, Burt forgot to buy a tree and Kurt made an ornament out of her perfume bottle.
Over hot chocolate and french fries (an odd but delicious-looking pairing) Burt reveals that he has prostate cancer. However, they caught it early and the cure-rate is nearly one hundred percent. The greatest piece of advice that Burt can impart is that throughout life you have to stay close to the people you love.
Burt has one more surprise up his sleeve. He tells Kurt to go to an ice rink where Blaine is waiting. Following a tradition since season two of the show, the two do a Christmas duet to “White Christmas.”
Back in Lima, Puck breaks up a fight between Jake and some jocks. He convinces Jake to go on an adventure with him to Los Angeles where the two crash the Paramount lot with their guitars. They hop onto golf carts, run into movie sets, and flirt with angels while singing “Oh Chanukah.” Puck tries to impress Jake by claiming that he’s renting a huge house, which is really owned by one of his clients (from his pool cleaning business).
The two admit that they just want to spend Christmas with their family. The two half-brothers convince their moms to have dinner with them at Breadsticks. At first the two mothers cannot get along due to their relationships with the same man, the boys’ father. Jake and Puck explain that regardless of their father’s horrible behavior, they are both close as brothers and appreciative of their wonderful, although unconventional, family.
Brittany, convinced that the world is going to end on December 21st. She uses her life savings to buy her friends Christmas gifts and is brutally honest with everyone. Sam also believes in the Mayan apocalypse. Since the world is going to end before Christmas, he chooses to celebrate now with a rendition of “Jingle Bell Rock,” with the Cheerios as backup.
Sam and Brittany want to spend their last days together and ask Coach Beiste, ordained by a Mayan website, to marry them. The scene cuts to a few days later with them in Brittany’s bedroom where Sam turns on the computer to find that it is December 22nd. Not only has the world not ended but they are now married.
Even Coach Sylvester gets her own short story in this episode. This time things are completely different than the episode in which she dressed up as the Grinch. For the faculty Secret Santa she pulls the name of Marley’s mom and after learning about her family’s financial troubles she decided to break into their house and leave a Christmas tree, gifts, and $800 in cash.
Marley and her mom, Millie, are overjoyed. Meanwhile, Coach Beiste admits that she lied about being ordained in order to prevent Sam and Brittany from really getting married. In New York, Kurt, Burt, and Blaine have a Christmas dinner together and Blaine announces that he plans to apply to NYADA.
Millie tries to return the money to Coach Sylvester but she refuses. New Directions is waiting in the auditorium to sing her a thank you song. The group, dressed in white against a snowy background, perform “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” while Puck, Jake, Sam, and Brittany sing the same song at Breadsticks.