Phil and Claire cancel Christmas for their kids until they confess to wrongdoings at the house. Jay is hesitant to celebrate Gloria and Manny's holiday traditions, and Mitchell and Cameron accidentally get a mall Santa fired. This is the first Christmas episode.
The Dunphys are gathered for their Christmas message to Phil's parents, complete with ugly Christmas sweaters. Unfortunately, Phil and Claire discover a burn mark on the couch from a cigarette. They confront the kids, while Frank is still on video with them. Phil decides to channel his inner disciplinarian and threatens to cancel Christmas if none of the kids 'fesses up to the crime. But according to Claire, Phil has great pronouncements, but not-so-great follow-through. Putting Luke's dirty dishes in his bed didn't work so well, for example. Still, he drags the tree right out of the living room, ornaments and all.
Mitchell and Cameron take Lily to her first Christmas photo. Mitchell isn't happy with the non-fat-looking Santa they waited in a long line for, and Cameron has to deal with the caroling group in the mall he used to be part of before they kicked him out. Unfortunately, Mitchell's complaints about the thin Santa get him fired. They felt so bad about the fired Santa (who lives in his car since his wife left) they invite him over to their house for Christmas. After stepping on eggshells around the boozing ex-Marine, Scott, whose clothes might come out of the dryer a bit pilly because of a dirty lint trap, Cameron's ex-carolers decide to sing in front of their house. Cameron is ready to go ballistic, but Scott preaches forgiveness (even mentioning that he forgave them for getting him fired). Cameron goes out and tries to be the better man. However, even his apology is off-key, according to Andrew who staged the caroling coup. Scott then punches him and tells Mitch and Cam they were nice, while Andrew was naughty.
After pulling a practical joke on Jay, which is a Colombian tradition at Christmas, Jay isn't much for having Gloria and Manny doing any more Colombian Christmas traditions at the house, and neither is happy about it. No fireworks, no having the Baby Jesus deliver the presents...
Haley, Alex, and Luke strategize for getting Christmas back. Alex suggests they pull a "Spartacus": Luke will confess he did it first, then Haley and Alex will do the same thing, with the hope of making Phil and Claire feel guilty for doing it. As it happens, they already feel guilty. Of course, never trust the two older sisters. Luke confesses, and Haley and Alex don't back him up and act like they're shocked. The problem remains unresolved until Alex decides to take the bullet and confesses. Alex is grounded from December 26th and throughout New Years. Christmas is back on, but it turns out the burn mark in the couch was caused by the crystal ornament Frank sent projecting the sun into that small spot. Phil begs forgiveness from the kids, and ends up making another great pronouncement by promising to take them to Italy.
After dropping off some Christmas presents, Jay decides to be flexible and buy some fireworks for Manny, since he wants Manny to have some of his own Christmas traditions with him and Gloria. That is, once Jay gets off one last practical joke of his own, along with Manny.
(The characters striked out do not appear in this episode)
- Jay Pritchett
- Gloria Pritchett
- Manny Delgado
- Claire Dunphy
- Phil Dunphy
- Haley Dunphy
- Alex Dunphy
- Luke Dunphy
- Mitchell Pritchett
- Cameron Tucker
- Fred Willard as Frank Dunphy
- Brian Finney as Scott
- Jeremy Scott Johnson as Andrew
- Greg Wilson as Head Elf
- This is Modern Family's first Christmas episode.
- This is the last episode to air in 2009. This is also the first episode to feature Frank although only via video chat he does not make a physical appearance until Travels with Scout .
- In the Greek version of the show, there are some parts of the episode that change:
- In the original version, when the cause of what burned the couch is discovered (which was because of the ornament reflecting sunlight), Phil decides to make up by taking the kids to Italy. In the Greek version, Philippos (Phil) says he'll take them to Disneyland.
- In the original version, the Dunphys find out that the ornament was reflecting sunlight when Claire sees the couch smoking. In the Greek version, the Chatzopoulos family find out that the ornament was reflecting sunlight when Philippos touches the burning part and yelps in pain when he touches the burning couch.
- After the answer to the burn mark on the couch is found, Faye (Claire) accidentally sits on the mark, which results in her burning herself.
- White Christmas aired exactly six years after this episode.