There’s nothing like Christmastime in New York. The Rockefeller tree is all aglow, locals and tourists alike trot through Bryant Park’s Winter Village, the Saks window displays are a decadent delight, and ice skating escapades take over weekend plans. While you can trust your favorite iconic Christmas films to crank up the seasonal merriment, however, consider turning to Blair Waldorf, Serena van der Woodsen, and the rest of Gossip Girl’s Upper East Siders to put a different sort of spin on the most wonderful time of year.
Because, by now, you’ve surely already streamed the best Thanksgiving-themed Gossip Girl episodes, why not make the gang a part of all of your holiday traditions? Below, your guide to the show’s two utterly bonkers Christmas installments. Spoilers ahead…xoxo!
Season 1, Episode 11: “Roman Holiday”
Vanessa swipes a short story from Dan’s room and submits it to a literary contest, only to give him the best Christmas present ever: a byline in The New Yorker. Unfortunately for Serena, it feels like a gift too tough to top, not to mention her growing—but stifled—jealousy of Dan’s girl best friend and first love. At first, Serena leans toward an expensive gift, one Dan doesn’t really relate to (nor can he reciprocate, price-wise). Instead, the two agree to a gift budget, and Serena enlists Vanessa’s help—resulting in a picture-perfect romantic evening between Serena and Dan, but one that gives viewers the distinct impression that Vanessa’s feelings for her friend are more than just platonic.
Meanwhile, Blair’s Christmas plans are derailed when her dad shows up for the holiday with an unexpected (and unwelcome) plus-one—his partner, a.k.a the man he left her mother for. The teen resorts to her usual manipulations to get her way, which includes icing out Mr. Waldorf and sending his partner to the ER. (Just a tip: Don’t ever go ice skating with a blade-wielding Waldorf scorned.) As the senior Waldorfs realize their holiday has gone awry, Eleanor says something that perfectly explains her daughter’s aptitude for plotting: “Blair learns scheming from her mother, and unrealistic dreaming from her father. She tries to act all grown-up, but don’t be fooled; she’s still a little girl.” In the end, the Waldorfs find a way to make peace, and familial love outshines any ill-will. Plus, Blair ends up with an invitation to France for the summer. All’s well, etc.
I should also shout out the Lily-Bart-Rufus subplot in this episode, which produces one of the best lines of Season 1. Lily’s reveal that she is dating Bart Bass elicits a, “He raised Chuck, that scares me,” from Serena, which…agreed! Then, an emotional Rufus Humphrey hikes all the way from Brooklyn to Manhattan’s Upper East Side with no coat on—which is probably the most unrealistic thing I’ve ever seen a fictional New Yorker do. Where’s your puffer, Rufus? Also, the subway’s right there, Rufus!
Season 2, Episode 12: “It’s a Wonderful Lie”