New Directions is asked to perform at two events at the same time, Rory gets homesick, and Chewbacca makes a special holiday appearance.
The New Directions kids decorate the glee room while Mercedes sings "All I Want For Christmas Is You." Rachel and Finn agree that all they want for Christmas is one another, but Rachel still gives Finn a list of gifts she's expecting. Meanwhile, Sue calls Artie, Kurt and Blaine into her office and explains that she's volunteering at the homeless shelter to help keep her mind away from missing her sister. The boys agree that New Directions will accompany her and sing at the shelter. Back at glee practice, Rory sings "Blue Christmas" after explaining that this will be his first Christmas without family. The gang then receives word from Will that he's agreed with a local PBS station for New Directions to be featured in a Christmas television special. Artie says he will direct the show as long as it pays homage to "The Star Wars Holidays Special" and "The Judy Garland Christmas Show."
Rachel sings Joni Mitchell's "River" while practicing for the upcoming PBS special. Artie tells her that the song is too depressing and doesn't fit his vision of a happy Christmas show. The gang doesn't see eye-to-eye with Artie, and Sam actually walks out on the show. Later, Rachel is irritated to find out that Finn, instead of buying her a gift, decided to adopt a pig to help feed needy children. She reminds him that she's expecting him to buy her some "bling." Back at glee practice, Blaine and Rachel please Artie by singing the upbeat "Extraordinary Merry Christmas." As the kids excitedly prepare for their PBS special, they realize that it's happening at the same time as their originally planned visit with Sue to the homeless shelter. Sue is angered when Artie and the gang back out of their initial commitment.
The PBS "Glee Holiday Spectacular" kicks off with a Star Wars-inspired intro, followed by a Judy Garland-inspired black-and-white performance of "Let It Snow" by Kurt and Blaine. Rachel and Mercedes visit the boys and engage in some purposely corny holiday banter, followed by a performance of "My Favorite Things." Finn and Puck, dressed as Luke Skywalker and Hans Solo, join the group and sing "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town." Later, the Cheerios enter the fray and perform "Christmas Wrapping." Rory is then scheduled to read a selection from "Frosty the Snowman," but surprises everyone by reading instead from the Bible about the birth of Jesus.
At the homeless shelter, Quinn, Sam and Sue are surprised to see the rest of the gang arrive bearing a turkey. Artie explains that Rory helped the gang to remember the true meaning of Christmas. Sue watches with a smile on her face while New Directions and Will perform "Do They Know It's Christmas?" by Band Aid. Back at school, Rachel apologizes to Finn about her reaction to his gift. Finn nevertheless surprises her with two new gifts, including a deed to a star in the sky, as well as a pair of earrings. Rachel realizes that Finn really is all she wants and needs for Christmas. Later, the two get refunds on the gifts they bought each other and make a large donation to Christmas Cheer. They then join Rory and Sam to help ring bells and receive Christmas donations from the community.
What's there to hate about "Glee's" Christmas special? Well, it was tacky, corny, filled with typical holiday music and offered little-to-no advancements in terms of storyline. What's there to love about "Glee's" Christmas special? Pretty much everything. For the same reasons I could despise this holiday offering of "Glee," I've chosen to embrace the episode and celebrate it for what it was. Corny? Yes. Tacky? No doubt. But the show's celebration of Christmas, through its amazing musical performances and heartfelt focus on the true meaning of the holiday, made the episode shine bright. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
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- Mario Rocchetta