In the Horton living room, Chad peers up at the Christmas tree. Bulb ornaments with Horton family members names hang from the branches.
Credit: Peacock screenshot

At night, Chad visits Abigail’s grave and sighs over Christmas without her. He’ll do his best to make it okay for the kids, but he misses her more every day, not less like some people expect. He tells her he’ll love her forever and lays pink and red flowers on her grave.

A hand touches Chad’s shoulder and he turns to see Jennifer. She hugs him. He says Abigail should be there to hang her ornament and help the kids hang theirs. She’s sorry she hasn’t been there more for him. Chad knows she had to take care of herself. Now that she’s clean, she feels less self-centered in her grief and more worried about him and the kids. He says focusing on work has helped him. When he suggests they go to Doug and Julie’s party, Jennifer tears up and wishes her daughter a Merry Christmas.

Jennifer and Chad embrace in the cemetery.

In his motel room, Xander reads an article about Ava “losing her marbles.” Gwen leaves the bathroom in all red ready for Doug and Julie’s party. She gifts him an ornament with his name on it for the Horton tree. A guilty-looking Xander doesn’t feel worthy of it. She lists her family members’ many wrong-doings, including those of Julie and Doug. So, he can’t say he’s not worthy.

When Maggie comes by to pick them up for the party and learns of Xander’s self-doubt, she tells him even Victor has an ornament. The Hortons weren’t thrilled at first, but they got over themselves when they realized how much she and Victor loved each other. Since Xander’s reformed, loves Sarah, and saved Bonnie, he’s one of the good guys now. Xander weakly smiles and bristles over talk of Bonnie’s clown trauma.

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Xander wears a gulity expression in his motel room.

Wearing a festive apron, Gwen sets the Horton House dining table as she talks with Leo on the phone. She tells him she didn’t have to help Xander after all, but she made sure he knew he owes her one. Thomas enters and asks, “Why does he owe you one?” Gwen hangs up and Thomas asks what Xander did for her. Gwen lies that she helped Xander pick out Sarah’s Christmas present, but it has to be their little secret.

In the Horton dining room, Gwen crouches down to Thomas.

In the Horton Living room, Doug talks on the phone with Hope, who is busy with ice skating students in Montreal, as Julie brings out the ornaments. After Julie talks to Hope, she bemoans all the family who are not there. Eli walks in holding Carver and pushing Jules in the stroller. She jumps up to greet them.

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On the Horton couch, Julie holds up her hands in excitement over Eli, who holds the twins in his arms.

Later, Julie asks how Eli managed to travel across the country with the twins on his own. He reports he’s learned to do a lot on his own since Lani went away. Jack brings in Charlotte, and they take Eli and the twins to the babysitter in the playroom. Eli returns and admits to Julie and Doug it’s been tough, even with Val around because she is no substitute for the twins’ mom. However, it’s not as bad as what Thomas and Charlotte are going through. At least Lani will be eligible for parole in a year.

Now that Eli and the twins are home, Julie can’t imagine this day getting any better. Chad walks with Jennifer and says, “You sure about that?” After retrieving Thomas from Gwen, Jack enters with his grandson and the boy runs to grandma’s arms. Jack’s thrilled to see his wife and they embrace. Meanwhile, Chad and Eli commiserate over having a tough Christmas. At least they have so many people that love them and the kids.

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In front of the Horton Christmas tree, a serious looking Eli faces Chad in the Horton living room.

After checking on the sleeping twins, Eli brings Charlotte back to the party. Upon hearing from Jack that Gwen’s setting out the desserts, an aghast Julie beelines it to the dining room. She finds Gwen putting out British Christmas pudding next to the donuts. When Gwen badmouths her donuts, Julie orders Gwen to show some respect. Gwen thinks she’s the one who deserves respect. If it weren’t for her, Jennifer would be in Statesville right now for running her over. Julie wonders if she plans to blackmail her over it. Gwen vows she’ll never say anything. Julie allows room for her bloody Christmas pudding, but there will never be room on the Horton tree for an ornament with her name on it.

Back in the living room, Xander, Sarah, and Maggie arrive. They greet Jennifer and then Eli, who welcomes Xander to the family. Xander knows he and Lani never had the highest opinion of him. Eli reminds him that all changed after he helped rescue the twins from Vivian. Eli will tell Lani how Xander changed his life and made Sarah a happy lady. Guilt washes over Xander once again.

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Julie grins as she hangs her ornament on the Christmas tree.

When Sarah heads to the foyer to grab a sweater upstairs, she sees Thomas. He hopes she likes the present Xander bought her. “Aunt Gwen helped him pick it out,” he adds. She asks what he’s talking about. Thomas heard Gwen on the phone say Xander owed her one.

Gwen comes to the living room and tries to fill Xander in, but a steely-eyed Sarah returns before she can. Then, the family starts singing O Come, All Ye Faithful and hangs the ornaments. Gwen watches wistfully, as Sarah and Xander hang their ornaments with Mackenzie’s. Sarah notices Gwen and Xander exchange looks and broods. After Chad hangs Abby’s, he hugs his kids.

Back at home, a stiff Sarah joins Xander in bed. He gives her his gift. She coldly eyes it and asks if it’s the gift Gwen helped him pick out. When Sarah explains what Thomas said, he lies that he ran into Gwen in the Square. She agreed to help him because he was clueless. She opens the box to lingerie. “This is what you and Gwen picked out for me,” she asks, glaring. “Merry Christmas?” Xander says shrugging.

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In bed a shirtless Xander grins at Sarah. Wearing a robe, she folds her arms and glares at a box with a bow on it.

Alone in the Horton living room, Chad looks at the angel tree topper and tells Abby got the kids gifts from her that he thought she would have gotten them. He hopes it helped them. A voice behind him says, “I’m sure it did.” He looks up at the angel and it’s gone. He turns and sees Abby. “You’re here,” he says. “I’m always here,” she responds. “You think a little thing like death is going to come between a love like ours?” She tells him he needs to be strong for himself as well as for the kids. There’s so much joy left for him to feel and she’ll be there every step of the way – with him and the kids. She encourages him to look for her in their faces. “Merry Christmas, my love,” she says. He closes his eyes and leans forward. When he opens his eyes, she’s gone and the angel is back on the tree. “Merry Christmas, my love,” he says.

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In the Horton living room, Abby grins. She wears a white top and light glints off her partially shadowed face.

Next on Days of Our Lives: John Aniston appears for the final time as Victor when the Kiriakis patriarch shares his thoughts on Sonny and Leo.

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