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Credit: Howard Wise/JPI

Clearly, the elves have been busy over at the Forrester mansion, because every inch of the place is decorated. And there’s plenty of mistletoe around, which gives Paris and Zende an opportunity to share a few smooches in front of the roaring fire. Everybody’s dressed to the nines as they catch up with one another. Eric’s famous eggnog is a hit, while Brooke, Quinn and Ridge discuss that Rick and RJ are skiing. While Brooke wishes they were home for the holidays, Ridge assures that everyone will be together for a video chat the next day.

Carter arrives and Quinn, hoping to head off trouble, starts to suggest to Brooke that “before one of us says something that’s going to set the other one off…” But Brooke interrupts to say they won’t, not today, and the women agree to a temporary cease-fire. Eric and Quinn take their turn smooching under the mistletoe while Zende, Paris and Carter worry that perhaps they shouldn’t stand so close to the fireplace given how potent the eggnog is. Everyone looks forward to watching the kids open their presents in the morning.

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Brooke and Ridge read Douglas and Beth a story before Eric arrives offering bubbly. Not to worry, he says, it’s non-alcoholic. “They say it’s just as good as champagne without actually being champagne,” he enthuses. (Yeah, right.) Brooke and Ridge each agree that you’d never know it wasn’t the real thing. (Foreshadowing, anyone?) Eric says how much he loves having a house filled with happiness and joy. “Here’s to tonight and all the memories we’ll make,” he says as everyone clinks glasses.

At the cottage, Douglas is excited to go up to the main house for carols and cookies. Hope assures the little boy that she’ll be joining them soon, but first she’s going to spend a little time with her dad, Deacon. When Liam and Douglas arrive at the main house, Carter assumes Hope is still unloading stuff from the car and rather than say, “Dude, we live on the property” Liam explains that Hope’s spending time with her dad. “Well, at least she didn’t invite Deacon here,” snipes Ridge.

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Deacon arrives at the cottage bearing gifts. Wanting the kids to like him, he suggests one should “never underestimate the power of bribery.” He gives Hope a present, and she feels back for not having gotten him anything. (Wait, what? Hope didn’t get the dad whom she’s willing to risk familial relationships with a present?) Deacon of course says she’s already given him the best gift ever by spending time together. Soon, he’s ready to leave so she can head up to the main house. “Give everyone my best,” he says, adding, “Well, everyone who’s receptive” to the idea. “So Mom, sort of?” asks Hope, and they laugh that yeah, that’s about it. “Give Brooke my best, quietly, maybe whisper,” he suggests. Hope and Deacon look forward the what’s ahead, and that maybe next year, it’ll be more normal.

Everything is happiness and light over at Steffy and Finn’s place… at least until Steffy mentions that “their final guest” will soon be arriving. Steffy’s still not convinced inviting Sheila was the best idea ever, and Thomas agrees. But Taylor explains that by giving Sheila a little bit of what she wants, it will keep her psychosis from blossoming. “Plus, it gives me a chance to study her in a safe setting,” the shrink adds. “She says she’s reformed. If she is, I’ll know.” And with that, Sheila arrives. Things immediately get awkward as she thanks Steffy for inviting her and Taylor for encouraging it.

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Steffy takes Sheila aside to warn that she should not plan on hanging around. “One drink is not going to stretch into two,” she says, agreeing to let Sheila spend a few minutes with Finn and Hayes before she has to vamoose. Finn comes over with a glass of wine and says that his dad — sorry, his biological dad — is somewhere trying to work things out with Li. Sheila is thrilled to finally be spending a holiday with her family, just as she’s dreamed of for years. (Wonder how the rest of Sheila’s children, who haven’t even been mentioned since she arrived, feel about being stood up for Christmas in favor of the new kid on the block?)

“Speaking of family,” says Taylor, ready to make an announcement to hers: She’s planning to remain in Los Angeles. Hayes wakes up, so Steffy goes to get the child. While she’s doing that, Sheila thanks Taylor for giving her a chance. “I was a different person back then,” insists Sheila. “We both were,” nods Taylor (wink-wink, nudge-nudge at the recast reference). Steffy emerges with Hayes and, though clearly reluctant, lets Sheila hold the baby. Taylor and Thomas watch from the sidelines, each clearly uncomfortable with the situation. For her part, Sheila grins from ear to ear.

Back at Eric’s place, he sits at the piano and sings with Douglas and Paris. Across the room, Liam asks his wife how her time with Deacon went. “It was everything I wanted and more,” she smiles. With dinner about to be served, Brooke toasts, saying she’s glad they can all put their differences aside for this one evening. Others chime in, saying how nice it is to celebrate peace and joy (“and to eat pie,” pipes up Douglas, saying, as Ridge suggests, “what everyone else is thinking.”)

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Thomas tells Finn about a camping trip he apparently went on at some point. Excusing herself, Sheila crosses the room and just happens to be perfectly positioned to overhear Taylor tell Steffy how much she wishes Ridge was there. But Taylor stops herself, saying, “I’m not going to do that today.” As the ominous music cues hints, however, Sheila has heard enough to put some very un-Christmasy thoughts into her head. As everyone prepares to eat, Sheila reads the room and says that it’s time for her to leave. She thanks everyone, especially Taylor, for including her. “This is a memory I am never going to forget,” Sheila says. “This is the best Christmas I’ve had in a long, long time.”

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Eric reminds his guests the true meaning of Christmas, saying they are there to remember the life and teachings of Jesus. “The spirit of Christmas can be every day,” he reminds them. Ridge says, “Treat people with kindness. With respect. Hold onto this feeling that we have right now and, I don’t know, make it part of who we are, always. That’s how we should deal with people, with this planet… if we can do that, we’re going to be fine.” (Anybody else kinda wish Deacon had walked in right then so we could see if Ridge managed to practice what he’d just preached?) With that, lovers kiss, kids open presents and everyone gathers around the piano to sing “Jingle Bells.”

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Next on The Bold and the Beautiful: Deacon is in a tough spot… between Brooke and Sheila!

As we continue to be impressed by how easily Krista Allen stepped into Taylor’s shoes, find out if she made our list of the 30 best recasts of all time via the gallery below! As an added bonus, see how you feel about who made the top 10… and who landed at the No. 1 spot.

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