Josh Radnor (Mercy Street)
Jason Segel (The Muppets)
Cobie Smulders (Agents of SHIELD)
Neil Patrick Harris (Starship Troopers)
Alyson Hannigan (Date Movie)
Bob Saget (Full House)
Cristine Rose (Heroes)
Harry Groener (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Michael Gross (Tremors)
Ted has decided to spend Christmas in his home this year with “his other family”. He doesn’t want to spend it with his mom and her new boyfriend, Clint; or his dad and his new ‘girlfriend’, microbrewing; or his super-religious cousin, Stacy, in Staten Island. While Lily decorates his apartment, Marshall says he must go to the law library to finish one last paper that is due that day. He refuses to look at any of the decorations as he leaves because the “winter wonderland” will be his reward for finishing the paper. After he leaves, Lily finds the old answering machine that was unplugged after Lily and Marshall broke up. Lily plays messages that are still on it, and hears a message from Ted to Marshall telling him to get over Lily. In this message, Ted calls Lily “a bad word…a very, very bad word” (implied to be either “bitch” or “cunt” – based on the fact that Ted has no problem with using a varied pronunciation of the word “bitch,” in his stories, it is more likely the latter) which is substituted in future Ted’s re-telling of the story with the word “grinch.”
Lily asks why Ted would call her that word, and Ted reveals that he was trying to get Marshall to stop idolizing Lily even after they had split during the summer, and told Marshall at the time if he did not stop putting her up on a pedestal, he would never get over her. Ted asks Marshall to tell him one thing wrong with Lily. Finally Marshall gives in and he does and follows with making jokes about Lily along with Ted and Barney at the bar. Ted tells Lily that he was just trying to help Marshall and he refuses to apologize to Lily because she was “kind of a grinch”.
At the bar, Ted is telling Robin and a progressively ill Barney about what happened, and realizes that he has to apologize to Lily. Ted brings a beer back up to the apartment to offer as an apology. When he opens the door, he finds that Lily has taken all the Christmas decorations away from their apartment. Ted wants to make sure the winter wonderland will be there when Marshall gets back from the library. Ted tries to call Lily but with no result. As Robin and a very sick Barney stack at the apartment Ted decides to go to Lily’s apartment to apologize. He tricks her into thinking he’s the pizza delivery guy so he’s able to get her to open the door to her tiny, crappy, cramped NY apartment. He says he’s sorry that he called her “a grinch”, but Lily works out that he is faking an apology, and is clearly still angry with her. She asks Ted why he won’t forgive her when she has already apologised to Marshall. He replies that she never apologised to him, and that her abrupt departure and lack of contact had hurt him as well. He and Lily get into another argument, when her power suddenly goes off, with Lily saying that Ted pissed off the “big man up stairs,” her super, that lives above her. He then tells Lily that she can take the decorations back to his and Marshall’s apartment because he’s going to visit his cousin’s family in Staten Island. Marshall comes back home to the apartment, claiming he blew off his paper, but he had been spending hours tracking down his gift for Lily. He finds the winter wonderland intact and no knowledge of what happened earlier in the day.
In the meantime, Robin insists upon taking care of Barney, who has caught a terrible cold. He whines about wearing sweatpants, not getting ice cream for dinner, and everything else he can until Robin spikes his tea with codeine. Marshall has brought a package with him, a present for Lily. He tells the story of how he went to the post office to find out why it hadn’t come in when it was supposed to. The lady tells him that the package is already on the truck headed to Poughkeepsie. Marshall runs the truck down and asks if he can have the package back. The driver says yes but that he’s running behind on his route so Marshall has to ride along. Marshall gets his package, but when the driver tells him that he won’t be able to deliver all of the packages in time for Christmas he decides to help out. Lily opens the package to find an Easy-Bake Oven, something she wanted since childhood, but never got because her feminist mom didn’t want her to conform to traditional gender roles, and gave her a Lego set instead. Since she has no idea how Marshall knew about her preferred item, he admits learning about it from Ted, whom Lily told her story to back in college. Marshall asks where Ted is and Lily tells him Staten Island.
At Ted’s cousin’s house, Ted is having a miserable time. Lily, Robin, Marshall and Barney arrive with an apology beer for Ted. Ted tells his cousin that it’s carolers to keep her from coming to the door. While the other three sing, Lily says she’s sick of apologizing and the two agree to skip straight to the forgiveness. Ted takes off after his cousin’s children overhear Lily say she “was kind of a grinch”, and they all begin to cheer “grinch!” over and over.It is great how they keep on finding ways to get Lily leaving Marshall back into the story and at the same time not only make it funny but also use it to make that part of the story less likely to hurt them later as all their friendships are just getting stronger.