While Emma prepares for the traditional Snyder Christmas, Brad makes his excuses and tries to duck out of the festivities. Emma takes him aside and tells him he needs his family right now. Brad tells her he'd rather be alone, where people don't know or care what a fool Katie made of him. Emma hugs him and gives him her blessing. But she asks one favor---taking Jack's presents for the kids to Carly's house.
Barbara turns the corner at the cemetary, toting a bouquet of flowers to put on Jennifer's grave. She stands in shock when she notices a stranger kneeling beside her daughter's headstone. Darryl turns around, wiping tears from his eyes, and addresses her. He didn't think anyone was watching, he says. Barbara admits that she just got here and kneels down beside him, placing the bouquet beneath the headstone. She watches as Darryl sadly runs his fingers across the date of her birth and the date of her death. He comments through tears how he's a curse. Anything he touches, dies. First, it was Carolyn. Then, it was Carrie. He killed her spirit, he explains. And now, Jennifer.
Carly grabs a bag of presents and some of Parker's hand-me-downs to take to Rosanna. Brad drops by with Jack's presents, and apologizes for trying to kiss her. Carly tells him if he ever tries to do that again--drunk or sober--he'll be playing Jingle Bells on a necklace of his teeth. Brad laughs, and Carly tries to send him on his way so she can visit Rosanna. Brad stalls, inviting himself inside, and ends up playing video games with the kids. Jack calls the kids to wish them a Merry Christmas, telling them he misses them, but not the snow. When Jack hangs up without talking to her, Brad notices how upset she is and tries to console her.
Barbara brushes a tear from her own face and sniffles that he didn't do anything. Jennifer died suddenly and quickly; there was nothing he could have done. Darryl clenches his hands tight, forming a fist, and grits his teeth. He should have been here, he reasons. But instead, he was wasting his life away. Babara comments that she doesn't know what happened to him or Carrie when they left, but whatever it was, he needs to quit beating himself up over it. Now in a bundle of rage and grief, he explodes that because of his drug habit, he made Carrie lose something very special. And she'll never get that back.
Carly blows Brad off, and lets the kids open Jack's presents. Parker gets a new snowboard, JJ a pair of hockey skates and Sage riding boots. There's one box left---addressed to Carly. It's a star ornament, and a certificate with the coordinates of a star named in her honor. Later, Carly manages to sneak out to the Wagon Wheel. The sisters embrace and wish each other Merry Christmas. Rosanna thanks her for all her help, and for bringing Cabot presents for his Christmas morning. Carly gives her a stocking with Cabot's name embroidered on it, and Rosanna laments she hasn't anything to give Carly. Carly tells her they'll share her present---her own private star to wish on. As soon as Carly leaves, Paul asks Rosanna what their next move is; it won't be long before Craig comes looking for them. Rosanna smiles that she doesn't know and she doesn't care right now. All she cares about right now, she gushes, is spending Christmas with her son. Paul smiles as he watches Rosanna sing "Jingle Bells" to Cabot. The toddler delightfully rips open his presents that his Aunt Carly brought, smiling ear to ear. Rosanna looks down at Cabot and smiles. "It's so good to have you home", she tells him. She looks up at Paul, both smiling, and they turn their attention back to Cabot as he admires his presents.
Carrie thanks Noah for letting her stay the night with him at Lucinda's guesthouse. Noah surmises that it was no trouble at all; she needed a friend and he was there. Carrie fumes that Barbara had no right to do what she did. Darryl has been out of her mind for years and suddenly, Barbara gets a heart and decides that bringing him to town would be beneficial to their relationship? She scoffs. Noah reveals that he really doesn't have any family in Oakdale and was hoping that she would spend Christmas Day with him. But only if she wants to, he adds. Carrie smiles and says that she'd like that very much.
Clark comes in and announces his arrival to Emma. She's happy to see him and tells him to make himself at home. Meanwhile, Lily informs Holden that Lucinda is running late. Emma overhears and asks Holden about it. Bewildered by his mother's interrogation style questions, Holden seems confused. He thought Lucinda and Emma were getting along fine. Emma chuckles and says that they are; she was just wondering how many places to set at the table. Holden, Lily, Lucinda, Brad, Alison, Luke, Jade, Aaron, and all the kids filter in around the table and say grace before diving into a scrumptious turkey. After dinner, Jade approaches Lily and thanks her for everything that she's done since she's been back. Lily brushes the hair from her niece's face and smiles that she's so proud of the progress Jade has made since the last time she was in town. Rose would be proud of her, too. Both women hug.
Kim opens the door and sees Darryl and Barbara on the other side. She smiles big, spreading her arms wide for a hug. She pulls Barbara aside and asks what Darryl's doing back in town. He's here on business, she whispers, but he's leaving in a few hours. She thought that he could use a little Christmas cheer. As Nancy asks Darryl about his life since he left Oakdale, Barbara can tell something isn't right with him. His face is beet red and he's shaking vigorously. Darryl chalks it up to bad nerves and Barbara seems satisified with his excuse. Later, Barbara wishes him well and walks him to his car. He'll never be able to thank her enough for trying to mend his relationship with Carrie, but some wounds are too deep, he winces. Will approaches and issues his apology for being late; he thought he would get to see Hallie since it's Christmas, but Gwen wouldn't return his calls. Barbara gives him a sympathetic peck on the cheek and introduces him to Jennifer's father. Will mubles that he's heard of him before. Hostile, he asks Darryl why he decided to come to town and mend a relationship with a daughter that won't even look at him, but yet he never showed his face when his other daughter was on her death bed. Darryl explains that he didn't want to cause any more grief. Will starts to open his mouth again to hurl insults at Darryl, but Barbara reminds him it's Christmas. She urges him to go in; she'll be right there. Now alone again, Barbara hands Darryl a check, reminding him that she promised to repay him for his travels if he came. Darryl takes the check and kisses Barbara on the cheek.
In the kitchen, Emma confronts Clark about him staring at Lucinda the whole time. Clark apologizes, but something deep inside of him tells him that he's seen her before. She's a prominent businesswoman, Emma shrugs. Maybe he knows her from past business deals. Clamed by Emma's observation, Clark still can't help feeling like he knows Lucinda. Across the room, Aaron asks Alison if they're going to Susan's next. She nods yes, but she has to make a stop first. Aaron agrees to wait on her. Later, Alison shows up to Casey's and gives him a Christmas present: a rock CD that he had been wanting. Alison asks if Gwen has stopped by yet, but Casey shrugs that he hasn't seen her in weeks. A double date is in order, she reminds him. New Year's Eve at Donovan's would be perfect, she smiles. Casey eventually agrees after some convincing and Alison leaves.
A knock at the door startles Noah and Carrie from their pleasant watching of "It's A Wonderful Life". Noah opens the door and finds Darry pacing back and forth outside. Carrie groans as Darryl asks to speak with her outside. Noah reminds her that she doesn't have to do this if she doesn't want to. Carrie heads outside and has a heated exhange with her father. She told him that she never wanted to see him again, she reminds him. What part of that wasn't understandable? Darryl acknowledges that he made some mistakes, but he thought he owed her enough to at least come and say goodbye. Carrie hisses that the only thing he deserves is a 6x6 cell. Hurt, he asks her why she is still so bitter. Tears now making her eyes puffy, Carrie furiously sobs that he knows what he did; he pawned off her baby to support his own drug habit. That's not a father, she adds. That's a low life scum who deserves to rot in hell. Darryl reminds his daughter that he's clean now, but Carrie scoffs. He's feeming so bad right now he can't even see straight. Carrie whirls around and storms back in, locking herself in the bathroom while Noah implores her to come out. Later, Darryl stops in a dark alley and hands some money to a thug. Tying a turnicut around his arm, he loads the needles and taps it lightly. He winces as he pierces his vein with a needle. Rocking his head back and sighing orgasmically, he waits for the heroin to kick in. He staggers to his car and gets in, pushing the accelerator and driving into the cold, dark night.
Across town, the Perettis say grace and pass around the Christmas feast. Margo comments how wonderful it was to hear from Adam and Lien. She's just sorry that they couldn't be here. Shoving her mashed potatoes into her corn, Katie stares at her fork as it swirls around the plate. Lyla pats her on the back. It won't hurt like this forever, she reminds her. We all make mistakes and then we're given a new year to make new ones. Each year, we learn from previous ones and look to learn from others. Katie hugs her mother as Margo looks on disgruntled. Changing the subject, Margo can't help but wonder what this Christmas would be like if they were all together, Craig included. Lyla tears up at the mention of her son's name. Later, they all drink egg nog and look out at the stars. Lyla sees a shooting star and Katie tells her to make a wish on it. Those never come true, Lyla amusingly giggles. Just as Lyla closes her eyes to make a wish, the doorbell rings. Everyone looks around, confused as to who it might be. Margo calls out that she'll get it and opens the door, revealing Craig on the other side. A thud permeates the silence and everyone looks to see Lyla has fainted. "Am I too late for some egg nog", Craig asks. Weary and slightly dirty, he smirks. Everyone rushes to Lyla's side to fan her back into conciousness.
As the whole cast gathers around the Christmas tree in Carly's Milltown house, the whole cast sings "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing". As the song comes to a close, Helen Wagner addresses the audience: "Merry Christmas. From our family to yours."
SPECIAL NOTE: "A New World Turns" is pre-empted on December 25th and 26th. Merry Christmas!