“How Lily Stole Christmas” begins with Lily putting up Christmas decorations around the apartment and Marshall covering his eyes to reward himself later for completing his law paper. After Marshall heads to the library, Lily finds an old answering machine and is encouraged by Ted to plug it back in. Ted explains he had to remove the answering machine during Lily and Marshall’s break up because it reminded Marshall of Lily. Lily becomes upset when she hears an old message from Ted telling Marshall to get over Lily because she is a “Grinch”, only Ted didn’t really say “Grinch”. Ted refuses to apologize because Lily broke Marshall’s heart and left him depressed. After talking to Robin and Barney, Ted returns to the apartment to apologize to Lily but she and the “Winter Wonderland” have vanished. Ted heads to Lily’s apartment to reason with her, leaving Robin to take care of a flu-ridden Barney.
Ted finds Lily and the “Winter Wonderland” at her apartment. Ted apologizes to Lily but she doesn’t believe him saying she knows his fake apologies. After Lily asks why he won’t forgive her for leaving Marshall, Ted exclaims it’s because she never apologized to him for leaving and refuses to apologize because she was being a “Grinch”. Knowing how much Marshall is looking forward to celebrating Christmas with Lily, Ted tells Lily he is going to spend Christmas Eve with his cousin, Stacy, in Staten Island so she can take the decorations back to the apartment for Marshall.Lily enters the apartment as Lily finishes putting the final touches on the “Winter Wonderland”. Marshall has Lily’s Christmas package in hand and informs her he spent his afternoon not at the library, but rescuing her Christmas present and delivering presents around the city. Lily opens her gift and to her amazement, is an Easy Bake oven. Lily tells how she always wanted and Easy Bake oven but never told anyone. Marshall confesses Ted remembered her telling him eight years ago in college causing Lily to feel guilty for banishing Ted to Staten Island.
We find Ted at his cousin’s house with her uber-religious family that doesn’t believe in giving presents. After being asked to say grace, Ted passes the responsibility to one of his cousin’s children and answers the doorbell. At the door is Lily, with a beer for Ted, and the rest of the gang. Marshall, Robin and Barney pretend to be carolers while Lily and Ted forgive each other. Lily even admits to being a “Grinch”.
“How Lily Stole Christmas” is actually a good episode because of the underlying message behind it, breaking off an engagement doesn’t just hurt your fiance but also your friends. Lily had to find out the hard way that she has to also make amends with Ted before she can start to put things back the way they were before. I like how “Aldrin Justice” reappears with Lily taking Ted’s Christmas away from calling her a “Grinch” and the subtle reference of Marshall as Kevin from “Home Alone II” was a joy.
But my favorite scene was when Robin took care of sick Barney. That scene was golden from Barney’s self loathing about looking like Ted to him screaming “I hate you” to Robin.