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It’s Jesus’ birthday on the Real Housewives of New Jersey, and Caroline celebrates with her diamond studded version of Silly Bandz, while Rich and Kathy celebrate with a six foot fried fish. The Gorgas and Guidices go head-to-head for the most modest Christmas ever, and the ever thoughtful Ashley forgets to buy gifts for Chris and Jacqueline. Plus, there’s an added supermodel cameo!

It’s a very juicy Christmas Eve dinner at the Guidices. The recently, and barely, repaired relationship between Teresa and her brother Joe is finally making headway, as he and his family are attending the melee. But wouldn’t you know it? The Gorga siblings’ horrible cousin Kathy has done the unthinkable…she’s invited Joe and Melissa to her house for Christmas Eve dinner as well. What’s such a popular couple to do? Well, attend both shindigs, of course, leaving Teresa forced to do what she does best–give her brother a guilt trip. She leads him into the dining room and shows him the place settings reserved for him and Melissa. Does the mean and hateful Kathy really want those seats vacant on Christmas Eve? Teresa and her brother are ALWAYS together Christmas Eve (newsflash, Teresa, he IS with you on Christmas Eve). Kathy is just a cousin, she can see Joe the day after Christmas. Boxing Day is a great day for cousins. Joe tries to play the peacemaker before he and his Gorgas peace out for Kathy’s dinner.

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Over at the Manzos, Caroline and her sister Cookie are preparing a feast for the masses. Caroline loves this dinner as it’s a time for family to come together in their holiday finest for food and fellowship. Caroline herself is wearing Giants couture. Uncle Lou, the oldest Laurita, gives a toast which captivates the dinner party…Chris Manzo feels compelled to text while he’s talking, while Jacqueline, who has no storyline this season, is moved to ask her husband Chris how he thinks the Guidice dinner is going.

Guilt tripping must be in the Gorga DNA, because as Joe and family are heading out the door, G to the IA is near tears, wondering why (oh God, WHY?) does her favorite uncle have to leave. Doesn’t he want his children to be able to play with their cousins? Meanwhile in the kitchen, the patriarch Gorga, who Teresa fears is in poor health and will be crushed by his son missing dinner, lays it on thick to an unimpressed Melissa. He never sees his grandchildren! He has come by their house three times to visit recently, and no one is ever home! Melissa impatiently reminds the old man that she is young and pretty and has a life…he needs to call first to make sure she is going to be home before stopping by unannounced. In pure old school form, Grandpa Gorga scoffs at Melissa. He doesn’t use phones.

At the happier dinner, Jacqueline is trying to convince a skeptical C.J. that she hears Santa’s sleigh bells. At eight-years-old, he’s sadly on the fence about the fat man in the red suit. Chris Manzo takes it upon himself to head outside and run around ringing some sleigh bells. Do you hear that C.J.? Yeah, it’s that guy running around outside ringing some bells. Not giving up so easily, Chris then lays down on the ground, partially hidden, in hopes C.J. can’t see all that well. No, no, C.J., there isn’t anyone running around outside. See? No one. But we can still hear the bells! It must be Santa! C.J. isn’t having it. No, mom, it’s probably that guy laying in the bushes with a set of bells. Chris nonchalantly strolls back into the house, and C.J. points at him, “That guy!”

Kathy’s dinner involves tequila and a giant sea bass, head intact. Wise choice, Gorgas. Kathy wants to know what Teresa’s reaction was when they left to come to the Wakile feast. Kathy doesn’t want to come between the siblings. They are all family and should all be together during the holidays, just like the fictional good old days. Did Teresa want them to stay at her house and not attend Kathy’s meal? Kathy totally would have understood had Joe and Melissa stayed at Teresa’s. She’s so laid back and easy going that, unlike Teresa, she doesn’t get worked up about such things.

Caroline is relishing in the family time and planning her big New Year’s Eve bash at the Brownstone. She asks Jacqueline and her sons’ opinion on adding the Gorga and Wakiles to the guest list. Caroline just loves her some Joe Gorga and Albert has been doing business with the Wakiles for ages. Chris Manzo (or was that Albie?) tells his mother that he’s already invited Joe and Melissa, and Jacqueline looks frightened…I swear I saw her forehead twitch. She tries to nip the impending Wakile invitation in the bud. Is she the only one who remembers how Teresa behaves at Brownstone events? Jacqueline thinks that Teresa isn’t quite ready to mend fences with cousin Kathy. Caroline icily reminds Jacqueline that it’s not Teresa’s party. It’s settled then, Kathy and Jeff Goldblum Rich will be invited. Chris Laurita tells his wife that she shouldn’t put herself in the middle of such situations, because it’s the more the merrier.

At the Wakile household, Melissa is coincidentally discussing she and Joe’s recent invite to ring in 2011 at the Brownstone. Kathy thinks it sounds like so much fun, but alas she and Rich weren’t invited. You can tell that the Caroline diss hurts way worse than just a regular diss…how she wants to be in with the Manzos! She doubts she and Rich will make the cut, what with Teresa being BFFs with the hostess. Melissa promises to meddle, I mean discuss, the possibility of everyone burying the hatchet to have a fun-filled NYE together.

Caroline gives her family the buddy bands infinity bracelets she has designed for Albert and the children. After explaining their significance, Lauren is especially moved, and the family of five wear their new bracelets in a unifying gesture.

Christmas morning brings us some home video footage of the Laurita family Christmas. There are a lot of vehicles under the tree, and shockingly none of them are for Ashley. Jacqueline’s feelings are hurt that Ashley didn’t think to get her or Chris a Christmas gift. She is, after all, twenty-years-old. It didn’t even need to be expensive, she could have made something herself. Ashley never gives her mom a gift for any milestones, but this year she blames her car expenses on the shaft.

At the Gorgas, Melissa reveals that she is willing to spend a lot of money for over the top gifts in honor of Jesus’ birthday…you know, much like they did in biblical times. As the kids open their massive array of gifts, I’m wondering when Melissa will have the forethought to remove her fur eye mask from atop her head. Apparently never. Joe gifts his wife with stripper heels, Louis Vuitton luggage, and a gold Rolex. Melissa is so excited, she straddles Joe in front of the tree. I think that answers the question, What would Jesus do…

At the Guidice’s marble compound, all four daughters pile onto a snoring Juicy. Juicy moves his shirtless snoozing to the sofa where he can prop up an arm to film the festivities. Teresa admits that due to their money issues, she and Juicy were forced to significantly pare down their normally lavish Christmas mornings. As tragic as it is, it’s a good way to teach the girls about the TRUE spirit of Christmas. It’s a modest Christmas indeed, with the four-year old super thrilled about her new Uggs, nine-year-old G to the IA marveling at her new ipod, and the three-year-old thrilled about her motorized Mercedes, because “We have a Mercedes, and Mercedes are awesome!” Is it just me or are these girls a tad young to know so much about brands? Don’t they have to wait until the rude awakening at age twelve when they realize they are the only girls in middle school who have never heard of Guess jeans with the ankle zipper? Maybe that was just me.

Kathy gifts Rich with a band to wear on his left ring finger, since he no longer wears his wedding band. Kathy explains that Rich says a wedding band actually attracts more women, because it makes them realize he’s such a keeper. Oh Rich. What a great explanation! Joseph and Victoria pooled their allowances to get their mom something special to help jumpstart her catering business. Both Rich and Kathy are in tears after their children read Kathy a very heartfelt note from the two of them. What is it? Oven mitts? A baking timer? Or perhaps a LAPTOP! Kudos to you, Victoria and Joseph. Ashley, are you paying attention??

The Manzo empty nesters are driving around reminiscing about the day that Albert proposed. He was so nervous that he just pulled over beneath an underpass and handed Caroline the ring, forgetting the all-important “down on one knee” gesture. Well looky here! Is this the same underpass? Sweet Albert parks the car, comes around to the passenger side, and hands Caroline her Christmas gift while down on bended knee. Awww! Caroline admits that she hasn’t been able to wear her original engagement ring for several years because she was so tiny when she first received it and it no longer fits. Albert took her original diamond and had it reset for her. What a sweetheart.

Not one to let some old guy overshadow him in the spousal gift-giving department, Joe has finished Melissa’s private recording studio, although he neglected to bling the microphone. Joe is thrilled to have “locked her in!” since now she won’t have to leave the house to pursue her dreams. Joe is curious as to what Melissa got him for Christmas. Here’s a hint…it’s NOT sex, as it’s what? Say it with me folks…Jesus’ birthday!

At the Guidice’s, a sick G to the IA is calling to her mother from the bathroom. The always couth Teresa, is like “are you on the toilet?” At sixteen, Gia is going to look back on this moment and be so thankful her parents invited Bravo into their home to capture these experiences. After some chamomile tea, Gia proceeds to sprint to the bathroom and vomit. Thanks again, Bravo. Teresa tells her daughter to smile for a picture. “But I just threw up,” complains G to the PUKEY. “Yes, and now you look pretty,” says Teresa. Way to plant the seed for a future eating disorder with that comment, Teresa. Juicy and Teresa discuss the Gorga divide that occurred at dinner the previous evening. Juicy calls Melissa a witch, stirs the pot a little more, and takes his man boobs back to bed.

The Manzos and Lauritas are heading to a concert, and Albie is worried that Chris will embarrass him in front of a girl who will be there. This incites Chris to resurrect Cajun voice. Good call after all the controversy it caused the first time around. Surprise, surprise…it’s not just any girl. It’s Alexa Ray Joel, daughter of Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley, and it’s her concert. Albie met her at a charity event and Caroline thinks they would be perfect together since they are both children of privilege. Cue Christie Brinkley cameo! Poor red-faced, tongue tied Albie has no game with the songstress, but Albert and Caroline are doing their best to woo her for their firstborn. Albert talks about her good genes and there is yet another gratuitous shot of her supermodel mom. Caroline is all about Alexa (one look at her Facebook fan page confirms it), and I have to say, I enjoyed her performance.

Next week, Caroline uses her radio show to preach making amends in the new year, while Teresa heeds her advice, telling Melissa that “anyone can be a singer” these days. At the Brownstone party, Ashley’s behavior has the Manzo boys concerned about the Brownstone’s liquor license, and a storm’s a’ brewing among the Wakiles, Gorgas, and Guidices.

WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT THE EPISODE AND THE RECAP? WAS TERESA’S BEHAVIOR ON CHRISTMAS EVE JUSTIFIED? SHOULD THE GORGAS HAVE STAYED AT TERESA’S? WHOSE CHRISTMAS FESTIVITIES WOULD YOU HAVE WANTED TO JOIN?

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