Days of Our Lives Review for the Week of 12-18-23: A Sentimental Christmas Eve Honors the Past


    I didn’t have high hopes for the Christmas Eve episode this year. Days of Our Lives has made Christmas an afterthought too many times, and the promo suggested a small affair full of people who had nothing to do with the Hortons.

    But the Christmas Eve celebration on Days of Our Lives during the week of 12-18-23 was much more in the holiday spirit than I’d expected. The flashbacks of Alice and Tom and Julie’s thoughts about how they’d have felt about the size of their once-small family made this one of the best Horton Christmas stories.

    There were some hiccups (somehow Julie called Roman to order pies for extra guests that she didn’t know were coming) and some notable absences — where were the Deverauxes or Maggie’s other children and grandchildren? But the emphasis on family and love was what viewers needed this holiday season.

    Horton Christmas 2023 - Days of Our Lives

    Christmas can be a bittersweet time for people who have lost loved ones, and Days of Our Lives captured that perfectly through Julie’s emphasis on Tom and Alice.

    Christmas was their holiday, so Julie would naturally miss her grandparents this time of year.

    The flashbacks also solidified the link between the generations. Julie and Doug were once the beloved younger generation who visited Tom and Alice for Christmas, but now they’re the family matriarchs entertaining children and grandchildren of their own.

    Most of the action took place at the Horton House, and people put aside their differences for the sake of the holiday. This is also a Days of Our Lives tradition; Christmas is almost always a break from the drama, and Jennifer once invited Theresa even though the two couldn’t stand each other.

    Doug and Julie’s asides about the guests were often hilarious and helped move the story along.

    Maggie: I’ve been an honorary Horton as long as I can remember.
    Julie: Maggie! There’s nothing honorary about it. YOu married in. You’re one of us. And we Hortons stick together like glue. If you hurt one of us, you hurt all of us.

    They were quietly protective of Maggie, too. Even though this was a Christmas episode, there was plenty of story movement as several people voiced suspicions of Konstantin.

    Will Nicole Get Caught? - Days of Our Lives

    I loved the quiet, subtle way that Doug and Julie put him on notice. Xander did the same, but what happened after he suggested that Konstantin might have been involved with kidnapping baby Victoria?

    The story moved onto another scene, and later, Xander and Sarah talked about Konstantin, but if the Greek troublemaker responded to Xander’s accusation, it was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment that I missed.

    That felt like a loose end. Surely, Konstantin has some stupid plan in mind to neutralize Xander now.

    I’m glad Chad and Stephanie put aside their differences for the kids’ sake. It wasn’t right for Stephanie to disappear into thin air; it’s bad enough we’re dealing with the fallout from a similar situation on Neighbours without both my soaps having a story like that!

    What's Wrong With Paulina? - Days of Our Lives

    The kids needed closure and reassurance that Stephanie would continue to be a part of their lives, and that was the best Christmas present — even if Thomas’ reaction to not being able to open his real Christmas present was entirely unrealistic.

    Do the writers have kids? A child who meekly accepts being told to wait to open presents and doesn’t even try to shake or prod the gift to see what it is is rare.

    Everett and Chad managed to be civil with each other, too. Chad is acting more mature now that he and Stephanie have broken up.

    While this felt like a split for the sake of drama, it also seemed like without the pressure of a relationship hanging over their heads, Chad and Stephanie are much more able to act like decent human beings.

    What's Wrong With Paulina? - Days of Our Lives

    But what the heck was the point of Everett coming to Christmas Eve? He didn’t do much but stand around and walk Stephanie home when the party ended. He might as well have stayed home.

    His presence was also the set-up for the best in-joke that never happened. Doug or Julie could have felt bad that he couldn’t participate in their ornament hanging and asked him to hang Nick’s ornament so he could be involved.

    I also don’t know how I feel about Everett being the first Jewish character Days of Our Lives has had since Robin Jacobs in the late 1980s.

    On the one hand, I’m glad that the series finally acknowledged that not everyone is Catholic. That’s felt unrealistic for the last several years. And it’s crucial to include Jewish characters on TV now when anti-semitism is hitting highs not seen since Germany in the 1930s.

    Stephanie Storms Out - Days of Our Lives

    But Everett isn’t an upstanding citizen, at least not so far.

    He gives off stalker vibes, has used at least two different names, and returned to Salem with a most likely made-up story about having been in a coma for the last several years. Making a sleazy, dishonest character the only Jewish character in Salem reinforces stereotypes at a time when the opposite is needed.

    Days of Our Lives did this once before by suggesting Anne Milbauer might be Jewish. While she was only Jewish-coded and not explicitly a member of the religion, it sent that same negative message.

    To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with having some Jewish characters who are shady or obnoxious.

    Making everyone who is a member of a marginalized group squeaky clean is as bad as making them all evil. But when there is only one Jewish character, giving them a lot of negative traits reinforces stereotypes.

    Stefan Gets Disturbing News - Days of Our Lives

    Maybe Everett will surprise me and be entirely on the up-and-up. I hope so, though that weird coma story makes so little sense that I doubt it. And what’s up with him using the name Bobby to wed and then divorce Jada?

    I’m eager for Jada and Everett to cross paths.

    Jada is not that interesting a character right now — she’s stuck in a non-story about how she doesn’t want to move in with Rafe yet, and he accepts her choice. (Though giving her a set of house keys for Christmas comes close to crossing a line when she said she doesn’t want to move in with Rafe.)

    Bobby/Everett’s existence could shake that up, so let’s get on with it.

    Sarah Supports Maggie - Days of Our Lives

     Theresa was able to celebrate Christmas Eve with Tate and Brady, but no one knows the bullet she dodged — or is she still in trouble?

    Andrew visited briefly, not to spend time with his family for Christmas, but to inform Theresa that he knew she had kidnapped baby Victoria.

    After a ridiculous half-truth about how she helped Konstantin with this so that he could impress Maggie, Andrew agreed not to tell on Theresa if she cut ties with Konstantin.

    Surprise, surprise (NOT!), Konstantin immediately called and threatened Theresa — and we don’t know what happened next because the writers didn’t share it with us.

    The intelligent thing to do would have been to tell Andrew that Konstantin is bothering her,  but Theresa likely won’t do that. She’s too afraid of the truth coming out, even though Konstantin was the one who did the actual forgery.

    Maggie Struggles To Get Into The Christmas Spirit - Days of Our LIves

    Ironically, Brady’s comments about Theresa being a gold digger would have been off-base, even if he knew the full story. She didn’t forge the letter because she wanted to marry Alex for his money. She did it because she thinks he’s more deserving than Xander.

    But no one will see it that way when the truth finally comes to light, especially not Brady and Alex. Theresa will likely be a pariah on par with Nicole and those shredded documents in 2014.

    Tate’s becoming a strong character who isn’t afraid to stand up to users like Holly or his parents when they’re acting like children. Let’s hope he sticks to his resolve about Holly even after Theresa’s pep talk.

    Holly sank to a new low with her drunken call to Johnny.

    It was sad that no one remembered her birthday — and I don’t find it believable that Nicole would leave town without acknowledging it, no matter how depressed Nicole was — but people helping themselves to alcohol the second something goes wrong is a tired soap trope that needs to go.

    Andrew Returns to Salem - Days of Our Lives

    If Johnny didn’t think Holly was into him before, he should now, after all that talk about how she’s now legally able to consent to sex.

    I’m also tired of this pattern where Johnny continually ditches the woman he’s with to take care of someone else’s needs. Chanel’s mother in the hospital should have taken priority, especially after discovering Holly passed out.

    Once Johnny made sure she was not at risk of choking on her vomit, he should have headed back to the hospital instead of sitting there doing nothing.

    Paulina’s story seemed like a public service announcement about cancer screenings. I’m not a fan of these types of uber-realistic terminal illness stories, so let’s hope that she doesn’t have a serious illness, especially not during the holidays.

    Another Stroll Down Memory Lane - Days of Our Lives

    Several DAYS vets gathered for a pre-Christmas dinner where they strolled down memory lane. I loved the flashbacks and the friendship — these kinds of scenes used to be the backbone of life in Salem, but they’ve been MIA recently.

    John: You know, if you’d told me back then that decades later we’d all be sitting around swappinn’ memories as lifelong friends…
    Roman: THose were some hard times back then.
    John: As you know, I didn’t have any memories of before I was John Black. I’m just so glad that I found my real father and know I come from good people and am not related to that monster Yo Ling. That John Black, he is one damn lucky guy.

    I’d have preferred more flashbacks from years ago, though. John and Marlena got some good ones. I especially loved the charm bracelet flashback. But Kate’s flashback was from only a year ago, and there was only one Steve/Kayla flashback.

    Focusing on John’s past seemed like a set-up for some future story. I hope they don’t undo Dick Van Dyke being John’s dad.

    Abe was also conspicuously absent from these scenes. He could have related to John’s lack of memories from the past, and he’s been an important member of this group of friends for years. So where was he?

    Maggie's Surprise Date - Days of Our Lives

    I wish Nicole had gotten her baby back for this year’s Christmas miracle instead of Sloan threatening her and EJ believing that Nicole has lost her mind.

    But if Santa could bring viewers just one present, it would be to end this ridiculous Stefan/Ava storyline. 

    It’s bad enough that these two seasoned mobsters can’t figure out how to deal with Clyde’s weak-sauce threats. But now Harris shared a drunken kiss with Stephanie solely to give Ava an excuse to break up with him.

    Ava breaking things off won’t stop Harris from investigating where drugs are coming from. If anything, this was a self-defeating move because if Harris is involved with Ava, he’s less likely to want to believe she’s behind the drug trade. Plus, he might feel a certain loyalty to the relationship.

    Now, he has no reason not to throw the book at Ava if he finds out the truth. Listening to Stefan was a terrible idea.

    Your turn, Days of Our Lives fanatics. Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know what you thought of the Christmas episode and the lead into it.

    For more Days of Our Lives chat, check out the latest Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion post, updated on Sunday.

    Days of Our Lives streams exclusively on Peacock. New episodes drop on weekdays at 6/5c.

    Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on X.

    Originally Posted Here

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