Brooke worked hard to convince Rick that he should go back to Paris to give Ridge space to deal with Phoebe's death. Rick said he could not run from what happened; no matter where he went, he would carry her death with him every day. Rick asked Brooke if she really thought that exiling Rick from his family would be a good thing. He suspected she was asking him to atone for his sins. Brooke replied that it was not punishment. She just felt that Rick needed time to examine the mistakes he had made and to make sure he didn't repeat them in the future. Brooke's relationship with Ridge was hard for Rick to watch, so Brooke thought it would be best for Rick to put some distance between them so he didn't have to watch the two of them together.
Rick finally agreed that some distance might be in order. He said he had to find peace, and it appeared he would have to go halfway around the world to find it. Rick said in Paris, he would not have to drive down the same road where Phoebe died and continually play the accident over and over in his head. His presence in L.A. would just be a constant reminder of the tragedy, he said. Rick said he didn't feel like he fit in at home anymore. Sadly, he also felt he would not fit in back in Paris, or anywhere he went. He said the memory of Phoebe would follow him wherever he went, forever.
Brooke was concerned about his demeanor and asked him if he really wanted to go. Rick said he hadn't been given a choice; it was clear he was not welcome at home anymore. Brooke reminded Rick that he was her son and would always be welcome in her home. Rick sarcastically said, "As long as Ridge isn't around." Brooke was afraid that Rick had misinterpreted their talk. Rick said he could not blame the family for wanting him to leave town, and broke down crying. Rick said he should have been the one who died. Rick admitted he was the one who had done things wrong, but Phoebe was innocent and paid the price. Phoebe did not deserve to die, Rick said. Brooke agreed that Phoebe didn't deserve to die, but also said that Rick should not blame himself. Phoebe's death was just an accident, Brooke said, and it was not Rick's fault. Rick asked why, if Brooke really believed that, he had to go. Brooke said he did not have to go and that she could not go through with it. She could not send her son away in his time of need. The two embraced and cried.
Brooke agreed to talk to Eric and Ridge and work out some deal so Rick could stay in town. She said no one should be alone on the holidays; Christmas was for giving and forgiving. She had faith that Ridge would come around.
The tree nursery arrived at Stephanie's with a giant Christmas tree. She apologized to Ridge for the bad timing and suggested she could get rid of it. Ridge said perhaps they could donate it to a homeless shelter. Stephanie asked if that was what he really wanted, and he switched gears. Ridge thought Phoebe would want the family to spend Christmas together, so they decided to keep the tree. Ridge said it would be wonderful, since his parents had reunited. He said the Forrester family was always at its strongest when Eric and Stephanie were together.
Ridge thought the family would benefit from some normalcy, so they planned a traditional family Christmas. Stephanie asked if Brooke would attend without Rick, and Ridge said yes. They had agreed to send Rick back to Forrester International, Ridge explained. Stephanie, ever the devil's advocate, said that just because they asked Rick to go back to Paris didn't mean he would actually go. Ridge said he had to go, because Ridge could not bear to face Rick every day after the tragedy with Phoebe.
Thorne arrived at Stephanie's and was surprised to see the tree. She explained that Ridge thought it was a good idea to leave it up, and for the family to try to spend Christmas together. Thorne cautioned her about getting her hopes up. He said Stephanie had a vision in her head of everyone standing around the piano singing and drinking eggnog, but that it might not work out that way. Stephanie said she and Eric had reunited, and the two of them would work to ensure that nothing bad happened to their family on the holidays. Thorne, however, was privy to the truth-that Eric went off with the intention of reconciling with Donna.
Unbeknownst to the rest of the family, Donna and Eric reunited and made love on the Forrester jet. Eric said Donna was the person who brought joy to his life when sorrow was surrounding him. He apologized for hurting her. Donna said she understood, and that after all, Eric believed that she had betrayed him. Donna said she was afraid Eric had stopped loving her. He said he tried to stop loving her, but he could not.
Donna emerged from the flight deck wearing the Captain's hat and not much else. Eric and Donna giggled and kissed like school children as they engaged in a sex fantasy starring Donna as a naughty flight attendant.
Eric said they had better go home; he needed to tell Stephanie he and Donna had reconciled. Donna urged him to wait until after Christmas. She said with Phoebe's death, his family would really need him to get through the holidays. Donna said it was her first Christmas with Marcus, and that Eric should be with Stephanie and his kids to mourn the loss of his granddaughter. She assured him they would have the rest of their lives to spend Christmas together. Eric said he had reconciled with Stephanie based on a lie, and since he was armed with the truth, he had to tell Stephanie what had happened. Eric said he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Donna. Donna beamed and simply said, "Okay."
Ridge arrived at Brooke's and asked her if she had talked to Rick. She said he did and that he agreed to go. Brooke explained that Phoebe's death had caused Rick to question the kind of man he was. Ridge said if Rick didn't question himself, he would not be any kind of man at all. Brooke expressed concern for Rick and said he seemed depressed. Ridge said a change of scenery would do Rick good. Brooke said she didn't want Rick to go. Ridge said he understood, but that every time he saw Rick, he saw his daughter's body lying in a ditch, and he could just not live that way.
Brooke said exiling Rick to another country would not help Ridge with his grief. She said she just could not, on good conscience, send her son away to be all alone after what he had been through. Brooke said Ridge looked at Rick and saw the man he believed was responsible for his daughters' death. Brooke said she looked at Rick and saw her son, who was very fragile and had been through a tragedy. She said they could work it out so that Rick and Ridge never had to run into one another, but Rick was her child and she needed to help him through his guilt, grief and loss. Brooke said if Rick were in Paris, she would not be able to help him. She asked Ridge to try to understand. He said no, he could not understand. Brooke reminded Ridge that he was the one who always said their love could survive anything. She asked him to promise they would survive this tragedy, too. Ridge did not answer, and Brooke began to cry.
At Stephanie and Eric's home, the Forrester family prepared to celebrate Christmas. Stephanie told Eric that the traditional gathering was what Ridge had requested to help him get through Christmas while grieving his daughter, Phoebe.
At Nick's house, Donna, Brooke, and Katie gathered for Christmas. Nick left "on a mission" with baby Jack. The three Logan sisters talked about how they missed Phoebe. They agreed that they did not know how Taylor would get through the Christmas holiday while grieving Phoebe. Donna commented to Katie that she believed that Nick had found the right person in his relationship with her.
While at Nick's, Donna had a telephone conversation with Eric. He promised her that they would never be apart at Christmas again. Donna understood that he did not want to inform Stephanie about his and Donna's reunion as a couple until after Christmas was over.
Nick returned home with his mother and baby Jack. He explained that they had gone to the hospital to distribute gifts to the sick children. Nick commented that he wanted to give something back to the hospital that had saved both Jack and Katie's life. Later, Nick, Katie, and baby Jack celebrated Christmas together as a family.
Brooke, Ridge, Bridget, Felicia, Thorne, Thomas, Steffy, and the younger children all arrived at the Forrester family Christmas gathering. Steffy mentioned to Ridge that Taylor was not with them because of her poor state of mind from grieving Phoebe, and did not want to be around other people. The general consensus amongst them was that Taylor should not be alone.
Meanwhile, at Phoebe's gravesite, Rick spoke to her and blamed himself for her death. He told her that it should have been him that had been killed in the accident instead of her. Taylor quietly arrived and listened to what Rick said to Phoebe. She let Rick know that she was there and told him that they all could think of a hundred reasons to blame themselves for Phoebe's death.
Rick left the gravesite to give Taylor time alone with Phoebe. He went to his father's home, although he felt he was not welcome there. When Rick arrived at the house, he asked Eric to distribute his Christmas gifts to the children. Eric asked Rick to stay. He advised Rick that there would be no hatred from anyone. He advised that it was his family and Rick had as much right to be with his family and people who supported him as Taylor did.
When Steffy noticed Rick's arrival at the Forrester home, she immediately became agitated and started to say that Rick was responsible for her sister's death. Bridget took Steffy aside and informed her that she had conducted DNA testing from tissue found underneath Phoebe's fingernails and that the DNA matched Rick's DNA. Bridget pointed out that the DNA was proof of the account that Rick had told them. He had stated that Phoebe had physically attacked him while he was driving the car and caused him to lose control of the vehicle. Steffy had no remark for Bridget's revelation.
Ridge located Taylor at Phoebe's gravesite. He consoled her and they grieved together. He told her that Phoebe was not at the gravesite; she was at the Forrester home watching the Christmas celebration with the rest of her family. Ridge convinced Taylor to go back to the Forrester celebration with him. When they arrived, the family was singing a Christmas song accompanied by Eric, who played the piano for them. Hope explained to Taylor that she had made a star for Phoebe. Taylor commented that she was happy by what Hope did. She told Hope that Phoebe was there sharing the celebration with them.
Katie informed Nick that Jack had fallen asleep. Nick asked Katie if she called Brooke. He said he was supposed to take Jack over to her house before the end of the night. Katie said if Brooke realized Jack was asleep. She was certain Brooke would not want them to wake him. Brooke could see Jack in the morning Katie said. Katie added that Nick wanted to see Jack open his gifts Christmas morning anyway.
Katie spoke to Brooke and Brooke agreed to pick Jack up in the morning. Nick and Katie were happy for the quiet time they had to themselves and exchanged gifts. Nick told Katie no more Nerf basketball; they were headed for a real court. He gave her a pair of white sneakers and they discussed all the implications of the color white. The topic of wedding dresses arose, and Nick pulled out a gift and said he brought a back up just in case the first gift bombed. It was a beautiful ring, and Katie began to cry.
Nick joked that women always cried when he gave them rings. He said he had been married several times before without success, and if Katie refused his proposal and ran for the door, he would understand. Katie said yes, and accepted his proposal. There was nothing she wanted more in the world than to spend a life with Nick and Jack.
Taylor thanked Hope for the star she made for the tree in memory of Phoebe. Hope was sad and wished that Phoebe was still there. Brooke explained that Phoebe was still with the family, but just in a different way. Phoebe lived on in their hearts and memories, Brooke said. Taylor fought back the tears and said there had been enough crying. Christmas was a celebration and she wanted the family to go on with the traditions Phoebe had always loved like making popcorn chains for the tree and singing around the piano.
Steffy instructed the family to stop eating the popcorn or they would run out before they made the chain. The grandkids teased Eric when he suggested popping more corn over the fire and asked him if he had ever heard of a microwave. Stephanie looked at Eric adoringly as he played with the grandkids. She commented to Thorne that Eric was the biggest kid in the room. Thorne reminded Stephanie that Eric loved her and that no matter how things turned out, Eric would always hold a place for Stephanie in his heart. Stephanie looked puzzled but thanked him for saying it.
Ridge made a heartwarming speech to the family. He mentioned that the family had endured a heartbreaking tragedy, but wished the miracle of Christmas to bring peace to everyone in the room. Rick personally thanked Ridge for his words. Rick explained to Ridge that he understood how Ridge felt about him. Rick knew without Ridge's refusal to press charges, he would be in jail for Christmas instead of with his family.
Taylor made a brief speech to the family. She thanked God for them and said Phoebe would be happy they had gathered together to celebrate the holidays. Taylor continued that Christmas could have been the 2nd worst day of her life, her first one without Phoebe, but instead, with love and support from her family, she actually felt joy for the first time since Phoebe died.
Everyone hugged and wished each other a Merry Christmas, and gathered around the piano and sang ‘Joy to the World'.
Due to the Christmas holiday, today's episodes of your favorite CBS Daytime soaps -- The Young and the Restless, The Bold and the Beautiful, As the World Turns, and Guiding Light were not shown.
Regular programming will resume on December 26, 2008, and there will be no "lost" episodes as a result of the holiday pre-emption.
Stephanie attempted to pit Ridge against Brooke by playing on his hatred towards Rick. Thinking that Eric had arrived for their secret rendezvous, Donna opened the door to her worst nightmare. Pamela appeared. An argument about Rick's fate prompted Eric to explain to Stephanie about Thorne's botched scheme to break him and Donna up. Knowing where the conversation was headed, Stephanie didn't mince words when she bluntly asked if he was leaving her. Rick's life took another drastic turn when he was visited by Steffy and they shared a kiss.