Give a ho-ho-ho for the Housewives! Since we're right in the midst of the holiday season, I decided for this week's feature to take a special look back on all the times the 'Wives have celebrated good tidings of great joy (and even greater drama) throughout the history of the franchise. So bust out your sleigh bells and sugar plum fairies because it's time to send Old Saint Andy back on his way through the Christmases of Housewives past...
RHONJ Season 3/Episode 8 - Holidazed and Confused
The holiday season took up the bulk of the middle part of New Jersey's third season, with Christmas alone taking up four episodes. The first episode kicked off at the conclusion of Teresa and Melissa's very first tentative truce. To launch the busy holiday social calendar, Jacqueline Laurita was hosting a cocktail party and invited Melissa and Joe as a ceremonial olive branch on behalf of Teresa. There were still no Wakiles allowed on the guest list, but it was a tiny step of progress. Meanwhile, the Giudices' legal problems were just beginning and when Teresa went off in court at bit player Monica Chacon (Joe's ex-partner's lawyer's wife), the aftermath was far from pretty. As a note, this was also the first time we heard "On Display."
At the Lauritas' low-key cocktail party, most of the 'Wives managed to be in the same room together without any table-flipping or literal brawling. As Jacqueline began to point out, the Gorgas didn't seem so bad...maybe they could all actually have fun together! The party consisted of lots of bubbly drinks, sparkly dresses, courtroom reenactments and Joe dressing up in Jacqueline's sequined, spaghetti-strap jumpsuit. By the end of the night, Melissa was inviting everyone to HER Christmas party - hoping that everyone could keep the good times rolling without any of Teresa's eye-rolling.
RHONJ Season 3/Episode 9 - Twas the Fight Before Christmas
The next episode focused on the Gorgas' charity Christmas party for children with cancer. At the party, Kathy tried to extend an olive branch to Teresa (remember, the two hadn't spoken since Kathy's infamous "unattended" comment at the Posche Fashion Show), which was handedly shut down by Tre with a "Oh so now it's good to see me?" Melissa took Kathy's side as she retreated to lick her wounds, but almost immediately Melissa's brother-in-law decided to confront Joe Giudice about a sum of money he supposedly owed him, which had the hostess rushing to put out a second fire. Then, for the party's grand reveal, Teresa's nemesis Kim G. waltzed in with none of than...Monica Chacon! Desperate for camera time, much? Clearly the unofficial Friend of the Housewives came to the party looking to cause trouble, but the Housewives effectively circled the wagons, with Melissa and Joe eventually kicking the uninvited plaintiff in the Giudices' lawsuit out of the party and Jacqueline standing up to her neighbor on behalf of her then-BFF.
RHONJ Season 3/Episode 10 - There Arose Such a Clatter
The impending fight between the 'Wives and Kim G. bled over into the next episode, with matriarch Caroline eventually joining the fray in an attempt to stop the nonsense. Accusing Kim G. of coming to the party with the intent to cause hurt, she laid down the law and actually kicked the troublemaker out of the party - in a home that wasn't even hers! Chris Manzo emerged in the end as the fight's primary collateral damage, considering that Kim G. was the mother of his best friend Johnny. However, once Mama Manzo starts laying down the law, there's basically no stopping her. For Christmas Eve, Teresa and Kathy throw dueling parties - leaving Melissa and Joe feeling caught in the middle. Traditionally, they always spent Christmas Eve at Teresa's, but with the entire Giudice family there, they weren't so keen on breaking bread so soon after the christening disaster. As yet another peace offering, Melissa makes sure to bring pignoli cookies to Teresa's rather than the Italian sprinkle cookies that got thrown in the trash the year before. However, Joe Giudice wasn't even close to being on his best behavior, trashing Melissa behind her back all night and calling her a "raccoon face witch."
RHONJ Season 3/Episode 11 - A Very Jersey Christmas
In the end, the Gorgas decided to stay at Teresa's house for about an hour before heading to the Wakiles' for the rest of the night, where they could let their hair down and relax. This decision obviously caused drama with Teresa, who had set places for them at the table and everything! To Tre, taking her brother away from her on Christmas Eve made Kathy a bad cousin, and she wasn't about to forget it any time soon. Christmas morning, however, was a success all around as the 'Wives were gifted with gold Rolexes, Louis Vuitton luggage, a recording studio, a diamond ring at the spot where Albert proposed, a brand new laptop, a sparkly robe and...nothing from Ashley. Poor Jac. A Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
RHONY Season 5/Episode 10 - You Want to What Me in the Where?
Christmas arrived roughly halfway through the fifth season in NYC when the 'Wives came together for Luann's Life & Style party/coat drive for the homeless. Decked out in red, the ladies navigated through a number of battles and tiffs while getting in the Christmas spirit. Just a couple of episodes earlier, Luann and her boyfriend Jacques had played a mean-spirited prank on Ramona by setting her up with a blind taste test of her own Ramona Pinot Grigio. Mario had already stood up for his wife over a group dinner at Le Cirque, but when Ramona was the first to arrive, the Countess decided to raise the issue again. Insisting that the trick had been a ploy to showcase Ramona's wine rather than put her in an awkward situation, Luann attempted to downplay the incident and minimize the devious set-up that it was in reality. However, for once Ramona refused to take the bait and shut the conversation down by "taking the fifth."
Next, the ladies and their men all congregated around a banquette where a sloshed Sonja took the opportunity to give an unsuspecting Jacques an ultimatum about his relationship with Luann: put a ring on it or get out while you can. Sonja claimed that her drunken tirade stemmed from a conversation she'd had earlier in the episode with Luann about her wanting to have a baby, but it seemed very clear that Lady Morgan was simply deflecting some deep-seated anguish over her own failed marriage. Let's face it, a drunken Sonja is never a Sonja with a sexy J. The Christmas festivities capped off with all the ladies stepping into the spotlight to sing a rather off-key yet fun rendition of "Jingle Bells." That is, once Aviva stopped freaking out over not knowing the lyrics. For the event, Luann had hired a punk band called The Stumblebum Brass Band, who proceeded to turn the song into their own rendition called "I Wanna F*** You in the A**!" Great use of your fifteen seconds of camera time, boys. It certainly landed you on the naughty list for the next year.
RHONJ Season 6/Episode 2 - O Christmas Tre
New Jersey's sixth season rang in both a major cast shake-up AND the holiday season. In the second episode, the 'Wives celebrated Christmas with varying degrees of success. While Amber Marchese had her family practicing emergency fire drills, fellow newbie Nicole Napolitano got a major Christmas fail from her boyfriend Bobby in the form of a high heel-shaped wine bottle holder from the local Colts Neck pharmacy. Meanwhile the Giudice/Gorga/Wakile/Pierri clan got together for a family gag gift exchange that quickly turned sour. While Rosie could laugh at the vibrator Joey Gorga gave her, Teresa wasn't so impressed with the dictionary Kathy purposely sent her way. Kathy claimed she brought the gift because the whole family had a "hard time with the English language," but Teresa felt insulted and singled out. Eventually, the dictionary came back to haunt Kathy when she asked Teresa to write a blurb for her cookbook, which the OG refused to do after the so-called insult. Points for the family at least trying to get in the holiday spirit, right?
Later on, Christmas took a somber and emotional turn in the Giudice home as Teresa and Juicy Joe exchanged gifts by the fireside and contemplated the possibility of both going to prison over their legal issues and having to wait years to spend Christmas together again. As Joe opened up about how difficult it would be to leave his wife and daughters, Teresa resolutely promised that, despite what people say, it wouldn't be their last Christmas together. And as we know from this year's Christmas festivities, she was right! Now it'll just be another four years before they do it again...
RHOC Season 9/Episode 4 - Pretty Ugly
In Season 9 in Orange County, brand new Friend of the Housewives Danielle Gregorio invited Tamra and Heather, somewhat randomly, to an ugly sweater charity party. In fact, it was so random that the first time we learned of the event was actually in a flashback of Danielle dropping an invitation off at CUT Fitness...which we hadn't seen before. (Season 9's use of flashbacks was weird, you guys.) At the party, a decked out Tamra, Eddie, Heather and Terry met new Housewife Lizzie Rovsek, a former Miss Kentucky who had brains to match her beauty and a sexy AF husband. Despite her past as a pageant queen, Lizzie and her poinsettia'd sweater made a grand entrance by promptly falling in the foyer and spilling a drink all over the floor. It was a shockingly endearing introduction to all the wonderful things about Lizzie and I knew right away that I would love her. Not much actual charity may have occurred at the party (besides giving poor Danielle the majority of her camera time all season), but Terry and Heather managed to win the ugly sweater contest with their matching snowflake-bedazzled ensembles. (For those who were wondering, my Christmas wish this year is for Lizzie to come back as a full-time 'Wife next season. Make it happen Santa!)
RHOC Season 9/Episode 8 - Not So Silent Night
Just a few episodes later, the holidays were in full swing when newbie Shannon Beador brought all the 'Wives together for her annual Christmas party. Plenty had happened in the interim including Chairgate at Javier's, Heather's hoedown-themed groundbreaking party, Vicki's trip to the forgotten state of Oklahoma and more. Needless to say, through more than one of the events above, the animosity and bad blood had quickly begun building between Heather and Shannon, and the latter's party was the perfect time for it to boil over. The drama first started when Heather was offered a guest co-hosting gig on Good Day L.A. and offered Tamra a segment on the show to promote CUT Fitness. For some reason Tamra took offense to this because prior to filming, the show had a rival fitness studio on when Heather was a guest host and Tammy Sue assumed that Fancy Pants had something to do with it. Yeah, I didn't quite follow it at first either. I mean, talking about shooting a gift horse in the mouth...
Naturally, Tamra had a passive-aggressive conversation with Heather when she was surprised by the news, and then proceeded to gather Shannon, Lizzie and Danielle together to badmouth Heather behind her back. (Meanwhile, Heather was in the other room trying to console an upset Vicki about Briana's impending move to Oklahoma.) When Heather and Vicki joined the other women, Fancy Pants was rightfully blindsided when Lizzie tried to put all the cards on the table and force the conversation between her and Tamra. In what felt like a gang-up, Shannon sided with Tamra and blew up at Heather for "talking so condescending." In a fortuitous moment, Heather's cell phone rang with a call from a sick Nicky at home asking her and Terry to come home. There was debate over whether or not Heather faked the phone call, but she gracefully and furiously exited the party by telling Tamra "I don't even like you right now." #TeamHeatherForever
Sadly, we've never seen Christmas in Beverly Hills, Atlanta or Miami. Maybe this year? To all you readers out there, I hope your holiday was all things merry and bright!