How I Met Your Mother Wiki
How I Met Your Mother Wiki
How Lily Stole Christmas

HIMYM episode 2x11 (33)

How lily stole christmas2.png
First aired:
December 11, 2006
Pamela Fryman
Brenda Hsueh
Barney's Blog

Images (7)

A rift forms between Lily and Ted after they find an old answering machine message where Ted badmouths Lily after she left Marshall.


It's Christmas time in the apartment and the whole room is full of festive decorations. Marshall is heading to the law library to work on a report. He leaves with his hands over his eyes claiming that Lily's "Winter Wonderland" is his reward for a job well done.

Lily comes across the old answering machine for the apartment. She and Ted find few messages remaining on the machine. One message was for Marshall, recorded by Ted when the former was still pining over Lily who had left him:

"Hey, Marshall, are you lying on the couch right now moping about Lily? You are, aren't you? Well, stop it! She's not worth it. You gotta get over that grinch!"

Future Ted clarifies that he had not in fact used the word "grinch." Instead, he said "a bad word. A very, very bad word."

Lily is horrified. She demands to know how Ted could say such a thing. Ted struggles to explain that he had been desperate to get Marshall out of his slump during Lily's absence. He had tried to help him get over it by knocking her off the pedestal Marshall kept her on. He claims he was merely doing his duty as Marshall's best friend.

Down at the bar, Ted recounts all this to Robin and Barney. Robin says that at least he apologized but Ted admits that he had not apologized to Lily. Instead, a fight broke out. Ted maintained that he was only trying to help Marshall after Lily left. In fact, he even states that he won't apologize because that summer she had been a "grinch." Lily says that he will be sorry.

During Ted's conversation with Barney and Robin, it becomes apparent that Barney has a cold. He denies it but fails at picking up a girl when he sneezes all over her.

Ted, Robin and Barney head upstairs with Barney continuing to deny that he is sick. Ted has a mug of beer in hand. He explains to Robin that the beer was an offering he used to make back in college when the two were fighting. However, when they enter the apartment they find that all of "Winter Wonderland" is gone. Lily stole Christmas!

Robin tries to convince Barney that he belongs home in bed after finding him attempting to smoke a cigar out on the fire escape. He is vehement in his assertions of health. Ted gets Lily on the phone and learns that she has taken the decorations to her apartment. She explains that she would deal with a foul-mouthed student by calling their parents. But Ted should know better. She hangs up before Ted can finish demanding she return the decorations. Ted heads out to the Bronx to confront Lily at her apartment.

On the way he speaks to Marshall who is excited about the Winter Wonderland and then is interrupted by a call from his mother who is angry about Ted's bad language. Meanwhile, Robin has convinced Barney to rest in Ted's bed. De-suited, he is miserable about his predicament but allows Robin to feed him soup.

Ted confronts Lily in her apartment which is cramped with the decorations. He begs Lily to come home. He apologizes for calling her "that word" but Lily says he is faking the apology and is still mad. She explains that she apologized to Marshall who has forgiven her and they have moved on. Why can't Ted? Ted admits that he is mad because she never apologized to him. Ted was upset with her for leaving him too. "We're supposed to be friends," he says. They start to argue and Ted calls her a "grinch" again. Ted says that she can return to the apartment because he won't be there and instead will be spending Christmas Eve with his cousin.

Marshall comes home with a package under his arm. Lily has returned the decorations leaving Marshall none-the-wiser. He tells her about the adventure he had getting her the package and then helping the delivery man bring presents to others throughout the day so people will have presents in time for Christmas.

The present is an Easy-Bake Oven. Lily is surprised because, while she had always wanted one as a child, she had never told Marshall. Marshall explains that the suggestion actually came from Ted. One night, back in college, Marshall had gone out; Ted and Lily were high and Lily told Ted about it. Lily is touched that Ted remembered the tidbit and suddenly feels guilty for forcing Ted to spend Christmas with his family.

Ted is on Staten Island spending Christmas with his pregnant, ultra-Christian cousin, Stacy, and her family. The doorbell rings and Ted finds Marshall, Robin, Barney and Lily holding a mug of beer. She and Ted exchange apologies and the gang heads home.


  • Future Ted censors the story for his kids for the first time, substituting some "very bad words" for "grinch" and "fudge."
  • Barney says "When I start feeling sick, I stop being sick and be awesome instead. True story." This is an altered version of the solution to sadness he describes in Where Were We?
  • Ted was previously shown to have taken Marshall's side in his and Lily's break-up in Where Were We? and The Scorpion and the Toad.
  • Ted's middle name, Evelyn, is first mentioned in this episode.
  • Ted's cousin Stacy and her six children were previously mentioned in Brunch, where Ted's mother also informs him that Stacy is pregnant again.
  • This episode marks the first appearance of Clint.

Future References (Contains Spoilers)

  • Future Ted continues to censor adult activities and swear words throughout the series, including:
  • Barney asks Ted if he "kisses [his] mother with that mouth" while chastising him about saying "grinch", and defends his own use of the word by saying "I don't kiss your mother with my mouth...yet." However, in Little Minnesota, Barney reveals that he kissed Ted's mom, and claims in Home Wreckers that it occurred shortly after the events of Brunch, meaning he has already kissed her.
  • Ted's mother and Clint get married in Home Wreckers.
  • Marshall's love for Christmas and Christmas decorations is shown again in Symphony of Illumination.


For a listing of all images on the wiki tagged as being from this episode, see Category:How Lily Stole Christmas images.

Memorable Quotes

College Ted: Dude, how's the concert?
College Marshall: I couldn't find outside.
A high Marshall gets a bit mixed up.

Barney: Oh, Robin, my simple friend from the untamed north, let me tell you about a little thing I like to call mind over body. You see, whenever I start feeling sick, I just stop being sick and be awesome instead. True story. Yeah, in two minutes, I'm going to pound a sixer of Red Bull, hop in a cab, play a couple of hours of laser tag, maybe get a spray-on tan. It's gonna be legen... Wait for it... (Barney falls asleep)

(Ted repeatedly saying the word "Grinch" and Lily's electricity goes out)
Lily: Happy? Now you pissed off the big guy upstairs.
Ted: Yeah, I'm sure God cares if I...
Male Voice: You use that language again, and I'll turn off your water!
Lily: It's my super. He lives above me.

Notes and Trivia

Goofs and Errors

  • Barney says that he hasn't kiss Ted's mother yet. However, Barney reveals in Little Minnesota that he kissed Ted's mother after the events of Brunch, which occurred before this episode.
    • Due to Barney being a pathological liar, this could just be part of Barney's character and not actually an error.

Allusions and Outside References

  • The title of the episode alludes to the Dr. Seuss book How the Grinch Stole Christmas!.
  • Ted notes that Lily would laugh at almost anything, even something as bad as Weekend at Bernie's II.
  • The way Marshall runs when he tries to catch up with the delivery truck is a reference to Kevin running in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
  • When the gang come to meet Ted on Staten Island, Ted says, "I'll get it" and runs to the door; Ted's cousin Stacy then asks, "Who is it?" and Ted says that it's carolers; Then Barney, Marshall, and Robin sing "Silent Night" while Lily and Ted make amends. This scene references the film Love Actually, in the scene where Mark (Andrew Lincoln) comes to Juliet's (Keira Knightley) door to say he loves her using cue cards, following the aforementioned pattern.
  • Ted calling Lily a "grinch", and Future Ted saying that Ted didn't say "grinch", but a "very, very bad word" instead is a reference to A Christmas Story, where Ralphie says "fudge". Ted also says, "Oh, fudge," with Future Ted narrating, "But I didn't say 'fudge'," which was taken directly from the film.
  • In Staten Island, when Ted is asked to say his favorite passage of the Bible, he says "the one in Pulp Fiction is pretty cool", making reference to the iconic Samuel L Jackson's speech in the movie Pulp Fiction


Other Notes

  • Zachary Gordon, who played one of Stacy's children, also plays Grant/Tyler (Barney's hired child-actor "son") in The Stinsons.
  • Although Lily is known for punishing others using Aldrin Justice introduced earlier in the season, her punishment of Ted may not qualify as such since Ted did not own the Christmas decorations.  
  • This is one of two episodes where Future Ted uses the word "Weed" instead of "Sandwich", the other episode is Slutty Pumpkin.



  • Joel Keller of TV Squad said it was a good episode, and an improvement over the previous year's New Year's Eve episode. [1]
  • The St. Petersburg Comic Review gave this episode 7.5 stars out of 10. "...Barney knocks himself down with a sneeze ...!"


External Links

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