The best gifts come in surprise packages… Meredith knows it, but she gets a great reminder this week. Last week Mer caught a peak of the Chief drowning his sorrows in club soda (read: vodka) – the Chief of course can’t let this get out. So, he pages Meredith and offers to teach her. He doesn’t ask for her discretion, but it’s kind of assumed when she sits down to learn a new technique. Whatever she thinks, the Chief is the only father-figure she’s ever known, so I think there’s more to it than just keeping a secret.

As usual, kids play a huge part in this episode. Miss Shonda sure knows how to keep her viewers engaged. Injured adults are, uh, upsetting, but not always something you can invest yourself in, but when a child is injured, or threatened with death, we all feel it. This week, we meet a little boy who’s incessant nose bleeds are worrisome to his parents. Turns out they have good reason to worry – he’s got a tangle of blood vessels that will eventually bleed out and cause him to die. Derrick and Arizona attempt to surgically repair it, but they can’t get at it. They enlist the help of Mark Sloan to get it done.

Oh, and Mark learns this week he’s got an eighteen year old daughter. Ouch. He initially sees it as a nail in his coffin, but accepts it and allows her to move in with him and Lexie. He announces this as Lexie is cutting celery for Thanksgiving, and Lexie nearly chops her finger off. Jump to Christmas, and Sloan (that’s Mark’s daughter) is still with them. Lexie eventually gets fed up with girl Sloan, and when daddy Sloan goes to tell her it’s time to go, she admits she’s pregnant and she’s got nowhere to go. He melts, and hugs her.

Cristina and Teddy are working on a girl with a bad heart. They remove the heart, and the girl lives on a machine till New Years.

Like I said, it’s Christmas now, and Meredith is still working with the Chief. She asks the Chief to make up with Derrick, he blows her off. But, eventually tells him he’s sorry – right after he tells him that there are no bonuses this year.

Earlier in the episode, Bailey’s parents call for Thanksgiving, and it becomes clear that they are not aware that she’s divorced. Her dad shows up and tells her he’s always been proud of her, but this time, he’s ashamed of her. She broke her family, and “his child” knows better than that. Later at Meredith & Derrick’s Christmas dinner, they have a confrontation over the divorce, and she really gives it to him. Later it comes out that dad’s just upset because he has always been there for her – and she didn’t bother to tell him what was going on. They make up and he admits that little Tucker seems to be doing okay.

Speaking of dad’s – Meredith’s is at her dinner (because Lexie is there too, I’m sure). He recognizes that the Chief is drinking eggnog, and mentions to Mer that recovering alcoholics don’t drink eggnog. He flat out asks if the Chief is drinking again, and Meredith sticks up for him. Kind of like Lexie stuck up for their real dad. I’m telling you, Meredith sees the Chief as her dad – and she’s full on enabling him to drink.

The little boy with the nose bleed is back, and the instruments are done just in time to fix him up for the new year!

Cristina was right on for the heart girl when she told her to hold on to New Years. An eighteen year old dies, and the girl gets a new heart. She had a guy who she’d only been on 4 dates with, but he stood beside her through the whole ordeal. He proposes, and she accepts. This prompts Cristina to confront Owen about the looks she’s seen him exchange with Teddy. She is unaware that Owen did a little confronting of his own with Teddy earlier that same day. He asked why she didn’t tell him, because he had loved her too – but now he loves Cristina. They kiss, make up, and seem to be doing okay.

Meredith is paged to the bar that the surgeons frequent, and Joe the bartender apologizes for paging her, but thought she would be the best person to help. The Chief is drunk off his a$$, and dancing like a fool for the world to see. Since he promised her that the eggnog was his last drink, this is a little surprising to her – but it shouldn’t be. These things have a way of happening – and trust me, you can’t trust the word of a drunk. The Chief gushes over Mer, calling her everything except his daughter – but the implication is there. And Meredith is starting to regret that she’s been keeping the Chief’s big secret…

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