Glee, Actually is the tenth episode of Glee's fourth season and the seventy-sixth episode overall. It premiered on December 13, 2012. After this episode, there was a winter hiatus, with the next episode airing on January 24, 2013. 

In a homage to the beloved holiday film "Love, Actually," seemingly separate storylines come together to form one merry Glee episode. Artie has an It's a Wonderful Life inspired dream that changes his outlook on life, Kurt has a Christmas that he will never forget that involves both his father and Blaine, Jake and Puck spend quality time together for Hannukah. Meanwhile, as the end of 2012 draws near, Sam and Brittany live their lives to the fullest before the Mayan Apocalypse occurs and Sue has a change of heart when she gets Mrs. Rose as her Secret Santa.

It is the third Christmas episode and it is inspired by "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Love, Actually."

The episode was directed by Adam Shankman and written by Matthew Hodgson.


Sue reflects on the holiday season, imagining it as a setting for a series of plot lines sandwiched between commercials breaks, much like the movie "Love, Actually" - "which is a movie that I don't think anyone cares for but is constantly on cable."

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After an angry, humiliated Artie slips on the ice, cuts his face and has to wait for some freshmen girl to help him up, Finn helps him to the nurse's office, where he stews about being helpless and pitied and wishes he never had to be in the wheelchair. As he tries to rest, he slips into a fantasy in which his legs are completely mobile. Surprised, he tests his legs and walks around McKinley, quickly realizing that reality has changed when no one is surprised at his mobility.

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After Artie realizes that Tina still has her old stutter, a guardian angel appears to him in the form of foreign exchange student Rory, who grants Artie's wish that his accident had never happened. However, this means that he never joined glee club, so some resultant changes -like Tina Cohen-Chang getting over her stutter, and Becky Jackson learning self-respect - have never happened, either. Finn Hudson and Puck are both bullies, terrorizing Kurt Hummel, who's been avoiding school and has yet to graduate and has never met Blaine Anderson; Will never started the glee club and lives in an alcoholic haze, still married to Terri, while Emma actually married Coach Tanaka and they would be at their honeymoon in Hawaii together; Rachel is still in Lima working as a librarian, never pursuing dreams of stardom. Rory reveals to Artie that, without his accident, he'd focused on football and never became the glue that held the glee club together.


Artie tries to set things right, assembling his friends to convince them they should be in glee club together, offering a performance of Jose Feliciano's Feliz Navidad as an example - but Finn deems it "so gay." Artie learns that Quinn never got out of her own wheelchair without his support and ultimately died of a broken heart. The shock brings Artie back to reality, where his mother has come to pick him up, and this time he graciously accepts Finn's help back into the chair, realizing that it's part of who he is and how he's affected his friends.

Despite Rachel's pleas to join her in Lima, Kurt plans a solo holiday in New York to save money for school, but he's surprised by the arrival of his Christmas tree-bearing father Burt . Burt recalls how he forgot to get a tree the year that Kurt's mother died until he saw the disappointed look when Kurt had nowhere to hang his favorite ornament, made from his mother's perfume bottle. He realized the tree's importance and would never forget again to focus on their holiday traditions.

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Over hot cocoa, Burt reveals to Kurt that he has prostate cancer - but the prognosis is pretty positive. Still, Kurt's concerned that when he finally achieves his dreams, Burt may not be around to see it. Burt advises Kurt to hold the people he loves close to him, no matter what, and later they exchange gifts. Burt instructs Kurt to pick his up at a particular address, and Kurt is stunned to discover Blaine awaiting him at a skating rink - Burt had him flown out so they wouldn't miss their traditional holiday duet. They sing White Christmas together as Burt watches, and they recognize that even if they don't get back together romantically, they'll always be there for one another.

Jake has a fight with the taunting football players until Puck breaks it up. Puck convinces Jake to put his school troubles aside and join him for the holidays in Los Angeles. In Hollywood, Puck brings Jake along on a meeting at the Paramount Pictures studio lot, where they show off their musical skills singing Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah.

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They get Star of David tattoos together and chill by the pool at Puck's "rented" mansion - until the real owners return home and discover their pool boy Puck taking advantage of their absence. Puck admits his charade was an attempt to get Jake to move out to L.A. with him because he's lonely. Instead, Jake invites Puck and his mother to join him and his mother for dinner at the holidays - there's no reason for any bad blood to exist between them. At Breadstix, the tension is thick, but Puck and Jake remind their mothers that their father is the one at fault for such a messed-up family - but they are a family nonetheless.

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Brittany gives everyone lavish holiday gifts after watching a documentary on the Mayan prediction of the imminent end of the world, having cashed in her savings so that everyone can enjoy themselves at the end. Sam is a believer as well, having studied it extensively. Feeling they need to express their true feelings about their friends to them, they form the 2012 Mayan Apocalypse Club and hold its sole meeting - their comments to their friends are blunt and, for the most part, insulting, and the club disbands immediately. Left with only each other, Sam sings to Jingle Bell Rock then surprises Brittany by pulling out a ring and proposing to her. Coach Beiste tells them she is already ordained in the Mayan church and officiates their immediate wedding. With three days left, they plan to make their time count but, having barricaded themselves in their room in preparation, are soon surprised to discover that the world hasn't ended - and they remain married.

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Sue selects her faculty and staff Secret Santa and draws lunch lady Millie Rose - Marley's mother. Failing to find a gift to satisfy Becky, Sue frets about getting a present for Millie but doesn't really care if she succeeds. Faced with tough money choices over the holidays, Millie asks Marley to simply sing for her and receives a pitch-perfect rendition of The First Noel, which Millie calls "the best Christmas gift I've ever gotten." After overhearing them, Sue tells Becky she's feeling overly indulgent and wants to sell her beautiful Christmas tree to a toothpick factory and give the proceeds to charity. The Rose women wake up on Christmas morning to discover that their own tree has been stocked with a plethora of presents as well as cash - Sue and Becky peer in the window and admire their handiwork.

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Puck and Jake watch their moms swapping war stories about their father, and Puck decides to return to Lima to see his newly extended family. Meanwhile, Coach Beiste confesses that she isn't actually ordained and she'd fooled Brittany and Sam in order to spare them from making a huge life mistake. Blaine reveals to Kurt and Burt that he's thinking of applying to NYADA after graduation, and Kurt gives him his blessing. After bribing Becky with candy for the truth, Millie thanks Sue for her generosity but tries to return the money; Sue in turn says they both know how hard it is to be a single mother and presses her to keep the cash. To thank Sue, Marley assembles the glee club to serenade her with Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.


Song Title Original Artist Performer(s)
Feliz Navidad José Feliciano Artie Abrams with New Directions
White Christmas Irving Berlin (Michael Bublé and Shania Twain version) Blaine Anderson and Kurt Hummel
Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah Traditional (Barenaked Ladies arrangment) Jake Puckerman and Noah Puckerman
Jingle Bell Rock Bobby Helms Sam Evans with the Cheerios
The First Noel Davies Gilbert Marley Rose
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Judy Garland Kurt Hummel, New Directions, and Noah Puckerman

Guest Cast

Guest Stars


Absent Cast Members


  • This is the first and only Christmas episode without the word "Christmas" in the title; the others being A Very Glee ChristmasExtraordinary Merry Christmas, and Previously Unaired Christmas.
  • This is the last canon Christmas themed episode in the show.
  • There's flickering holiday lights on the Glee logo in the title-card.
  • Ian Brennan, one of Glee's original writers, can be seen in a cameo as a director during the performance of Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah. This is his second appearance on Glee after his appearance as Svengoobles in On My Way.
  • Zach Woodlee, one of Glee's choreographers, can also be seen behind the camera, during the performance of Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah.
  • Terri Del Monico appears for the first time since Season Two episode Funeral.
  • Rory Flanagan appears for the first time since Goodbye.
    • This is also his last appearance on the series.
  • Both Terri's and Rory's return in this episode are in an alternate world, not in the real actual world.
  • Vanessa Lengies (Sugar) stars in the YouTube webshow MyMusic as Loco and for that she is absent in Swan Song and Glee, Actually.
  • This is the third time we see Sue soften up for Christmas, even though she doesn't celebrate the holidays and is an atheist.
  • This is the fifth episode containing a wordplay with the word "Glee" in its title, the others being The Rocky Horror Glee ShowA Very Glee Christmas, Saturday Night Glee-ver, and Glease.
  • When Puck and Jake are at Paramount Pictures, there is a shot of Stage 14, the stage where the show is filmed.
  • This is the first Christmas episode with the new cast.
  • In Artie's dream, these events would've occurred if Artie had been able to walk:
    • Quinn would have died, since she texts and drives in every timeline and no one supported her. It is implied that she committed suicide.
    • Artie would have been part of the Football team and a bully.
    • Kurt wouldn't have been able to graduate, due to the bullying.
    • Becky would have been pregnant, since no one respected her enough due to Artie not dating her.
    • Kurt wouldn't have met Blaine, since New Directions didn't exist.
    • Will would have been an alcoholic and would have still been married with Terri, along with their fake child.
    • Rachel would have been a librarian and wouldn't have been able to achieve her dreams.
    • Carole and Burt wouldn't have known each other, and married consequently.
    • Finn and Quinn would have still been a couple throughout their sophomore, junior and senior years, but they would have broken-up before Quinn's death.
    • Puck, Finn and Mike wouldn't have graduated and they'd have been bullies.
      • It is unknown why Mike wouldn't have graduated because in Asian F it is stated that he has very good marks. It could be stated that since he, Finn and Puck were on the football team, their bad behaviour in this timeline might have dragged him to behave badly.
      • It could also be implied that Mike likely would never have joined New Directions, had the opportunity to showcase his talent for dance or met Tina. He stated in Season One that he had been afraid to dance outside his bedroom before joining and in Season Three it is revealed that he had never told his father that he wanted to be a dancer instead of a doctor.
    • Emma would have been married to Ken Tanaka and would have been at their honeymoon in Hawaii.
    • The Choir Room would have been Sue's Craft Room.
    • Ryder, Jake and Sam would have been bullies.
    • Tina wouldn't have been able to talk without her stutter.
    • It could be stated that April Rhodes would've never finished her studies at high school.
    • It could also be said that since New Directions didn't exist, Kurt never joined the Football Team as a kicker and won their first game in years.
    • It is unknown in what way Artie's not being involved in the accident would have affected Joe. However, he is shown to be bothered a bit when Artie sings around him.
    • All the couples wouldn't have been possible.
      • Curiously, nothing is said about Santana, Lauren, Mercedes, Sugar and Matt's whereabouts.
  • This episode got a 2.0 rating with a total of 5.26 million viewers. Source
  • This is the first and only Christmas episode to date where Rachel doesn't sing, as she has sung in A Very Glee Christmas with Merry Christmas Darling, Last Christmas, and Welcome Christmas and in Extraordinary Merry Christmas she sang River, Extraordinary Merry Christmas, My Favorite Things, and Do They Know It's Christmas?. In Previously Unaired Christmas she sang Here Comes Santa ClausThe Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late) and Away In A Manger.
  • An alternative universe episode was aired in 2013, named Previously Unaired Christmas, and depicted different events from those that really occurred in this episode.
  • Sam's proposal to Brittany marks the second time Sam asked proposed to someone, both of the girls Cheerios. The first time was to Quinn in Furt.


  • When Puck and Jake get caught in the villa by its owner, Puck admits that almost everything he had been telling Jake about his life in Los Angeles is a lie, including him working as a screenwriter. However, at Breadstix, when Puck explains why it would be alright for him to move back to Lima, Puck says that he can write screenplays even in Lima, as if it were suddenly true that he works as a writer.
  • Artie falls asleep in the nurse's office after he hits his head.  It is very dangerous to sleep after hurting your head, even if it is a minor injury.
  • In the first half of the episode, Blaine tells Kurt it's officially Christmas, because the clock has just hit twelve. But in the second half, both Brittany and Sam admitted that they believe in the Mayan Apocalypse, which means that the world will come to an end on December the 21st, 2012. However, this date should be in the past, since it's already been the 25th of December that year.
    • However, this might be because each story was told individually, and didn't cross over much if it all. It just means the stories were told out of order.


What are you doing here? And talk slowly so I can understand you.

Artie to Rory

We're a family... A pretty messed up one, but still a family.

Jake to Puck and Tanisha

There aren't actually any Mayan church Web sites. The Mayans were wiped out 500 years ago by the conquistadors and smallpox. That's like chicken pox, but smaller. Look, when I heard the two of you were getting engaged, I thought to myself, These are two special kids. The last thing we need is another teen tragedy of marrying too young, popping out a couple kids before you're 20 and ending up with your faces blurred out on an episode of Cops.

Beiste to Sam and Brittany



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