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Christmas Comes But Once
Season 4 Episode 02
Air date 1 August 2010
Written by Matthew Weiner
Directed by Phil Abraham

Public Relations
The Good News


SCDP throw an elaborate Christmas party beyond their means, due to a mistake made by Roger. Sally runs into an unexpected old friend. Don's loneliness reaches a fever pitch, when a one-night-stand compromises a work-relationship. Freddy Rumsen returns with an account in his pocket.


It's Christmas time. Henry and Betty Francis along with Sally, Bobby and baby Gene are out shopping for a Christmas tree. Sally runs into Glen Bishop. Glen explains that his mother, Helen Bishop, has married the owner of the Christmas tree lot. Sally adds that her mother has remarried as well. "My mom said that would happen," shrugs Glen. Bobby runs up to tell Sally that the family is leaving. Sally says goodbye and Glen promises to call her.

Sally's Christmas letter to Santa, Christmas Comes But Once a Year.

Henry and Betty take kids to buy a Christmas tree, Christmas Comes But Once a Year.

Sally on the phone with Glen. Episode: Christmas Comes But Once a Year.

At the office, Don's secretary, Allison, reads him Sally's letter to Santa. In the letter, Sally writes a wishlist for herself and Bobby and adds that she wishes that she could be with her father on Christmas morning, but acknowledges that it won't happen. Don looks sad, then sends Allison off with some money to buy the Christmas gifts for his children. He promises to arrange for a Christmas bonus for her.

A clean and sober Freddy Rumsen visits Roger Sterling and offers the agency the Pond's Cold Cream account, worth 2,000,000 dollars, in return for a job. Freddy's only request is that Pete Campbell, (who got him fired from the old Sterling Cooper), does not handle the account.

At the Francis household, Glen calls Sally pretending to be a classmate asking about homework. Sally confides in him that she hates still living in the same house.  "Every time I go around a corner, I keep thinking I'll see my dad," she says. Glen predicts that her mother and father won't get back together, but Betty and Henry will decide to move soon.

Lane speaking during Dr. Faye Miller's presentation, Christmas Comes But Once a Year.

A consumer-research company pitches its services to Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, and the company's female representative, Dr.Faye Miller, asks the senior staffers to complete a personal questionnaire. One of the questions is "How do you feel about your father?" Don abruptly excuses himself from the presentation.

At his apartment, Don is awoken by the sound of a hammer pounding. His neighbor, Phoebe, a nurse, is hanging up decorations for a staff Christmas party that will be at her apartment. She flirts with him and invites Don to her party. He thanks her for the invitation and tells her that he's late for work.

At work, Peggy and Freddy Rumsen argue over how to approach Pond's concept, which is built around Broadway veteran Tallulah Bankhead. Freddy believes they should follow Pond's instructions to use Bankhead as a figure of advice for younger women. Peggy disagrees and wants to be more creative with their approach. They are interrupted by a drunk Roger, who has just returned from lunch with Cal Rutledge, Freddy's contact from Pond's. Freddy immediately phones Rutledge and asks to meet him at a church, revealing that he is Rutledge's AA sponsor.

Joan and Lane's reaction to Roger's inviting Lee Garner Jr, Christmas Comes But Once a Year.

Lee Garner Jr. of Lucky Strike calls Roger. Roger impulsively invites Lee to the office Christmas party, despite the fact that Lane and Joan are organizing the party on a shoestring budget. Roger dismisses their concerns and orders them to upgrade the party "from convalescent home to Roman orgy."

Mark visits Peggy's apartment to convince her to have sex. "I want to be your first," he says, ironically unaware of her past sexual encounters. When Peggy refuses, he calls her "old-fashioned" for wanting to delay sex. Peggy asks him to leave.

Phoebe is tidying up after her party when a drunk Don arrives. She helps him into bed. Don asks how she can stand working at a hospital. Phoebe states that she loves how "everything happens there", with people coming and going into the world. "I hate this Christmas," Don mumbles. He attempts to paw at Phoebe but is too drunk.

The next day, the staff of SCDP is hard at work prepping for the office Christmas party, with Joan directing everyone. Meanwhile, Peggy and Freddy are still working on the Pond's account. Peggy pitches a concept about how Pond's makes a woman feel, but Freddy misinterprets it to be about women being desperate to marry. Peggy is offended and calls him "old-fashioned".

Glen calls Sally again in the evening but no one answers.

Don, Peggy and Mark during the SCDP Christmas party, Christmas Comes but Once a Year.

The SCDP Christmas party is in full swing. The Campbells, the Cranes, the Sterlings and Don Draper are gathered, discussing their vacation plans for the winter. Don announces he is going to Acapulco, alone. Jane Sterling sternly tells him that is his own fault while Roger jokes that Don will be "marooned in that sea of bikinis". Peggy walks by with Mark and greets Don a merry Christmas.

Lane and Cooper discuss politics with the representatives from the research company, including Dr. Faye Miller. Cooper laments that "civil rights is the beginning of a slippery slope". The male representative complains about the new Medicaid policies. Faye makes a joke about how the government will "rape our wives, storm our houses". They all chuckle as they toast.

"Man your battle stations!" - Joan, Christmas Comes But Once a Year.

"Man your battle stations!" shouts Joan, signaling the arrival of Lee Garner Jr. As Lee enters, Joan offers him "gifts, girls and games". She offers to serve him a plate of food herself.

Glen and his friend break into the Draper residence. They vandalize the household by throwing food all over the kitchen

Joan's red dress, leading the office conga line, Christmas Comes But Once a Year.

Back at the SCDP Christmas party, Joan heads a lively conga line. "Where's Santa?" demands Lee. He suggests Roger don a Santa suit. Pete volunteers to do it but Lee insists on Roger. "Everyone knows Santa has white hair anyway," he says. Roger reluctantly agrees.

The Francis' return home with the children and find the house vandalized. Sally's room is the only one untouched. On her pillow, she finds Glen's lanyard from the tree lot.

Henry and Betty come home to a surprise. Christmas Comes But Once a Year.

At the party, Roger re-enters in the Santa suit and passes out presents to the guests, much to the amusement of the office. Lee jokes about Santa's gift bag. "Don't want you to have a third heart attack", he laughs, putting his arm around Jane. Don excuses himself from the party and wishes Peggy a merry Christmas. He heads into his office as Faye Miller watches him leave.

Faye confronts Don, Christmas Comes But Once a Year.

Faye confronts Don in his office as he's getting ready to leave. She wants to know why Don, "the creative shaman", walked out of her presentation. Don explains that he doesn't understand how psychology will help him sell products. Faye points out that his ad for floor wax is clearly "all about someone's childhood". Faye adds that both of their professions are include finding out what people want versus what's expected of them. Don invites her out to dinner, but she declines. Before she leaves, she predicts that Don will be married again within a year. When Don balks, she remembers, "I always forget: nobody wants to think they're a type."

Don compromises a work relationship, Christmas Comes But Once a Year.

Lee takes photos of party-goers sitting on Roger's lap in his Santa suit. He demands that Harry take a turn. Harry awkwardly sits down on Roger's lap, whispering his apologies as Lee laughs.

A drunk Don returns to his apartment and realizes he's forgotten his keys. He knocks on Phoebe's door but no one answers. He calls Alison to deliver his keys to him. When she arrives, Don initates sex. "My goodness," giggles Allison. They have sex on his couch.

Freddy offers Peggy advice, Christmas Comes But Once a Year.

The next day at work, Peggy and Freddy apologize to each other. Peggy admits that she would like to get married one day. Freddy advises her to avoid sex before marriage if she ever wants Mark to respect her. However, he warns her not to lead him on either. "It's very physically uncomfortable for the male," he says.

Peggy makes up her mind, when it comes to Mark. Christmas Comes But Once a Year.

Don leaves the office, Christmas Comes But Once a Year.

A cheerful Allison greets Don at the office and shows him that she has wrapped his childrens' presents. Don stiffly thanks Allison for bringing his keys. "I've probably taken advantage of your kindness on too many occasions," he says. "I just wanted to say thank you for bringing my keys." Allison's smile fades. He hands her a Christmas card. "Thanks for all the hard work.", it reads, accompanied by $100.

Peggy is shown laying with Mark in bed after sex. "Do you feel different?" he asks, kissing her. Peggy says nothing, but rests her head on his chest.

Don leaves the office for the evening, carrying the presents that Allison picked up for his children.


Main Star

Guest Star



Don Draper: "I hate this Christmas."
- Don on Christmas

Lane: "There's been a small adjustment to the scale of our Christmas party."
Joan: "Lower or higher?"
Lane: "Lee Garner Jr, will be joining us. I trust you'll make the appropriate improvements."
Roger: "We need to change its rating from convalescent home to Roman orgy."
- Lee Garner Jr. is accidently invited to the SCDP Christmas party.

Seasons of Mad Men
Season 1 • "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" • "Ladies Room" • "Marriage of Figaro" • "New Amsterdam" • "5G" • "Babylon" • "Red in the Face" • "The Hobo Code" • "Shoot" • "Long Weekend" • "Indian Summer" • "Nixon vs. Kennedy" • "The Wheel" •
Season 2 • "For Those Who Think Young" • "Flight 1" • "The Benefactor" • "Three Sundays" • "The New Girl" • "Maidenform" • "The Gold Violin" • "A Night to Remember" • "Six Month Leave" • "The Inheritance" • "The Jet Set" • "The Mountain King" • "Meditations in an Emergency" •
Season 3 • "Out of Town" • "Love Among the Ruins" • "My Old Kentucky Home" • "The Arrangements" • "The Fog" • "Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency" • "Seven Twenty Three" • "Souvenir" • "Wee Small Hours" • "The Color Blue" • "The Gypsy and the Hobo" • "The Grown-Ups" • "Shut the Door. Have a Seat" •
Season 4 • "Public Relations" • "Christmas Comes But Once a Year" • "The Good News" • "The Rejected" • "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword" • "Waldorf Stories" • "The Suitcase" • "The Summer Man" • "The Beautiful Girls" • "Hands and Knees" • "Chinese Wall" • "Blowing Smoke" • "Tomorrowland" •
Season 5 • "A Little Kiss, Part 1" • "A Little Kiss, Part 2" • "Tea Leaves" • "Mystery Date" • "Signal 30" • "Far Away Places" • "At the Codfish Ball" • "Lady Lazarus" • "Dark Shadows" • "Christmas Waltz" • "The Other Woman" • "Commissions and Fees" • "The Phantom" •
Season 6 • "The Doorway, Part 1" • "The Doorway, Part 2" • "The Collaborators" • "To Have and To Hold" • "The Flood" • "For Immediate Release" • "Man With a Plan" • "The Crash" • "The Better Half" • "A Tale of Two Cities" • "Favors" • "The Quality of Mercy" • "In Care Of" •
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