Christmas Specials Wiki
Christmas Specials Wiki

"The Old Man & the Tree" is the third Christmas episode of the ABC sitcom Modern Family, produced and aired as the tenth episode of the show's fifth season.


It's Christmas time around the Pritchett and Dunphy houses, and everybody is going out of their minds. Jay couldn't believe the fiber optic tree Manny was proudly decorating in the living room. He thought certain traditions should not be messed with, like natural trees, eggnog, Perry Como, and Bing Crosby on the hi-fi. Jay took Manny out to the forest to cut down a real pine tree. After an hour of walking, they find their tree...right next to where they parked. Jay started cutting it down with an axe, but it wasn't budging. But he was determined. And he breaks the axe handle.

After also ruining a saw, Jay thought they could use the car to pull the tree down. And it was pulled down long enough for half of it to be stripped off by the rope and it went right back up. By the way, Jay's tradition of a cigar after cutting down the tree is best done a bit further away from the trees. Finally, since they got through most of the trunk, perhaps they could push it down themselves. Or the car could roll down the hill and run the tree over, that works, too. But Jay had his natural tree, complete with lights and ornaments.

The elliptical rider was a godsend to Phil last Christmas, who vowed to use it all the time, much to Claire's annoyance since he kept it in the bedroom. But there was a catch: Phil has until this Christmas to ride it the equivalent of California to Canada or it has to go to the garage. He was 10 miles short with a day to go. At first he could feel that fresh air and reasonably-priced pharmacy medicine. But he was starting to wane. Luke doesn't seem to care until Phil mentions the garage. Where Luke had left 6 weeks worth of recycling because he always forgot to get it out for pickup early in the morning. Suddenly, Luke is encouraging Phil to make it all the way. He wouldn't want the rider in the garage; it's too drafty.

Luke needs enough time to get Dylan to take all the recycling for him in exchange for some fireworks. Of course, Dylan really needs to learn how to properly handle fireworks, if the second-degree burns on his hands and the deafness are any indication.

Claire, not wanting to deal with Phil, is all too happy to head to Gloria's house to babysit. Gloria probably should have told her it wasn't for Joseph but for Gloria's mother, who was never really hands-off when it came to whatever Gloria did, particularly in telling Gloria she did so many things wrong. Claire wasn't happy at first, but several recipes for rolls and cookies later, and suddenly Gloria is jealous her mother seems to love Claire more, even giving Claire some extra cookies for doing a headstand. They start arguing, and Pilar has to get in between them. Claire had to admit loving the attention, given that her own mother can't be bothered to drive three hours to see her and had given her a pair of slippers every year for Christmas since she was 9. But Mama Delgado made her realize mothers take it hardest when their kids leave them and the slippers are DeDe's way of remembering a happier time.

Haley was happy to move to the basement to have her own room away from Alex, Claire's stories about the two of them huddled in a bed together as kids to look over their gifts not swaying her. But they have work to do at the mall. Haley is an elf, and Alex is dressed as Mrs. Claus for all the kids. But this being a sitcom, Santa isn't the most enthusiastic person around. Alex berates him for not being more into the role and he decided to sneak out and leave. That didn't sit well with the throngs of kids and angry parents, nor did the hot chocolate Santa brought, which must have had some booze in it based on how drunk Alex looked when she had a few cups. Haley tried to keep the peace outside. But Haley came in to convince her it wasn't her fault Santa left. Alex wasn't hearing it, and the throngs were starting to surround the house. Haley tells Alex she'll find someone, that she wasn't a bad person to live with. Well, at least until the bratty kids all went Walking Dead on them.

Mitchell was quite proud of getting all his shopping done way ahead of schedule. Not having a job had nothing to do with it, despite what Lily kept saying. Cameron had the information for Pepper's Christmas party...aka The 12 Gays of Christmas. Cam was taking Lily to help out at a charity event, and Lily was happy to do it since she knew helping others would get her a Puppy Pound for Christmas. Although according to her list, she wanted a Guppy Pond. Apparently she reversed the lowercase "g" and forgot a "u". But not a big deal. Mitchell could still go shopping for one...if only he could find it.

Cameron and Lily were ready to donate at the charity event...except for the fact they were mistaken for people who needed the charity. Cameron realized the mistake and tried to escape, only Lily got her Puppy Pound and the lady actually running the event wanted their picture for the newsletter. Fortunately, Mitchell came to pick them up with a car full of gifts. Cameron was all too happy to pass the gifts out to the folks who really needed them. Only one tiny problem. Mitchell found out Cam and he were supposed to bring gifts to Pepper's party, and that's what was in the car. Things like his & his shower clothes, a Himyalian salt plate, a body fat scale, and an art Robert Mapplethorpe. And Lily still needed a Puppy Pound because she gave hers to the young man who had to give back the Robert Mapplethorpe book. There was one left but it was too far away for Mitch and Cam to get. But not Phil. Who drags himself over to the mall, completely ignoring his two daughters in danger, and starts walking up a broken escalator only to have it start up again. Yes, in the wrong direction. Thankfully, the next day is Christmas.

Finally, Phil and Claire discover all the recycling in the basement because Dylan screwed the plan up which makes Luke to owe them six weeks' allowance.

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External links[]

20th Century
Miracle on 34th Street (1955 remake) (1973 remake) (1994 remake) • Die HardDie Hard 2Home AloneHome Alone 2: Lost in New YorkGeorge Balanchine's The NutcrackerTrapped in ParadiseJingle All the WayHome Alone 4The Family StoneDeck the Halls12 Men of ChristmasHome Alone: The Holiday HeistJingle All the Way 2Home Sweet Home Alone
Television episodes and specials
20th Television
M*A*S*H "Dear Dad" • "Dear Sis" • "Death Takes a Holiday" • "All About Christmas Eve"
Tracey Ullman "Santa Baby" • "Kay's Gift" • "Merry Catnip"
The X Files "Christmas Carol" • "Emily" • "How the Ghosts Stole Christmas"
Malcolm in the Middle "Christmas" • "Christmas Trees" • "Pearl Harbor" • "Hal's Christmas Gift
Bones "The Man in the Fallout Shelter" • "The Santa in the Slush" • "The Goop on the Girl"
How I Met Your Mother "How Lily Stole Christmas" • "Little Minnesota" • "False Positive" • "Symphony of Illumination" • "The Over-Correction" • "The Final Page, Part 1" • "The Final Page, Part 2"
Glee "A Very Glee Christmas" • "Extraordinary Merry Christmas" • "Glee, Actually" • "Previously Unaired Christmas"
New Girl "The 23rd" • "Santa" • "LAXmas" • "Christmas Eve Eve"
The Mindy Project "Josh and Mindy's Christmas Party" • "Christmas Party Sex Trap" • "Christmas" • "When Mindy Met Danny"
Last Man Standing "Last Christmas Standing" • "Putting a Hit on Christmas" • "Elfie" • "Wedding Planning" • "Gift of the Wise Man"
Other shows "Christmas Story" • "The Worst Noel" • "Haus Arrest" • "Amends" • "Blue Christmas" • "A Christmas Story" • "Cookies for Santa" • "In God We Trust" • "Road to Tradition" • "Afternoon Delight" • "Christmas" • "The Glitch That Stole Christmas" • "Secret Santa"
20th Television Animation
The Simpsons "Simpson Christmas" • "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" • "Marge Be Not Proud" • "Miracle on Evergreen Terrace" • "Grift of the Magi" • "Skinner's Sense of Snow" • "She of Little Faith" • "'Tis the Fifteenth Season" • "Simpson Christmas Stories" • "Kill Gil, Volumes I & II" • "The Fight Before Christmas" • "Holidays of Future Passed" • "White Christmas Blues" • "I Won't Be Home for Christmas • "The Nightmare After Krustmas" • "'Tis the 30th Season" • "Bobby, It's Cold Outside" • "The Way of The Dog" • "A Springfield Summer Christmas for Christmas" • "Manger Things" • Feliz Navidad
King of the Hill "The Unbearable Blindness of Laying" • "Pretty, Pretty Dresses" • "Hillennium" • "'Twas the Nut Before Christmas" • "The Father, the Son, and J.C." • "Livin' on Reds, Vitamin C and Propane" • "Ms. Wakefield"
Family Guy, American Dad!, and The Cleveland Show "A Very Special Family Guy Freakin' Christmas" • "The Best Christmas Story Never" • "The Most Adequate Christmas Ever" • "Rapture's Delight" • "A Cleveland Brown Christmas" • "Road to the North Pole" • "For Whom the Sleigh Bell Tolls" • "Murray Christmas" • "Season's Beatings" • "Die Semi-Hard" • "Jesus, Mary and Joseph!" • "'Tis the Cleveland To Be Sorry" • "Minstrel Krampus" • "Christmas Guy" • "Dreaming of a White Porsche Christmas" • "The 2000-Year-Old Virgin" • "How the Griffin Stole Christmas" • "Ninety North, Zero West" • "Gifted Me Liberty" • "Don't Be a Dickens At Christmas" • "Santa, Schmanta" • "Christmas is Coming" • "Yule. Tide. Repeat." • "The First No L" • "Christmas Crime" • "The Return of the King (of Queens)" • "Family Guy Christmas for Hulu"
Futurama "Xmas Story" • "A Tale of Two Santas" • "The Futurama Holiday Spectacular" • "I Know What You Did Next Xmas"
Bob's Burgers "God Rest Ye Merry Gentle-Mannequins" • "Christmas in the Car" • "Father of the Bob" • "Nice-Capades" • "The Last Gingerbread House on the Left" • "The Bleakening" • "Better Off Sled" • "Have Yourself a Maily Linda Christmas" • "Yachty or Nice" • "Gene's Christmas Break" • "The Plight Before Christmas" • "The Nightmare 2 Days Before Christmas"
Other cartoons "Hook's Christmas" • "A Christmas Surprise for Mrs. Stillman" • Olive, the Other ReindeerIce Age: A Mammoth Christmas • "The War on Grafelnik" • "Miracle on Culpepper Slims Boulevard" • "A Very Solar Holiday Opposites Special" • "Dip the Halls Adventure" • "Xmas with The Skanks Adventure"