Greg Gayne/Fox

This holiday season, Winston got a job, Schmidt got Santa Lap, Nick got an earful, and Paul got... an anatomically correct stuffed heart?

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December 14, 2011 at 05:30 AM EST

With the onset of the holidays, Jess had no doubts about her roommates gifts: Roller skates, duh! A gift for Paul, however, was a much trickier proposition since their relationship hadn’t really been defined. She initially drew up a gift certificate for “Nerdy Weird Sex That Works for Both of Us (No Returns or XXX-Changes)” before inexplicably settling on a stuffed, anatomically correct replica of 50-year-old non-smoker’s heart (with sound effects!). The second after giving it to him, she realized the tell-tale heart was creepy and no match for Paul’s present — two plane tickets to Vienna and passes for the Salzburg Music Festival. Then again, Jess gave CeCe (her best friend!) a stick-on mustache, and Nick gave his 12-year-old nephew a box of tacks — which was still better than that time he gave Winston a plastic bucket holding a thawed 7-Eleven microwave burrito. If you really think about it, Paul may have come out on top.

Paul insisted the heart was adorable and claimed he loved it. Then, overcome with emotion, he said he loved Jess and went in for a hug. After a loaded pause, she bumbled, “Thaaaaank youuu.” What other response could Paul offer than “You’re very welcome”? Oh sweet baby Jesus, if you need me, I’ll be hiding in a corner. That was brutal. And yet there was more! The heart began to beat between them. Yikes. Retract my former statement. Paul most definitely did not come out on top.

The gang all headed to Schmidt’s holiday party where Schmidt was dressed as Sexy Santa. This involved a Santa hat (of course), fur-lined boots and gloves, a faux fur dickey with oversize buttons running down it, shorts that may have been Jess’s, and… oh wait… that’s it. (Weirdly, it actually sounds like more when you write it out. Point is, Schmidt was basically nekkid. As is only right.) Meanwhile, Winston was on the hunt for a job, CeCe was weighing her options between Schmidt (who personally designed her a stank perfume — named Cecilia N°5 — that sent her into convulsions the first time she smelled it) and her jerk boyfriend, and Jess was avoiding Paul. She confided in Nick that she felt horrible about how the gift swap went down (in flames) and was confused because she’s usually the one who feels too much. Like John Mayer before he became the vocally impaired d-bag we know and love today, Jess resisted breaking up with Paul because it was Christmas, but then it would be New Year’s Eve, then Valentine’s Day, then… Presidents Day? Known for its romance, that Presidents Day!

NEXT: Blight or flight

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Zooey Deschanel plays lovable Jess, who is plodding through life with a good group of friends.
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