The episode is particularly interesting if you know the back story behind its production -- namely, the prank the show's crew members decided to play on their four stars. As the show's director Lex Passaris and its script coordinator Robert Spina told me in my research for The Q Guide to The Golden Girls, the crewmen decided that, for the episode's dress rehearsal, they would replace the calendar prop with a creation all their own. And so, they stayed up late that night, when everyone else had left the stage, photographing themselves in various states of undress and debauchery. (Let's just say, in one photo, one crewman rode another, and a saddle was involved.)
Passaris prizes the resulting chaos that occurred when, at rehearsal the next day, the ladies opened their gifts. One thing about beloved Bea Arthur: once she would "break," and start laughing, there was almost no coming back. And so Bea opened the box, and then laughed until she cried.
At this holiday season, having lost Bea this year and Estelle not long before, it's nice to remember the laughs, both on screen and off. Merry Christmas, everyone!