The Pazinskis, four kids and two parents living over a saloon in 1959 lower-middle-class Buffalo, are not having their usual merry Christmas. Dad is going through a mid-life depression and refuses to buy a Christmas tree. Sister Clarissa is threatening to expel 12-year-old Rudy for performing a blasphemous one-man Nativity Scene where he plays all the characters as Hollywood celebrities. Mom wants the happy man she married returned to her, and the two teenagers, sensing their parents’ discord, are worried that this may be their last Christmas together as a whole family. In earthy, quirky Pazinski fashion, with comic songs and dream sequences, they all come to a deeper understanding of what it means to be a family on this most stressful of holidays.