Ruthie yells when her Aunt Julie pulls up and Annie answers the door and Aunt Julie notices the kids and how they have changed. Aunt Julie has not been in town for a long time and Ruthie doesn't know her and seems very weary of her until Aunt Julie gives her a doll as a present. Matt says that their love can be bought and Aunt Julie gives all of the kids presents. Matt shows Aunt Julie to her room while Mary and Lucy ask if they could have to spend Thanksgiving with others. Aunt Julie tells Matt that her and her boyfriend broke up and when Matt leaves, she drinks out of a liquor bottle.
After dinner, everyone is putting up their dirty dishes. Eric tells Matt, Mary, and Lucy that they can choose for themselves if they would rather be with their friends than their family, then they could go and gives each child some guidelines. The kids think that there is a "catch", but Eric says no. After Aunt Julie pours herself another glass of wine, Simon comments on her drinking too much, but Annie says that is it rude to say anything. Annie discusses the holiday and asks Aunt Julie if she is ok and she says that she is tired of everything in her life. Annie gives her a hug and goes upstairs, but Aunt Julie raids Eric and Annie's liquor cabinet and pours some alcohol into her glass and drinks it.
That night, Matt tells his date that he has never skied before and Mindy, his girlfriend, tells him that her parents will be skiing, but they can stay in the cabin and do other things. Eric and Annie are getting ready for bed and Eric says that he is nervous about her being at church, but Annie tells him not to worry. Annie asks Eric if he thought that Julie was drinking more than usual, but Eric says that his sister has more self-confidence than any other person. At church, Julie is visibly showing signs of withdrawal by being fidgety and nervous. After church, Annie calls Brian, Julie's boyfriend, and he tells Annie that they broke up and she was fired from her job. Simon and Ruthie are playing in the living room and Aunt Julie walks to the liquor cabinet, but Simon, playing, grabs the key and after playing for a minute to try to get the key back, she picks Simon up and throws him on the couch forcefully. Ruthie screams for her mother and Annie rushes downstairs and yells at Aunt Julie to get out of the house.
Eric goes to the saloon and finds Julie drinking there alone after the bartender called him and told him to rescue her. Julie is visibly drunk and is talking to a man, but Eric tells the man to leave forcefully. Eric drags Julie out of the bar, literally kicking and screaming. Annie is at home talking to the kids about Aunt Julie's disease, alcoholism. Simon and Ruthie go upstairs and Matt tells Annie that they should help her. Mary shows anger towards her and never wants to see her again and Lucy cries because of the situation. Eric carries Julie into the house, still drunk, and all interacts with the children as Lucy cries and Mary yells at her. She apologizes to Annie for hurting Simon and Matt and Eric carry her upstairs as she is crying for hurting Annie. Jimmy calls for Lucy and asks if Lucy is coming to Thanksgiving, but Lucy tells him that his aunt is sick and she has to stay home. Matt walks into the girls' room and tells them that no one is leaving for Thanksgiving. Matt wants Mary to be more compassionate about the situation, but Mary is embarrassed that Aunt Julie is part of the family. Annie pours tea for Eric and Eric tells her that he wants to help Julie detox before he sends her to a rehab program. Annie tells him that she doesn't want the kids to be around her, but Eric tells her that she is his sister and he feels that he needs to do this for her. Annie tells him that he is on his own since the children are her first priority. Simon and Ruthie walk into Aunt Julie's room and throw their gifts inside and tell her that they don't want her gifts.
Matt brings Mindy that he can't go to the ski trip with her and that his family needs him, but she replies that he will be sorry. Annie brings Eric and Julie while Julie is withdrawing from alcohol and leaves them alone on their bedroom. Julie tells Eric that she wants to go home, but Eric tells her not today when Julie talks about leaving on a plane today. Julie starts getting upset because he won't let her leave. Julie tells Eric that he can help her by letting her leave, but Eric stays strong. Mary continues to express her displeasure at having her aunt stay there while getting better. Annie takes Lucy inside the house to help prepare the Thanksgiving meal. Matt walks in and offers to sit in and give Eric a break, so Eric takes him up on the offer. Julie takes this opportunity to con Matt into getting her a beer. She tells him that the worst is over and she is fine now and it was never as bad anyone thought that it was. When Matt tells her no, she gets mad at him too and tells him to leave and calls him a brat and tells him that she hates him. Matt walks out and cries outside the door to his parent's room.
Simon and Ruthie are in their room and make a turkey by tracing her hand. Happy brings in the present that Aunt Julie gave her and after some thought, Simon and Ruthie both retrieve their gifts because they rationalize that she gave them the gifts before they were mad at her. Aunt Julie wakes up hallucinating about rats, Annie runs in, but after some talking, Eric and Annie are able to calm her down. Julie sleep the rest of the night on the bed with Eric and Annie on the floor. The kids are preparing food and Matt is answering questions about Aunt Julie's recovery. Eric and Annie walk downstairs and tell the kids that Aunt Julie will be better and thanks the kids for being so wonderful. They also tells the kids to go on with their plans, but Lucy tells them that they are going to cook Thanksgiving meal and they will be staying for the holiday. Matt asks Mary to stop being so mean about Aunt Julie.
Aunt Julie is talking to a rehab facility about getting help and says that she will show up tomorrow. When she turns around, Mary is standing there and asks Julie to eat with them, but Aunt Julie is unsure about doing so since she caused so many problems. Mary offers to give her a makeover with the gifts that she had given her earlier. Eric and Annie show up to the meal all laid out on the table and are shocked when they see Julie and Mary show up. Ruthie tells her that she has changed back to what she looked and acted like when she showed up. Aunt Julie tells Simon that she is not all better, but will be going somewhere to get the help she needs and that she is sorry. Simon shows her that he is wearing the Batman sweatshirt that she gave him. Annie says the blessing for the meal. Aunt Julie tells everyone that they don't have to wear the sweaters because she was drunk when she bought them and everyone laughed when Eric said that that was the problem. Eric also gives thanks for his family and tells everyone to dig in after they have identified the food that the kids prepared.