DISCLAIMER: The characters [(c) 2005] are owned by Spelling Entertainment Inc., a unit of Paramount Viacom. The summary belongs to the author -- The Big Show. E & OE
It's December 23rd, two days before Christmas. With a children's choir singing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," the Camden / Kinkirk clan is doing the nativity scene as is their custom. This year, however, it's Lucy and Kevin playing Mary and Joseph, while Ruthie is still an angel but is standing on the platform instead of being suspended from the ceiling. Sandy and Rose have come to town for the holidays. Rose admits to Sandy that she's never celebrated the "Christ" part of Christmas, that for her it's always been presents, and besides she's waiting for Simon to come to town late the next day. For her part, Sandy admits she's never gotten the holiday either, that she's a "Christmas-ite," taking in the celebrations but never being much involved with it. Rose offers to help her bluff her way through.
At home, Eric sings "Twelve Days of Christmas," while the family decorates the tree. Sandy and Rose show up at the parsonage and Eric invites them to join the family for the nativity scene the following night. Rose then starts sneezing, and complains it must be the Christmas tree. Sandy asks Ruthie if she was planning to spend some time with Martin, but Ruthie replies that he and Bill are in New York City with Bill's little sister, Betsy. She tells Sandy that everything will be fine and that they're glad she's spending Christmas with them.
The next morning, Annie reluctantly takes down the tree, saying that with Rose around she didn't have much choice. It's Christmas Eve and everyone has a busy day planned. Annie is putting the turkey in the oven for a Christmas Eve dinner. Eric is visiting an old age home. Ruthie -- wearing a very revealing green dress -- is going to the hospital to see the cystic fibrosis patients, including her friend Katelyn. Kevin and Savannah have also dressed up for Christmas. He wants to go to the pound to get a dog, but Lucy isn't sure that's a good idea since a lot of families get pets for Christmas only to get disenchanted with them a couple of weeks later. She would prefer they wait until the New Year so they can be sure they want a dog.
Rose quizzes Sam and David about various elements in a manger scene set up in their bedroom. Sandy interrupts this and asks the twins if she can borrow Rose for a few minutes. Outside the bedroom, Sandy asks Rose why she demanded the Camdens take down the tree. Rose repeats her line she doesn't get the whole point of the holiday and why the Camdens would give presents to each other. Sandy replies that's not what the Camdens do -- they sell something to buy something else, make something from scratch or give each other what they already have. This year, they're going beyond that and helping out the less fortunate. Rose dismisses this out of hand and goes back to the twins. She asks the twins what the difference between Jesus and Santa Claus is. Sam and David turn the tables and quiz her about her Christmas knowledge instead.
Downstairs, Sandy offers to help Annie out with dinner, but Annie insists everything's taken care of and Sandy, being so far along with her unborn child, needs to relax. Instead, Annie suggests that she play one of the "Wise Women" at the nativity scene, or an angel. Sandy replies that she's no angel. The twins then come downstairs and tell the women that Rose doesn't believe in either Santa Claus or Jesus of Nazareth. Annie's horrified by this, and so is Sandy.
Eric is at an old age home, dressed as Santa. One of the old ladies he's dancing with asks if he's married. He says he is. Kevin is at the dog pound with Savannah, checking out dogs. One quite large one has been reserved for "Savannah Kinkirk" but Kevin is shocked to learn it was already adopted by another family. Over at the hospital, Ruthie runs into her friend Katelyn. She's in much better shape since the last time they met -- in fact, she got a living donor lung transplant for Christmas the previous year. What she would really like, however, is a cure for CF. Eric visits a bedridden patient at the old age home and gives him a present. Lucy, resuming her work for Habitat for Humanity, gives the keys to a house to a fortunate family. At the Catholic Church, Annie and the twins run into the Lost Boys of Sudan and give them a monetary gift made out Catholic Relief Services to help the relief effort in Darfur. Kevin is at another hospital, giving out presents.
Back at home, Sandy yells at Rose for telling the twins there never was a Santa Claus -- or even worse, there never was a Jesus. She points out there really was a Jesus, and reminds her that they're friends with not one but two ministers -- father and daughter -- who are trying to help them out. Rose doesn't understand the harm done. The argument escalates until they hear a car crash outside. It has cut off the power. Annie and the twins come home and are greeting by Rose, who says no one was hurt but that the driver definitely was drunk. With no power, Annie realizes the turkey is not cooking, in fact it's still mostly raw. Rose talks about the argument she had with Sandy and says she's doesn't like being "recruited" by the Camdens. Annie says that's precisely what they're trying to do.
Eric and Ruthie come home. Sandy asks to speak to the minister alone. She brings up the talking point Rose started. Eric says he definitely heard about that, and then talks about why Christmas is so important to them -- that it is a season of giving. For him, Jesus gave the best gift of all by coming into the world. As for Santa Claus, it's a reminder that people should keep on giving, not just at Christmas but year round. Sandy says she appreciates hearing that but that's not what she wanted to talk about. She's not used to giving but just receiving and getting the wrong kinds of things. This year, however, she's found a whole family, led by Lucy, giving up their time to help her out and it's made her want to stop being a "Christmas-ite." Sandy tells Eric she wants to convert to Christianity. Just then, the power goes back up.
Rose is furious at Sandy's decision. Sandy insists she's thought a long time about this and it's the right thing for her. She wants to enjoy life for a change, too. Rose just says she's going to wait for Simon while Sandy goes out to the Nativity scene. Lucy shows up at the animal shelter. She notices a really cute little dog, a Scottish terrier named "Delilah," next to the huge dog Kevin wanted to get, a Great Dane named "Samson," and which has just been returned after the prospective adopting family changed their minds. No one wants Delilah, however, and the volunteer points out she's headed for a date with death if no one adopts her in the next couple of weeks.
At the mall, Sam and David ask "Santa," or rather Captain Michaels in disguise, about why it is not all kids get presents. Michaels suggests that it might be because there are some who have too many presents and don't want to share. He says that if more spread the wealth, most if not all kids could have the Christmas they wanted. He suggests the twins donate one of their surplus presents to Toys for Tots, run by police and fire departments across America, that distributes toys to needy children. Satisfied with this, Sam and David then ask Eric about who the real Santa was. Eric tells them about the St. Nicholas of Myra, born in Turkey to a well heeled family only to have his parents die at a young age. He decided to dedicate his life to the ministry and to giving what he inherited to the less fortunate and remained defiant in doing so, even after his country was occupied by Islamic invaders and Christians began to be persecuted.
Realizing they've lost track of time, Eric and the twins bolt out of the mall and head to the Nativity scene at the Promenade. This time, it's Sandy who's playing Mary, with Kevin guiding her up to the platform. As Eric comes just in the nick of time, Annie asks Lucy if Sandy knows what's in store. Lucy says she's sure she doesn't. Eric and Lucy then turn to address the crowd. The ministers say that their church has had a long standing tradition of giving back to the community, but every year they have a special collection gathered up from donations throughout the year and that they decide to help one individual or family who they think may need it the most. Acting on Lou's suggestion, they then tell Sandy she's this year's chosen one and give her a check. Sandy is speechless.
Simon finally comes home, having come into Glen Oak too late to see the pageant. He's surprised to see Rose baking a seven layer chocolate cake. Rose says she learned how to cook at a sous chef school in Florence, a past Christmas present from her mother. In fact, she has an even bigger surprise -- with no turkey, Rose rushed to the supermarket, gathered what she could, and made a seven-course meal for the entire gang with the dining room table set up like a fancy restaurant would be.
Lucy comes home, holding Delilah in her hands. Kevin says he wanted Sampson. Lucy says she knows, then brings in Samson too, and says they're keeping both dogs. Back at the parsonage, Eric reads the account of the birth of Jesus from Luke to the whole gang, Sandy and Rose included. FADE TO BLACK.