Casey is excited about spending Christmas with the Putneys. His family was all about sustainable living, so he typically got things like seeds and rocks as gifts. This year will be different though. Casey's psyched to get all kinds of Christmas crap as they spend the holidays at the family lake house.
There are many traditions that come with Christmas at the lake house. Joel makes a roaring fire using the logs reluctant woodsman Ben gathers. Maddie maps out an itinerary of fun things to do so they don't ever get sidetracked by spontaneity. Finally, Mia is the gift gnome because she's one who hands out the presents. This tradition began when she was six because that's the year Vicky didn't feel like getting up.
Everyone is thrilled about the upcoming trip to the lake house. Well, everyone except the itinerary queen, the woodsman and the gift gnome. They all annually dread this trip. No one ever says anything for fear of the guilt trip Vicky and Joel would dole out. Then Mia has a thought. She tells her parents the doctor advised against traveling this year because of the baby. It's not at all true, but it does get the job done.
Maddie is bummed she and the woodsman now will be stuck with her folks without backup. She accuses Mia of using the baby to get what she wants. Maddie says, "This is first boobs all over again!" Apparently, Mia flaunted her newly-developed breasts when they were younger to get free Pop Rocks from the gas station attendant. You can't blame her. Pop Rocks are awesome.
Maddie longs to be like the Hales. Who are the Hales, you ask? They are their old neighbors who always went on a tropical holiday vacation. They'd always return with a wink and a tan. So, Maddie concocts her own scheme to get out of the lake house trip. She tells her folks that Ben is sick. It's a believable lie because, well, Ben's sickly. When that doesn't fly, Maddie says Ben's dad fell down a well. They need to go to Michigan to lower presents down to him with a rope. Now that's a creative excuse!
The guilt of multiple fibs weighs heavily on Maddie as she and Ben wait at the airport for a flight to Key West. Coincidentally, that's where Mia and Casey are headed, too. The Putney sisters come face-to-face in the terminal where they compare their lies. The discussion comes to a screeching halt when two more familiar-looking Florida-bound passengers walk by.
Yes, Joel and Vicky opted to go to a place where they could be depressed about how their daughters ditched them. They chose Key West because they also wanted to be like the Hales. Apparently, these bronze beauties constantly wandered the halls winking at people back in the day. The bottom line is that Joel and Vicky aren't crazy about going to the lake house either. They just love the tradition and that's why they were so upset.
Casey believes they can still salvage the holiday right there in the terminal during a flight delay. There's a gift shop that's filled with tons of overpriced crap they can give to each other as gifts. Mia gets Casey a robot dog that flips onto its back. Casey says, "Needs batteries, serves no purpose, will break in five minutesâ�¦it's perfect." Joel gets a phone charger that won't work with his cell. Maddie scores a neck pillow and Ben gets lots and lots of cough syrup because, as we said, he's sickly.
It turns out to be a pretty decent Christmas. When the flight delay ends, Mia suggests that perhaps they should all skip the trip to Key West and head up to the lake house as originally planned. Yeah, that's not gonna happen. Nobody ever listens to the gift gnome.