It's Christmastime, and Julia and Joel's house is completely decked out for the holidays. The carols are blaring when Sydney and Victor sneak into their parents' closet, hoping to find hidden presents. It's not long before the jig is up, and Julia warns that Santa leaves kids who snoop too much off his list. That's when Victor destroys Sydney's world and says that everyone knows Santa is just a fat guy in a suit at the mall!
Amber and Ryan are having fun baking Christmas cookies when he confesses he's not heading home to Wyoming for Christmas. Excited, Amber invites him to her family's celebration - they'll be thrilled to have him! Ryan doesn't seem too sure. Having moved back into her parents' home, Christmas isn't looking too bright for Sarah either after her breakup with Mark. As Sarah signs the family Christmas card (featuring Mark in the family photo), Camille is above telling Sarah "I told you so," but Zeek certainly isn't. Zeek thinks it's for the best, but Sarah's worried about Drew, with all the back and forth. But clearly, Drew is happy to be back at his grandparents - and living across the street from Amy.
For his family's first Christmas together, Crosby has planned an outing to chop down a tree, instead of going to a congested mall to fight the present-buying hoards. Haddie calls her parents to inform them that her flight is delayed in the cock-up dubbed "Snowmageddon." Kristina is devastated Haddie might miss Christmas, since she's gone all out, determined to have a holiday for the books. But Adam's worried, since Kristina hasn't been feeling well. She insists she's fine, but when she wakes up in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve feverishly coughing up a lung, Adam insists on taking her to the emergency room per her doctor's instructions. He'll call Crosby to watch the kids.
The next morning, Crosby struggles with a fussy Nora while Adam pelts him with child care instructions over the phone. Most importantly, Crosby is not to tell Zeek what's happening. The last thing Adam wants to deal with is his father's hysteria. When Max finds his parents missing, he demands to know what's going on. Crosby admits they're in the emergency room, but all Max seems to care about is whether his parents will be home in time to take him to the mall, a trip they make every year. Nora's bawling and running around without any pants when Zeek shows himself in, looking for Adam. Crosby claims Adam is running errands, but Max is quick to point out this lie. Within seconds, Zeek is off to the emergency room, as Otis tops off Crosby's morning, leaving his own special delivery under the tree.
Santa's favorite elf Amber rings Joel and Julia's doorbell with an armload of presents. When Julia asks about Ryan, Amber senses something's amiss, so Julia tells her about the broken window incident. Ryan walked off Joel's construction site, and Joel hasn't been able to find him since. Meanwhile, a very cranky Sarah is dressed in a sexy elf costume, lining up kiddies at the mall to sit on Santa's lap so Hank can take their picture and pay his rent for the next year. When Santa accuses Sarah of fighting with all the moms, Hank tells her to take a break. They just need to get through the day, so they can get drunk afterwards, even if Santa is already drunk.
Passed out, Kristina looks terrible when her alarms go off, sending a panicked Adam into the hospital hallway to find a nurse. Zeek arrives just as Adam learns Kristina is in septic shock, and nurses swarm in to ferry her off to the ICU. Desperate to figure out what's happening, Adam runs after them, yelling at Zeek to go home and leave him alone. Later, Adam bumps into a doctor, who doesn't inspire confidence when he mistakes Kristina for a kidney patient. Then he tells Adam that Kristina is "likely to turn around," since patients in septic shock may improve quickly... or they may not. There are no guarantees.
Stopping by with a gift, Ryan finds Amber in a contemplative mood. She relates the story of dropping by Julia and Joel's - is there something Ryan wants to tell her? Amber's confused because she thought everything was going so well with Ryan's new job. Ryan admits it wasn't the job for him, and he acted badly. In the absence of a plan to make things right, Amber hands Ryan her car keys and tells him to go see Joel right now to explain what happened.
Jasmine sits on Santa's lap with Nora as Max, who has clearly brought his desire to spend the day at the mall to fruition, lectures Hank on why Santa is a sham. Claiming Max is his favorite of all the Bravermans, Hank offers some advice: while it may seem appealing to be the cynical guy, it's not. Life will be much better if Max can be a go-with-the-flow guy. When Max insists he can't do that, Hank admits he can't either. Crosby makes a feeble attempt to interest Max in tree chopping, but Max isn't having it - he's going to Brookstone.
Back at the hospital, Kristina regains consciousness for a minute, telling Adam she doesn't feel very well, and she's not too sure she's going to be okay. She wants Adam to promise he'll find the file on her laptop that she made for the kids. Meanwhile, Amber's feeling nervous too. It's getting late, she hasn't heard from Ryan and he's not picking up his phone. Still dressed in her sexy elf costume, Sarah is relieved her day is over, even though the mall martini that Hank just bought for her sucks. After winning a challenge to determine who's more pathetic, Sarah explains she still feels good, and it's because of Hank. In his shambling way, Hank admits that even though he can never be happy, Sarah makes him almost happy too.
Zeek returns to the hospital with Kristina's laptop, some clothes and a ham and cheese sandwich, Adam's favorite. When he turns around to leave, thinking it's what Adam wants, a teary-eyed Adam calls him back. Would Zeek mind staying a little while longer? Hank and Sarah sit in bed next to each other, all smiles. Hank claims he gets it: right place, right time, they were drunk, they work together - why not forget this ever happened? Sarah barely has time to register her disappointment in his words when her phone rings with news about Kristina. The family is gathering at Zeek and Camille's and she rushes out to join them.
Ryan finally swerves up, hopping a curb outside Amber's apartment. It doesn't take a genius to see he's drunk. Worse yet, he banged up Amber's car and never went to see Joel. A screaming argument ensues. Amber needs to stop trying to change Ryan into something he's not; he's not going to Christmas with her family so they can judge him and it's all his fault. Ryan stalks off, leaving Amber screaming, demanding he come back and face her.
With no signs of his usual histrionics, Zeek tells the family about Kristina's condition. He has nothing to say when Sarah asks if Kristina will be all right. Upset, Jasmine heads for the porch swing with baby Nora, which is where Crosby finds her. Jasmine's been thinking: life is short, and she wants to have another baby. Much to her surprise, Crosby's all for it. Their happy moment is short-lived; Victor has told Jabbar that Santa doesn't exist. Luckily, Grandpa Zeek has the perfect antidote. He spins a yarn of the time long ago when he saw Santa in the flesh. Santa is real, and Christmas is the time for miracles. If the kids watch closely, they'll see this is true.
Hank knocks on the door, apologizing for the intrusion, then takes Sarah outside to offer a present wrapped in a manila envelope. He doesn't want to come in, and he's not drunk but there's something he wanted to say about what he said earlier. He doesn't want what happened between them to be a one-time thing, and he thinks Sarah's incredible. He gives her a surprisingly great kiss good night to drive his point home. Back at the hospital, Adam fires up Kristina's laptop to find the file she told him about. It's a video message for their children, a parting message in the case of her sudden death. In tears, Adam begs the universe not to take his wife, then urges her to rally and come back to him.
It's Christmas morning, and the living room is a sea of discarded holiday paper as the Bravermans open presents. Sarah opens her manila envelope from Hank to find a beautiful portrait he took of her many months ago. Clearly, he sees her for who she is. After getting a text from Ryan ("I'm outside"), Amber takes a deep breath and wraps herself in a blanket. Ryan apologizes for everything. Amber should never be treated the way he treated her last night, and he'll do anything to make up for it. Crying, Amber tells Ryan that she's in love with him, but having learned a hard lesson from her parents' failed marriage, she thinks they need to spend some time apart.
Adam wakes up to find Kristina sitting up and smiling; it seems like the worst has passed, and she's going to be fine. Of course, the first thing Kristina wants to know about is her kids - did they have a good Christmas? Adam's phone rings. Haddie's calling - her plane finally landed. It's not long before Zeek bribes a nurse with a gift basket as all 14 Bravermans tiptoe into the ICU. Christmas is made perfect when Haddie finally arrives to give her mother a giant hug.