Darryl Brandt fails as husband/father because alcohol abuse renders him mean and lazy. Without consulting the kids or having a clear plan, his wife Lynn sneaks out for good at Christmastime. She takes a measly waitress job, and her model son must rebuild his life and still try to be a substitute father for spoiled little sister Sara. Thomas get picked on beyond newbie-hazing in high school when the cool kids find out his family is dirt-poor; the jocks' top dog even makes it a personal vendetta when AA ''nerd" Thomas tries out for "his" basketball team and is at least as good at it as he is. Kevin Morrell, who wrestles with a business in trouble and a problem twins pregnancy, seeks solace by returning to pastor and coach Graham Cody's big-brother program and becomes Thomas's mentor. At Christmas, things get complicated around the Salvation Army's Paper Angels program to anonymously fulfill poor kids' wishes..
Jimmy Wayne, Bryar Freed, Travis Thrasher