Theodora is the matriarch of a family that, in her opinion, has grown into a bunch of truculent knuckleheads. They've all come together to South Carolina to celebrate Christmas. But this Christmas looks nothing like the extravagant, homey Christmases Theodora grew up with. What happened to the days when the holiday spirit meant tables groaning with home cooked goodies, over-the-top decorations, and long chats in front of the fire with Pearl, her grandmother's housekeeper/manager/caterer/psychiatrist/best friend? Luckily someone hears Theodora's plea for help and Merle (possibly Pearl?) arrives, pockets filled with Gullah magic and common sense to straighten everyone out.