No one likes teacher Paul Hunham, not his students, not his fellow faculty members, not even the principal, who finds his pomposity and rigidity exasperating. With no family and nowhere to go during the 1970 Christmas holidays, Paul remains at school to supervise students unable to return home. After a few days, only one student remains: a troublesome fifteen-year-old named Angus, a good student whose bad behavior always threatens to get him expelled. Joining Paul and Angus is head chef Mary, an African-American woman whose son was recently found dead in Vietnam. These three very different people form an unlikely Christmas family. The real journey is how they help each other understand that they are not tied to their past: they can choose their own future.