In the lead up to Christmas, the extended Stone family - headed by parents Sybil(Diane Keaton) and Kelly(Craig T. Nelson) - are planning on descending on the family home for the holidays. The Stones are loving, tight-knit, outspoken and liberal minded. Among those attending the festivities are their five children, "perfect" son Everett(Dermot Mulroney), unmarried son Ben(Luke Wilson), deaf gay son Thad(Tyrone Giordano) (with his African American partner, Patrick), pregnant daughter Susannah(Elizabeth Reaser) (with her first child, adolescent Elizabeth), and outspoken daughter Amy(Rachel McAdams). New to the mix this year is Everett's guest, Meredith Morton(Sarah Jessica Parker), who Everett intends on marrying. Meredith is outwardly put-together, but is uptight, self-conscious and lacks self-esteem. There is an open air of tension in the household because of the presence of Meredith, who calls upon her sister, Julie, to come to the Stone Christmas if only for moral support. Julie, on the other hand, is loved by all the Stones. Meredith storms off on Christmas Eve the result of a major argument with the Stones. But as Everett, Julie and Ben go after Meredith, all have a chance to reflect on their feelings and actions. In the light of Christmas day, life at the Stone's seems clearer if not slightly poignant as one by one individuals in the family learn of a secret kept by Sybil.