Christmas has always been an elaborate production at the Whitfield home, and this year is no exception. With her grown children and their significant others all present for the first time in years, Shirley "Ma' Dere" Whitfield is in her element. Stockings have been hung, cookies have been baked and old resentments are starting to bubble up. Oldest daughter Lisa, also known as Sister, is trying to convince the rest of the family to sell the dry cleaning business their mother has run for years so her overly-ambitious husband Malcolm will have the capital he needs to close an important business deal. Her sister Kelli, a high-powered business woman, is dead set against doing anything Malcolm wants. Youngest daughter Mel is home from college and primarily interested in finding a private place to canoodle with her latest beau, Devean. Ma' Dere's son Claude, an active duty Marine, arrives with some unexpected news while his younger brother Baby has a surprise of his own for the family. When estranged eldest son Quentin, a jazz musician, makes a surprise appearance, he neglects to tell the family he's on the run from his gambling debts. Despite her extensive preparations, Ma' Dere's plans for a cozy holiday soon begin to evaporate. When the siblings head out to an L.A. nightclub for some fun, an off color remark by another patron sparks a fight and Claude ends up in jail. Later, Kelli spends the night with Gerald, a handsome fireman she meets at the club, Malcolm flies to New York on a last-minute "business trip" and a pair of thugs comes looking for Quentin with mayhem on their minds. Meanwhile, Ma' Dere is harboring some secrets of her own, such as the full extent of her relationship with longtime boyfriend Joseph Black.