movie trailer (apple.com - quicktime)
The movie opens as we see Luther and Nora Krank (Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis) laying in bed, a little depressed about the day ahead of them. Their daughter Nora has joined the Peace Corps and is heading off to Peru. They have a long goodbye at the airport and now the Kranks are left alone, during the holiday season.
We learn during the next 1/2 hour of the film that Nora loves the Christmas season. They always host their neighborhood's Christmas Eve party, always purchasing top of the line Christmas cards and invitations. Their neighborhood, led by Vic Frohmeyer (Dan Akroyd) always wins the local newspaper award for best Christmas decorations. The advantage their neighborhood has is that all the houses feature a Frosty snowman on their roofs.
Luther starts adding up the cost of the previous Christmas (Done to the tune of an old Jerry Lewis movie with the sound of a typewriter set to music.) He realizes that last year they spent almost $6000 on Christmas. He comes up with a plan. This year they skip Christmas, spend $3000 on a cruise and come out $3000 ahead. He presents his plan to Nora and she's not too thrilled about it but will go along.
Luther hands out letters to all his co-workers that this year he's skipping Christmas and not to give him anything as he'll not be handing anything out. He won't do his normal Christmas donations, buy a tree, send out cards... Nothing. He won't even put up Frosty this year. He's skipping Christmas.
The neighbors aren't happy about this. The neighbor across the street, Walt (M. Emmet Walsh) comes to complain with the ongoing joke that Luther always accidently steps on Walt's cat. Walt's wife Bev is cancer striken and can't get out much.
Vic Frohmeyer organizes a neighborhood campaign to force the Kranks to decorate. Kids are picketing, constant phone calling demanding they "Free Frosty" and even sending in carolers to try to bring back the Kranks Christmas spirit. The newspaper even has a story about the scrooges who live in the neighborhood complete with a photo taken from Walt's roof.
Meanwhile, Luther and Nora are tanning, shopping for beach-wear, even getting Botox injections (Luther).
Suddenly their world changes. On Christmas eve Blair calls announcing she's engaged to a Peruvian and the two of them are coming home so he can experience a real American Christmas. They'll be at the airport in about 12 hours.
Nora rushes all around town trying to find Blair's favorite ham, inviting everyone she knows to come to a Christmas Eve party. Luther tries to find a tree but since it's late on Christmas Eve, there just aren't any left. He finally convinces one of his neighbors to let him borrow their tree. Vic's son helps Luther move it.
Luther finally digs out Frosty and starts dragging it up to the roof. The neighbors all start coming out to watch. Luther and Frosty fall and the neighbors help him up. He reveals to them why the sudden change of heart.
Vic Frohmeyer, the organizer that he is, tells the crowd that they owe this to Blair. Everyone loves her; they've all watched her grow up and she's babysat most of their kids. They start decorating, baking, getting the Krank house up to par for Christmas. Time's running out and Luther can't make it to the airport so Vic has the local cops pick them up. They take their time bringing them home so the neighbors have more time to get the house ready.
Finally Blair and her fiance arrive and the party is a complete success. No mention is made of the "Skipping Christmas" plan.
Luther goes out to his front yard and as he looks inside his front window he sees complete happiness. The spirit of Christmas alive and well at the Krank home. Then he looks across the street and sees the complete opposite at Walt and Bev's house. They are alone and Walt is caring for the sick Bev.
He goes to their house, wishes them a Merry Christmas and gives him his cruise tickets since he obviously won't be using them. He even offers to watch their cat for them.
Luther goes back home and Nora is just getting off the phone with Bev. Nora is very proud of Luther and the Christmas Eve party goes on...