Nobody likes Professor Paul Hunham (Paul Giamatti): not his students, not his classmates, not the principal, who is bothered by his pomposity and rigidity. With no family and nowhere to go during the 1970 Christmas holidays, Paul stays at the school to supervise the students who cannot return home. After a few days only one student remains: 15-year-old Angus (Dominic Sessa), a student who always runs the risk of being expelled from school for his bad behavior. Paul and Angus are joined by cook Mary (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), an African-American woman who cares for the children of the privileged and whose own son recently died in Vietnam. These three very different castaways form an unlikely Christmas family who experience comical misadventures during two very snowy weeks in New England.