Ginny Grainger is the mother of two children, Abbie and Cal. Her husband has been out of work for months, and the family has to move out of the company house by January, and it's almost Christmas. He enjoys fixing bikes, and wants to start a business fixing bikes, but his wife worries that it will take too long to turn a profit from that, when they needed money immediately, and urges him to find a new job, causing a fight between them.Due to the constant financial worry her family is facing, Christmas coming along will only present more problems, and thus Ginny becomes very Scroogelike, forgetting the meaning of Christmas. It is up to the angel Gideon to reunite a broken family and to help teach them the meaning of Christmas once again.
Essentially Disney's retelling of the It's a Wonderful Life movie, it's been said by some to be a heartwarming classic, by others to be a horrifying story of a Crapsack World, particularly with what happens to the main character throughout her 'lesson'.
- Adult Fear: One of the children nearly gets hit by a car early in the beginning while merely putting a letter in the mailbox just across the street, but is saved by the angel Gideon. Later on, after having lost her husband to a bank robbery that turned ugly, the heroine is told that the car both her children were in fell over the edge of a bridge into a frozen river, killing them both.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Cal still doesn't believe in Santa and doubts Abbie's plan despite being saved by a Christmas Angel a few hours before.
- All Just a Dream: As it turns out, the disasters of Christmas Eve are apparently part of an alternate reality, with Ginny learning to appreciate the holidays after she gets her letter from Santa. When she mails Abbie's letter at last, the clock is turned back to December 23. So on Christmas Eve, she helps out Harry, meaning Jack isn't shot and her kids not endangered, and she gets a chance to talk things over with her manager at the grocery store.
- Christmas Elves: Averted; at this North Pole, Santa is assisted by angels.
- Crappy Holidays: Objectively, Ginny is really not having a very merry Christmas! However, she ends up getting a second chance at one.
- Deus Angst Machina: Essentially everything that happens to the heroine. She goes through the most soul-crushing experiences possible, all meted out upon her in order to teach her to value what she has. Of course everything gets better at the end, but even experiencing it at all would leave at least a few mental scars!
- Deus ex Machina: Santa Claus, no less, magically makes everything right at the end. Still...
- From Bad to Worse: And HOW. On Christmas Eve, Ginny is fired from her job while her husband is killed in a botched bank robbery; she almost loses her kids too, and still has to break the news about her dad to them.
- The Grinch: Ginny is treated as this because she lacks the holiday spirit. However, given all the understandable reasons she has to feel stressed out instead of merry, this can come across more as The Complainer Is Always Wrong.
- Infant Immortality: Averted. The kids only survive the car plunging into the river by way of Gideon's intervention.
- It's a Wonderful Plot: The Christmas lights go out when Jack and Ginny have a disagreement about family finances, and the thief stealing the car, Jack getting shot at the bank, the 1950s Dodge falling into the river, and Ginny getting fired from her job all turn out to be, or become, part of a Crapsaccharine World once Ginny receives her letter from Santa and chooses to believe in Christmas. Time is reset to the night of December 23 and the lights magically come back on. She uses her second chance to help Harry out and prevent him from his criminal actions, and her manager at the grocery store tells her not to come back until after Christmas so she can celebrate with her family.
- Jade-Colored Glasses: Ginny has these.
- Mood Whiplash: The ending is clearly supposed to be bright, happy, and charming, but for many it is darkened by the sheer amount of hell poured onto the heroine throughout the film.
- Trauma Conga Line: Poor, poor Ginny is having the worst day she can imagine!