Skipping Christmas starts out at the gate in an airport. Luther and Nora Kranks are there with their daughter Blair, waiting for a flight to Miami that will eventually bring her to eastern Peru, where she is going with the Peace Corps. They all say their goodbyes and the parents leave. Nora is very upset, while Luther isn’t so much. On the way home they stop at a store for white chocolate and pistachios.
Luther unwillingly goes in to get it and finds every little thing a hindrance. He is easily annoyed, and doesn’t get the white chocolate. Nora then has to go in the store to get it, and she does so with much annoyance. While Nora is in the store, Luther daydreams about not having to do the Christmas season. That night, Nora was restless.
She was pacing and going from room to room. She finally lay back in bed, rolling and flinching and moving, trying to get the attention of Luther so she could talk about Blair’s safety again. Luther didn’t move, and when Nora was finally asleep, he stuck out of the room to the basement office to evaluate last Christmas’s spending. He found that $6, 100 was spent on Christmas. With this new information, he took a trip down to the travel agency during work the next day.
He made his choice the 10 day Island Princess cruise. That night, during dinner he attacked Nora with the idea. Using brochures and spreadsheets, he showed her the facts. She finally accepted to skip Christmas, as long as she could still donate $600 to charitable donations. Later, Nora received a call from the Card Store owner, and had to tell him she was not ordering cards, but did not tell him why. Luther, the same day, was writing a letter to his colleagues, telling them that he would not be participating in the normal Christmas rituals.
The next day, the boy scouts came by, selling their Christmas trees. Luther had to tell them they were skipping Christmas, and a few minutes later they found a crowd congregated at their driveway, staring up at the house. That night, Luther went for a walk. He noticed his neighbors doing what the Kranks were avoiding, and he felt good about it.
It was lunchtime, and Nora was at lunch with two of her friends. The card man called her again, and she was forced to tell her friends about skipping Christmas, which meant everyone will know by dinner. During work, Luther was praised by a co-worker, Yank Slader. Vic Frohmeyer, the “unelected ward boss of Hemlock” sent a letter out to tell everyone to put their identical snowmen on the roof. Vic inquired about it when all the snowmen were up other than the Kranks.
At the shelter for battered women, Nora again was attacked for skipping Christmas and her Christmas Eve party. She received a letter from Blair, saying she was doing well. On Monday night, Luther took Nora to the mall for dinner and a movie. During the movie, Luther took a walk, and noticed all the craved people shopping. He also got two memberships for sun tanning packages, so he ” ll be ready for the Caribbean. Two police officers, Treen and Sali no, knocked on their door one night, selling their annual calendar.
Luther told them he didn’t want one, and they were shocked. Later that night, a group of carolers came to their door, and were joined by the entire neighborhood singing obnoxiously at the top of their lungs, while the Kranks tried to ignore them. The next morning, getting the paper, Luther found a giant sign saying, “Free Frosty” in his front yard. That day during work he stuck away again to tan. At home he found he had received two blank Christmas cards as a prank. At night a fireman named Kistler and a medic named Kendall came selling fruitcake, but they got the same as the police men.
Later, Luther got praise from Stanley Wiley, and an update on the Christmas spending from Yank Slader. Nora went tanning again in a slinky bikini, and on the way out, received disapproval from her reverend. That night they heard more caroling outside, and a reporter showed up trying to ask questions. Luther and Nora went to dinner at Angelo’s, an Italian restaurant far from the town, so they would miss the annual parade.
When they got home, they found the newspaper with a picture of their house on it, the headline “Skipping Christmas.” The article bashed them, calling them selfish. The Wiley and Beck office Christmas party took place, bringing the sixth floor to a drunken state. He met Nora for lunch and found that Bev Scheel had cancer for a third time. That night there were more carolers, and the Kranks remained away from it.
On Christmas Eve, they received a phone call from Blair, saying she was coming home for Christmas with her fianc’e, Enrique, at six! They needed to un-cancel Christmas and the party, and quick. Luther rushed out to buy a tree from the Boy Scouts, but instead had to borrow the Trogdon’s tree. After making some calls for the party, he hired Spike to help him get and decorate the tree. He was stopped, accused of stealing by the police after Walt Scheel called them. Later they made some more calls and got a few people for the party. Minutes later, both Nora and Luther got cancellation calls, making the total six, but Nora met an old acquaintance, and invited him.
At home, Luther started on Frosty, but on the roof both of them fell off. They found Luther dangling painfully by his ankle. The medics came and got Luther down, and he explained to the entire watching neighborhood what they were doing. Vic Frohmeyer organized a party quickly and sent everyone to work. He sent the policeman to go get Blair, and the Kranks went inside to rest. Enrique and Blair came into the airport and were found by the police officers, who raced them home.
When they got home they were greeted by the whole neighborhood. They talked to everybody and her parents were very impressed with him. Enrique received a lot of reissued gifts from the neighbors and they then went to dinner. Afterwards, they sang a few carols before Enrique and Martin, the man Nora saw in the store, sang and played guitar to a few Peruvian Christmas carols. As the Peruvian songs continued, Luther stuck out to the Scheel’s house. He gave them his cruise vacation as a Christmas present.
Bev had been given six month’s by her doctor. They were overwhelmed with joy when they were given this. As Luther walked back across the street, for the first time, he was filled with the joy of Christmas.