|“||The holidays are the best time to be a Riley.||”|
— Riley Matthews
Riley and Maya are seated at the bay window, discussing the Secret Santa tradition, for which Riley shows much enthusiasm. Maya says they all hate it and pinches Riley every time she mentions the words "Secret Santa". Maya gives Riley a wrapped present, which is a suitcase, likely filled with Maya's overnight possessions. Maya does not want to be at home for Christmas and wants to spend it with Riley, despite it being Shawn's first one with them. Maya know she and her mother only know how to do "Christmas crazy" and believes if she is not there, then nothing will go wrong and Shawn will not need to see it. Then Maya goes out the window and Riley later follows with the Secret Santa box.
At Topanga's, Riley, Maya, Smackle, Farkle, and Zay are gathered together and Riley begins Secret Santa to everyone's annoyance. At this point, she does not say "Secret Santa" to avoid getting pinched by Maya. Lucas is mentioned, him being in Texas for Christmas, possibly to avoid Secret Santa. She then explains the gifts reveal what you know about the other person and then distributes the box, telling everyone not to say who they got. However, Smackle reveals who is on her paper and also correctly deduces who Riley gets. Because Maya knows how much Secret Santa means to Riley, she does not say who she got.
Back at the apartment, Topanga is reading The Gift of the Magi to Auggie and Ava. Ava criticizes it, which Cory knew would happen. Ava does not believe selling equals love and Auggie defends his mother. After talking with Ava, Topanga herself almost forgets why the story is good, but Auggie reminds her. Angry, Topanga tells Cory to be in charge of the kids by saying "switch!" and he says it is time for cookie decorating.
Back at Topanga's, Zay is seated outside and Farkle comes quickly down the steps and greets him, who needs help picking a gift for Smackle. She will not help and reminds him of the reason for the gifts. However, he says he would buy her a theremin, an instrument used in horror movies, which he says she would love. He can't buy her that because he did not know she would love it. He says he does not know her that well, which she questions. She then comes out to the patio and asks him to give her a theremin. Zay takes his leave, unhappy with having gotten nowhere with her.
Smackle asks who Farkle has, and looking to see if Zay is gone, he reveals he picked him. He has no idea what to give him and Smackle imitates a theremin again, but he is dismissive, preoccupied with Zay's gift.
Back at the apartment, Ava and Auggie are decorating, but Ava is on a sugar and frosting high and is barely coherent and later jumping and climbing the apartment. Meanwhile, as Ava is frolicking around it, Riley comes out with Maya's suitcase, determined to have her spend Christmas with her mother and Shawn, but Maya says Riley can't force her to do so and people go crazy over Christmas. Maya then says she and her mother have something and she is not ruining it. Riley then commands everyone's attention and says they need to teach Maya the meaning of Christmas.
Maya tells the story of Christmas while they have tuna melts and throw snowballs at the skaters at Rockefeller Center, one apparently being Cory, and her mother works and she turns into Gimbo the Elf because Santa "is busy uptown". she does not want to show these traditions to Shawn. Auggie then sides with Riley, stating they need to turn them all into the perfect family for Christmas. Riley then reaches into her pocket and throws confetti around her, which used to be butterflies. Her reaction to that insinuates that they died where she carried them.
Later in the evening, everyone who heard Maya's story, except for he and her mother, take part in a dramatic Christmas Past play and people, to her and Katy's general amusement, reenact the traditions. She realizes she needs to be more grateful for her mother being able to send her to the same school as Riley, which let her meet the rest of her friends.
The gang then reunites back at Topanga's for the gift giving. Maya initiates them opening their gifts at the same time. she receives a broken clock, Zay receives a nerdy game, both obviously unhappy with their gifts. Isadora says people need to pretend to be appreciative and then receives a book on how to act around people and proper etiquette. She says she appreciates it, but the tone of her voice is sarcastic and she then throws it at a smiling Zay. Farkle receives a menorah, chastises everyone for it, and then asks why someone would give him one. Riley says that because he found his ancestors were Jewish, she gave it to him, and he interprets the gesture as believing because he does not know exactly what he is, he should not even celebrate Christmas and believes Riley is pushing him. Most of everyone then comes to the conclusion they do not know each other at all and Secret Santa was a disaster. Riley then says they need to find out why all the gifts are great. She believes he should embrace all of his history and know each way of celebrating so he has greater understanding, telling him "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Hanukkah" and revealing she has researched Jewish history. He finally understands.
Zay's game is then discussed, which is from Farkle. It seems to Zay it is something that Farkle would want and questions if Farkle actually believes Zay is a nerd and would actually like it. However, it was given so he could hang out with Farkle and Smackle because Lucas is away. It was also given so they could get to know Zay better because while choosing a gift, Farkle realized him and Smackle did not know Zay that well and it would help because it takes 17 years to play. Zay then picks up the book from the floor and says he gave it to Smackle. He got it to tell her to not change the good parts about her and what makes her wonderful.
Smackle bought Maya the broken clock because she continually tries to put herself back together and that it is okay to try to work on something else other than herself. She tears up and they realize the Secret Santa tradition is not as bad as they believed. Riley then leaves with Maya and Smackle does the mock theremin voice once more, but this time Zay is amused and stays.
Back at the apartment, the play continues, and Cory tells Maya people find each other because they are exactly who they need. Ava compares it to The Gift of the Magi, and then looks at Topanga with a haughty look on her face and Topanga tells her she will kill her on Christmas but then they make up. Maya then asks her mother if they can both go home and thanks her for all the Christmases, each having given each other what they needed and she accepts Shawn being a part of their crazy. Riley then walks over to the tree, lights it up, and then as in the beginning of the episode, says "the best time to be a Riley" and reaches into her pocket for confetti again, but a Christmas miracle seemingly occurs and instead butterflies come out of it.
Back at the bay window, Riley is sitting when Auggie comes in with hot drinks to talk to her and says he knows what she did: she gave Maya back to her family even though she wanted her for herself. She knew it would make her truly happy. They both know she does not need to hear Riley say she did this; she knows. They drink their beverages and look at the lightly falling snow.