The O'Conner story takes place in 1997 in Minnesota over the Christmas holiday. Tom O'Conner has passed away, and his wife (Sarah) and children (Liz, Martha and Matt) have reunited to excavate his mountain of personal effects. As the family sifts through boxes of papers and bags of clothing, clues to the quiet patriarch's life are discovered, prompting the usual heated arguments and some unusual revelations. As the story of Tom and Sarah's marriage unfolds, the children are forced to reconsider their long-held opinions of their parents. In the midst of this emotional afternoon, a long-lost neighbor pays an unexpected visit. Also on the agenda for this day of upheaval is Catholicism, WWII, old movies, old love, new love, oversleeping, overdrinking, large purple hats and weenie hot dishes.