Jules Daly, young woman working in an antiques shop in Buffalo, dreams to travel to distant places, but she is also the guardian of her nephew Milo and niece Maddie after the deaths of her sister and brother-in-law last Christmas.
At home, Maddie makes a mess with the jam when trying to prepare a sandwich, while Milo sneaks out of home to go to a videogame store where he finds his neighbor Zoe, and they must run away when Milo steals a game not allowed for kids of his age. Their babysitter, Mrs. Kelly, trips with the foam caused by Maddie's attempt to clean the jam. At the store, Jules' boss Arthur finds himself forced to fire her due to financial trouble, and she returns home to find Milo decapitated Maddie's doll due to her trying to confess his escape. Mrs Kelly quits.
Jules tries to convince Milo to go to buy the Christmas tree with her and Maddie, but Milo only wants Christmas to pass soon as it reminds him his parents' death. Paisley Winterbottom, butler of the kids' paternal grandparent, arrives to Jules' house to invite the family to spend Christmas at Castlebury Hall. Jules doesn't want to go because she is resented towards Duke Huntington for disowning his son Charles after he married Jules' sister, but Paisley convinces her to think about it by mentioning the Duke is ill and wants to see his grandchildren before dying. When Jules asks her sister for a signal, the airplane tickets come through the door.
At their arrival to Castlebury, Paisley introduces Jules to the house servants, and then she and the kids are escorted to their respective rooms. Jules meets Ashton, her brother-in-law's brother, who gives her directions to reach the dining room.
Jules and the kids arrive in time to dinner with Ashton and the Duke, and Jules notices the Duke is not as ill as Paisley said. During dinner, they talk about the Duke having been distant to them until now, and he offers to compensate them.
That night, Jules revokes Milo's TV privileges due to a punishment he had back at home, and tries to have a talk with him about her role as a substitute parent, but Milo just goes to sleep. Then she goes to Maddie's room, where Maddie says her prayers, and Jules talks with her about giving her grandfather a chance.
The Duke argues with Ashton about a traditional hunting, as he doesn't want noisy people around, but Ashton tells him they are their friends. It seems the Duke is backing from the idea of having family for Christmas, as his grandchildren and Christmas itself remind him to his deceased son. Jules comes to ask where the Christmas tree is, but there is none, and Jules doesn't get why the Duke wanted his grandchildren there if he wasn't celebrating Christmas.
The following morning, Jules wakes up by the hunting party's trumpet and takes the kids for a trip. While Jules and Maddie choose a tree, Milo gets into a fight with an orphan. Back at the castle, Ashton talks with Jules about her decision to bring a tree, and when she takes the chance to mention she loathes hunting foxes, Ashton tells they actually "hunt" a man who leaves a false trace to follow. He introduces his friends to Jules, who finds out Ashton is a prince from his mother's side. One of Ashton's friends is Lady Arabella Marchand du Belmont, who will soon be engaged to him. When Jules goes to put the tree ornaments, she is interrupted by Maddie pursuing Milo, who causes Lady Arabella's purse to fall under a car, so Ashton has them helping Paisley to feed the ponies.
That night, Ashton, Maddie and Milo help Jules with the tree. The Duke arrives angry to find it, but Maddie gives him his favourite ornament, which his brother gave him as a kid, it manages to warm his heart and he helps with the tree too.
The following morning, Ashton wakes Milo up and asks him to come to the garden in 15 minutes. There, Ashton teaches him archery. The Duke tells Paisley to prepare invitations for a Christmas Eve dance. When Jules and Maddie seek her doll's lost head, Ashton offers to have the servants help, and Jules thanks him for spending time with Milo, after which Ashton teaches her vals for the dance. The Duke offers particular teachers to Maddie and Milo; Maddie chooses a dance teacher while Milo chooses an electric guitar teacher. After Ashton and Jules' vals, she decides to teach him some modern dance too, which is interrupted by Lady Arabella, who reminds Ashton they are going to lunch with her parents. When Paisley asks if the snacks for the dance should be fish or lobster, Arabella chooses fish.
While the Duke and Ashton confirm the attending to the dance, Ashton mentions he forgot about the lunch with Arabella's parents, and the Duke tells him he has been spending a lot of time with Jules, who acidentally eavesdrops the Duke saying he has reservations to invite her as she lacks a formal title.
When the doll head is finally found, Ashton presents it to Jules and notices she has been crying, so to cheer her up, he asks her if she prefers fish or lobster snacks, and she in turn asks what does he prefer, so Ashton chooses lobster.
Milo opens a locked door of the castle out of curiosity; there are his father's archery trophies. Ashton explains Charles was the best archer in the family, and the room is locked because remembering him hurts. Milo tells remembering keeps him alive, while he forgets more about his father with time, to which Ashton reassures the love of his father will always be in his heart, and that Milo reminds him to Charles. They decide to leave the door open from now on.
The following morning, Jules is told her dress burnt during ironing, which she sees as a signal to not attend the dance, despite Paisley reassuring that without her there wouldn't even be a dance. While everything is prepared for the dance, Jules packs to return to Buffalo. When she prepares Milo and Maddie for the dance, she asks them to say goodbye to Ashton and the Duke in her regards, and she will be waiting them at Buffalo to have another Christmas celebration.
When the servants find out that Jules has left to the train station, they go after her, give her a new dress Paisley bought in Vienna and bring her back to Castlebury. Meanwhile, at the dance, Ashton breaks up with Arabella as she only cares for his title. Jules arrives shortly after, and tells Ashton she eavesdropped him and his father saying they didn't want to have her there, but ashton tells they were actually talking about a woman named Bunny McCracken. Ashton and Jules dance, which Arabella's father brings to the Duke's attention. After dancing, Jules leaves for fresh air, Ashton follows her. Ashton kisses Jules, then telling he has broke up with Arabella because Jules has his heart now. Arabella's parents complain to the Duke, who simply says his son takes his own decisions, and gets really upset when they insult his deceased son Charles due to also having married a commoner. Arabella intervenes and acusses Jules of coming to Castlebury after Ashton's fortune, mentioning Jules was fired, Milo is a kleptomaniac, and Maddie is addicted to junk food. Jules says it's true, but also that Milo returned the videogame and they are working through their problems, and her reason to come to Castlebury was because the kids need a family. Ashton believes Jules and the Duke tells that while Jules may be out of job, Arabella has never worked in her life. Arabella and her parents leave offended.
The Duke brings Ashton, Jules, Maddie and Milo to the Christmas tree where a Santa Claus is leaving gifts. Maddie and Milo go to Santa's encounter, while the Duke wishes Charles would be here, but Jules reassures her he is in Milo's eyes and Maddie's smile, to which the Duke recognises he must not lament what has been lost, but celebrate what has been found.
The movie ends with Ashton and Jules' wedding. While it's true not all tales have a happy ending, but for Jules, the dreamer from Buffalo, this story is just the beginning.
|Roger Moore||Edward, Duke of Castlebury|
|Katie McGrath||Jules Daly|
|Sam Heughan||Ashton, Prince of Castlebury|
|Charlotte Salt||Lady Arabella Marchand du Belmont|
|Leilah de Meza||Maddie Huntington|
|Travis Turner||Milo Huntington|