After Stan comes home from another dangerous mission on Christmas Eve, he discovers the rest of the Smith family has spent the day decorating the house. Stan berates their efforts and insists that they find a better tree. After Stan ridicules their suggestions, Francine accuses him of thinking he knows everything. The rest of the family return to the car while Stan climbs a mountain to retrieve a tree, only to be crushed to death when the tree falls on him.
Stan finds himself in Limbo, where he is to await an assignment to Heaven or Hell. Stan insists he should not have died and demands a second chance. As a regulation, he must undergo a trial to determine whether he should return to life. Stan is taken to the Court of Limbo, where he is assigned to an incompetent lawyer named Michelle. The cherubic prosecutor proves that Stan has refused to admit that anyone else was ever right after showing a clip where Stan ignored a doctors advice over how far along Francine is in her first pregnancy resulting in Halley being born in Africa, and the judge rules against giving Stan a second chance. Stan learns that because he took his car keys when he separated from his family, they are currently freezing to death on Earth and will be joining him soon.
Stan attempts to hold the court hostage with his gun. When he is informed that weapons from Earth cannot harm them he steals a "Heaven gun" from a bailiff and takes Michelle hostage, declaring his plan to escape to Heaven to talk to God.
At Heaven's gates, Stan unsuccessfully tries to bluff his way past St. Peter. Michelle knocks St. Peter out, explaining she wants to help Stan save his family and drink God's alcohol. As a result Stan, who before had mocked her and felt no sympathy for her problems, feels sorry for her.
The two make their way to God's house, where Jesus is having his birthday party; they sneak in and Stan tracks down God's office, demanding that God either return him to life or at least save the rest of the Smiths. God insists that he has a divine plan that Stan cannot understand, and that he will not alter it for Stan. Stan points his gun at God's head and demands he help the others. God points out how arrogant Stan is being, Stan gets defensive until God points out that Stan is holding a gun to his head, he asks if Stan belives that he knows better than God. Stan admits he does not and resigns himself to God's will. God reveals that his plan was to force Stan to show some humility and says he will restore him to life. God also agrees to Stan's request to give Michelle wings. He returns Stan to earth, but only after a non too friendly reminder never to try pointing a gun at him again.
Stan finds himself back in his home at the moment he arrived that day. He tells the family how much he loves the decorations, and the family celebrates a happy Christmas while Michelle flies by to look in the window.
- Michelle is also the name of the Ghost of Christmas Past who helped Stan in "The Best Christmas Story Never". The commentary mentions they intended to keep the same character but ran into negotiation trouble with Lisa Kudrow who performed the original Michelle.
- When Stan escapes from the courthouse, the Wilhelm Scream is heard.
- Stan and Francine's Safari trip is one of the few vacations that the Smiths did not go into the goo chambers. This also shows that Hayley was born in Africa.
- The watching of certain events in Stan's life during the trial scene is a reference to the 1991 movie Defending Your Life.
- Hayley's birth is a parody of The Lion King.
- Roger believes Christmas spirit is like the Quickening from Highlander.
- Hayley rents "all the Charlie Brown Christmas specials, from "the original one where he learns the meaning of Christmas to the one from the '80s where he meets the kid with AIDS." The latter description possibly refers to the 1990 special Why, Charlie Brown, Why?, which featured a character with leukemia and did have a sequence set during Christmastime.
- When criticizing the family's decorations, Stan begins with the stockings and says that "the INXS guy hung himself with more care", referring to Michael Hutchence's hanging death that has been widely cited as a suicide. This is the second time that a show created by Seth MacFarlane has referenced Michael Hutchence's death, but does not refer to Hutchence by name.
- Michelle claims that she once got into an argument with God about abortion, referring to the pro-life movement and the religious citations of the movement.
- The Angel getting her wings is a reference to Clarence, from It's a Wonderful Life.
- Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog are shown to be trapped in the Phantom Zone from Superman.
- Stan getting caught out by St Peter by saying 'thank you' in clear English is similar to a character from The Great Escape getting captured by a German officer after also saying 'thank you' in clear English.
- God plays with toy dinosaurs like Wash in Firefly.
- While the family freezes in the car, Roger sings the song Jingle to the Bell in the melody of Groove is in the Heart by Deee-Lite.
- God paraphrases Willy Wonka from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when he says "So shines a good deed in a weary world."
- In this episode, Hayley's birth is depicted as a natural birth, but in season one's "Star Trek", Francine revealed to Steve that Hayley was born via Caesarian section and Steve was born naturally.
- At the start of Francine's ultrasound her lips are a flesh color. In the next shot they turn to red.
The episode made its home video debut on a 2008 DVD release of the first Family Guy Christmas episode, "A Very Special Family Guy Freaking Christmas". It was later included on the American Dad!: Volume 4 DVD set in 2009.
- "The Best Christmas Story Never"
- "Rapture's Delight"
- "For Whom the Sleigh Bell Tolls"
- "Season's Beatings"
- "Minstrel Krampus"
- "Dreaming of a White Porsche Christmas"
- "Ninety North, Zero West"