Bud asked a girl to go to a dance with him - his first dance, and his first date. He is trying to learn how to dance from a book over 50 years old. When his family finds out, he is embarrassed. His family helps him learn some dance steps.
Jim Anderson, dismayed at his children's laziness, lectures them in the importance of good citizenship and cheerful volunteering. When each of them later heed his advice and try to do their part in the community, their efforts end up complicating his own life in unexpected ways.
Betty is afraid she is gaining weight. Jim purchased a motor scooter for Bud, but Margaret does not want him to have it. Jim backs down and sells it. But when Margaret allows Betty to wear a low-cut dress, Jim is against that.
Jim has an extra ticket for the football game, and since Margaret cannot go, Betty is chosen. A friend of Jim's visits him and says he will buy insurance from Jim if he gets the extra ticket, Jim has to tell Betty she cannot go.
Tired of being told what to do by his parents, Bud announces he is moving out. Bud finds a place to stay and enjoys his independence -until he realizes how much work there is to being independent. Bud tries to find a way to move home again.
Jim gets invited to play badminton with friends and starts to remember (with rose-colored glasses) his youth and college days. He plays the game and finds he is not as good as he used to be. Now, he realizes his best days are behind him.
Kathy plays with the new washing machine and keeps throwing everything in it. This time, Betty's items for Girls in Government Club are included as well as a letter to Bud from the police. Betty's items are ruined and Bud gets a surprise.
The family prepares for Thanksgiving. Kathy has to write a poem for a school project. She is selected as the winner in her class and the family is proud. But when she reads the poem to her parents, Jim thinks it is not as good as it should be and Kathy is upset.
Jim and Margaret plan a second honeymoon trip, and decide Betty & Bud are old enough to watch the house and Kathy by themselves. However, they are suspicious when the children are anxious for them to be out of the house.
Margaret's friend Myrtle tells her that she and her husband are taking dance lessons. Myrtle tells Margaret that she and Jim should also try them. Margaret tries to trick Jim into lessons, but he finds out the plan from Myrtle's husband.
Upset with his children's materialistic approach to the holiday season, Jim insists the family drive to the mountains to chop down the family Christmas tree. Jim's wish for a simple family Christmas becomes an unfortunate reality when their car gets stuck in a snow drift far from nearest phone. The Anderson family takes refuge in a mountain lodge closed for the season and are befriended by a man, apparently the caretaker, who teaches the Anderson children the delights of a simple holiday.
Kathy finds a injured bird outside one of the windows at home. She brings it in to nurse it back to health. Everyone in the family also helps care for the bird and at the same time, the healing helps themselves.