The show opens in a Department Store, where a line of children and parents have grown upset that Santa Claus has not returned at 6pm as the store manager has said.
The Department Store Santa in question is a man named Henry Corwin. Having spent longer than his break time at a bar drinking, he hears a rapping on the bar's front door, and sees two poor children waving to him. As he gets up to leave, Henry wonders why there isn't a real Santa Claus, for kids like the two he just saw. Henry then staggers out into the street, but stops at a light post when he begins to lose his balance from the drinks he had. The kids see him stop, and come over, telling him of what they want for Christmas. Henry listens to them and sadly sheds tears, as he doesn't have the heart to tell them that he can't fulfill their Christmas wishes.
Drunkenly returning to the Department Store, Henry attempts to get back to his place in the store. However, upon seeing that he is drunk, the mother of one of the children reports to the store manager that she will not shop at the store again. The manager then attempts to quietly tell Henry that once the store closes, his services will no longer be needed.
As he departs, Henry attempts to apologize, and explains louder than the manager would like, how he wishes there was more compassion and good will in the world, and that the poor children near his residence would be able to have a Merry Christmas just once.
Trudging home, Henry suddenly hears sleigh bells in the air. He attempts to ignore them, and wanders down an alley. As he does so, a cat overturns a large sack that appears to be loaded with cans. Henry walks past, but as he does, the sound of sleigh bells fills his ears, and he turns to look at the sack again, only to find it filled with presents!
Henry happily takes the bag, and walks through the neighborhood, giving out gifts from the bag. Strangely, anything that someone asks Henry for, he manages to pull out of the bag. When he comes to a homeless shelter, a woman named Sister Florence grows suspicious of Henry, and summons the Police.
Thinking that Henry has taken his gifts from his previous employer, the officer summons the Mr Dundee, the store manager who fired Henry some hours previous. However, as Mr Dundee begins pulling things from the bag, he finds not gifts, but some cans and a tabby cat! The officer swears that he saw gifts being pulled from the bag, but Mr Dundee is not convinced. Jokingly, he asks Henry to produce a bottle of vintage cherry brandy. Mr Dundee is then astonished when Henry pulls out the very thing he asked for (which even includes a gift tag addressed to him).
Henry leaves the Police Station, and continues to give out presents from his sack. As a clock tolls the late hour, Henry finds that his bag is now empty, and sits on a stoop. As he does so, a man from a nearby residence sits down with him, and sees that Henry doesn't have a gift of his own. Henry tells him that he is very happy with how the evening turned out, and wishes that if he could, he'd love to keep on doing what he did tonight.
As he parts ways with the man, Henry leaves the empty sack behind, and goes down the same alley where he had found the sack in the first place. This time, Henry is shocked to find a sleigh, 8 reindeer, and an elf. The elf happily proclaims that they have alot of work to do to get ready for next year. After convincing himself that what he's seeing is real, Henry climbs aboard the sleigh, and takes off.
Meanwhile, the officer and Mr Dundee have left the Police Station. As they look into the sky, they see Henry in flight, and continue on their way, passing by the empty sack that Henry had carried around that night, spreading cheer to the meek.