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.
For a school project, Bud's class is given jobs in the real world. Bud is Traffic Court Judge for the day - the day that Jim gets a ticket. Kathy breaks a neighbor's window for the third time in the month and Jim wants to teach a lesson.
It's Kathy's birthday and she tries to find the cake and presents before the celebration. And then a friend of George's shows up for Jim, who says "any friend of George is a friend of mine". Kathy thinks he is ruining her party.
Everyone at school thinks he is a snob because he does not talk to a lot of people. It is actually because he is terribly shy. Jim talks Bud into hosting a masquerade party at home to show his friends he is not a snob.
Bud wants Jim to promise to take him to a rodeo, but Jim does not want to promise. Promises gets him into trouble, Once, to get Kathy to take medicine, he promised he would sleep with her in a play house and he reluctantly kept the promise.
The local newspaper is hosting a Father of the Year contest. Betty, Bud, and Kathy want to nominate Jim. Jim finds out and is overjoyed that his children want to submit an entry. But the kids cannot think of anything to actually write.
Jim calls a family meeting because there has been too much spending recently and they must cut expenses. Just when he tells everyone to save money, Jim gets a deal on a mink coat. He buys it then has to justify his purchase to the kids.
Margaret's cousin Louise is visiting. The Andersons have a dinner party for Louise and her boyfriend Tom. Margaret hopes Tom will propose to Louise. Margaret does everything to make the mood romantic, despite the children's interruptions.
Margaret's cousin Louise is getting married. The wedding preparations are underway with food, chairs, flowers and more. Louise is nervous and Tom is weary. Louise & Tom have an argument and say the wedding is canceled.
Jim runs into an acquaintance who brags about his family members and all their achievements. Jim's family does not measure up, so he decides to encourage Betty, Bud, and Kathy to do their best and excel at something.
The newspaper manager tells Jim that Bud is slacking in his paper delivery route. Bud has every excuse as to why he cannot do it. The manager gives him one more chance. Bud messes up due to minor injuries. Jim finishes the route for Bud.
Kathy is upset because all she seems to get are hand-me-downs. Jim and Margaret decide to treat her with more equality in privileges. When Betty wants to invite a boy to dinner, Kathy invites a boy first. Turns out it is the same boy.