As the Christmas holiday approaches, Angel is tormented by evil apparitions who want him to eliminate Buffy.
People in Sunnydale prepare for Christmas tide, except Jewish Wilow, who tells lover Oz she's ready for physical intimacy, he decides to wait. Now his physical suffering is over, Angel is haunted by a new kind of nightmares and visions, always and everywhere, about Angelus' horrible past since the 19th century, with victims and other persona appearing and talking to him. Learning those visions even enter Buffy's dreams, focusing on sex with her to lose his soul and then killing her, Giles agrees to do research as Angel desperately begged him; he is helped by Buffy and Xander, for whom Christmas is a nightmare of lacking any family celebration. They find that Angel is tormented by the Bringers or Harbingers of Death, the three high-priests of the First Evil, older then demons and incorporeal, and Buffy finds the mark of its residence. Angel can't stand the fear of giving in to temptation at the price of her life and resolves to commit suicide by sunrise, Buffy's pleading to make him resist seems to fail, only a Christmas miracle can save the seasonal day...
- It's Christmas in Sunnydale and Angel is haunted with dreams of the people he murdered over the years as Angelus, but when Buffy starts getting dragged into his dreams, they realize something is not right. Visions of his past victims, including Jenny Calendar, appear to him and try to get him to kill Buffy, saying that he will be released from the pain if he does so. Angel cannot bring himself to do this, so instead he opts to kill himself by standing on a hill and waiting for the sun to come up. Buffy and Giles figure out The First Evil has been driving Angel insane. Buffy finds the Bringers and pummels them. After The First appears to her, informing her that she can't possibly fight it and that Angel is about to be dust, she runs to his mansion to stop him. Oz explains to Willow after she said she was ready to have sex with him, Oz didn't want to, he wanted it to be special, when they both need it. Buffy finds Angel atop the hill behind the mansion, awaiting sunrise. They have a tense and heartbreaking conversation in which Buffy punches him and he throws her to the ground. He wants her to leave him alone because he thinks the world is better off without him. With tears in both vampire champion and slayer's eyes, looking at each other, the heatwave from which Sunnydale has been suffering abruptly ends and the first flakes of snow start to fall. With the weather report saying the sun shouldn't be expected to be seen at all today, Buffy and Angel take a romantic walk through the town.