It's Christmastime in San Clemente, Calif. -- a time when families get together. But in the life of Ryan Sheckler, things aren't always that simple. Getting into the spirit of things, Ryan's mom, Gretchen, is hanging Christmas lights and...... Read Full Episode Summary »
Ryan arranges a holiday party for family and friends, but because of recent divorce issues, Ryan is faced with a whole new set of problems.
It's Christmastime in San Clemente, Calif. -- a time when families get together. But in the life of Ryan Sheckler, things aren't always that simple.
Getting into the spirit of things, Ryan's mom, Gretchen, is hanging Christmas lights and decorating the house. Ryan is looking forward to the holiday, especially since things have gotten better since he made pacts with both his parents to not talk about the divorce. But while they're decorating the house, curiosity gets the best of Ryan and he asks his mother about a recent court date. Her answer is short and sweet: the divorce is officially a done deal.
Wanting to stay away from the drama he experienced last Christmas, when he had to split his time between his mom and dad, Ryan decides to throw a Christmas party. During lunch with his friends, Ryan reveals his plans and Mitch suggests having it at a neutral location so that both of Ryan's parents can come and it won't be awkward. Good idea!
Unfortunately, though, Ryan's hope of hosting the gathering at a restaurant is sidelined when he tells Gretchen his plan. Gretchen is 100% on board with throwing a party, but she wants to do it at home. Afraid of hurting his mom's feelings, Ryan goes along with her idea.
As the party plans progress, Ryan sits down with Gretchen to go over the guest list, but Ryan's excitement is dampened when he realizes he's stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to his dad, Randy. Having Randy at the party would make Gretchen unhappy, but not inviting him means possibly derailing the progress Ryan and his father have been making toward healing their soured relationship.
After retreating to his room, Ryan talks to his girlfriend Kayla, who thinks he should invite his dad. But Ryan's not so sure that's the right call. Frustrated about the position he's in, Ryan goes to his father and tells him about the party. Even though Randy appreciates his son's honesty, Ryan can see how hurt his dad is about being excluded from the festivities.
In an effort to spend more time together, Ryan and Randy hit the gym. During their workout, Ryan breaks their pact by bringing up the divorce and learns that Randy is disappointed by the final verdict. After getting an earful, Ryan is sorry he brought up the subject, especially when Randy threatens to crash the Christmas party. When Ryan tells him it's a bad idea, Randy admits he just wishes the whole family, including Gretchen, could "chill" together.
When Ryan returns home, he tells his mom that he hopes the entire Sheckler family can get to the point where they can all hang out. He has no misguided notions about his parents reconciling, but he welcomes the chance for them to all be together without being at each other's throats.
Then Ryan reveals something that has been bothering him for years -- he thinks he was the cause of his parents' divorce. Gretchen tries soothing her son's fears and lets him know that he was not the cause, but Ryan refuses to listen and storms off.
The next morning, Ryan and Gretchen discuss the blowup. Gretchen admits that she's pleased that he finally opened up to her and got things off his chest. Despite her kind words, Ryan tells her he's ready to start looking for his own home again, saying he needs to be on neutral territory where both parents feel welcome. Although she's not thrilled with his decision, she realizes it's time to let him go.
After Ryan and Gretchen's heart-to-heart, guests begin arriving for the Sheckler Christmas party. Kayla, Casey, Tony and the rest of the gang gather and things get a little wacky during the "white elephant" gift exchange where tacky, tasteless and truly awful presents are unwrapped. Partygoers end up with gifts like an autographed photo of Shane and a football helmet for guzzling beer. When all is said and done, Ryan thanks his mother for throwing the party, especially since it reminded him of how special his family and friends are.
Making up for lost time, Ryan and Randy hit the links for a friendly game of golf. While driving some balls down the fairway, the father-son duo hatches a plan for spending Christmas together in the future. Although Ryan wants things to go back to normal, he realizes that "normal" doesn't exist anymore. From now on he's going to start his own traditions.