Ned and Alice somehow think that the perfect Christmas Even activity is taking the kids to Evelyn's, some new department store. Once they get there, the parents decide to let the kids have some time alone as long as they stick together. They immediately head to the toy department and go crazy over these little cars. When they try to sit in them though, a man comes over and screams at them. He's Mr. Fegato, the manager of the whole store.
Fegato tells them that unless they have money, they need to sod off but in nicer words. The twins want to explore and look for the perfect gift for Alice. They find a jewelry box they love but is too expensive and head to the sleepwear department. Steven gets so bored that he decides to go off on his own, though he does remind them that they have just a little bit before they need to meet up with their parents.
While wandering through the store, some random guy rushes by. He grabs Jessica's purse and takes off with all their spending money. Though they give chase, he disappears in the crowd. Feeling like crap, the twins climb into a bed display and wind up falling asleep. When they wake up, the store is closed and everyone is gone. Instead of completely freaking out like I would, they think it's cool and explore some more.
The twins go to the snack area and make huge ice cream sundaes. They then fight some more over what to give Alice. Jess wants these ugly slippers, while Liz prefers an ugly scarf. After returning to the toy department, they ride the cars all around the store and play a bunch of video games. The fun ends when the power goes out and they come across the guy who stole Jessica's purse.
Random dude is actually wearing the purse like a necklace and chases them all around the store. He catches Liz while Jessica is hiding in a play house, puts them both inside, and then stacks boxes in front of the door. Liz helps Jessica climb out the chimney that literally has a working hole in the top who then moves the boxes to let her out. He chases them some more until they get the upper hand when Liz squirts chocolate sauce in his eyes and they tie him up with licorice whips.
Though Jessica calls 911, the operator thinks that she's playing a prank and hangs up on her, so Liz sets off the fire alarm. Fegato rushes in with the police in tow and flips out until they lead him to the thief. The cops then find that he has a whole van out back filled with merchandise. While they were exploring, the twins found a gift to Fegator from his daughter with a letter about how she misses him and it doesn't feel like Christmas without him. They show him the letter, and he melts because that was all he wanted or some other schmaltzy crap.
Not only does he let the twins have the jewelry box for free, but he wraps it for them and tells them they don't need to pay for the ice cream. Right before they arrived, the bad guy almost got away but they heard a bell jingling that caused him to freeze. The twins find a Santa decoration that jingles when you press his stomach. They try to come up with rational ideas for why it would come on but finally decide that maybe it was just a Christmas miracle.
*The twins made a book for Steven with original drawings and a picture frame for Ned. Alice is the only one lucky enough to get a gift from the store.
*They managed to save up a little more than $15 for her gift, which I thought was super cute.
*Seriously though, who lets their third grade kid watch over two second grade kids in a busy department store? And who the fuck thinks it's a good idea to take kids to a department store on Christmas Eve??
*When the twins first woke up in the bed, I thought this would be one of those dream books where they were both asleep. Nah, just a totally unbelievable story.
*According to Ned and Alice, they couldn't find the twins and then the store closed so they just had to leave. The manager wouldn't let them look around so they went to the cops. It somehow took enough time for the cops to come back that the entire store emptied out, everyone went home for the night, and the twins had time to roam free. Having worked retail before, that would never happen.