About a young boy, referred to as "Buddy," and his older cousin, who is unnamed in the story but is called Sook in later adaptations. The boy is the narrator, and his older cousin - who is eccentric and childlike - is his best friend. They live in a house with other relatives, who are authoritative and stern, and have a dog named Queenie. The family is very poor, but Buddy looks forward to Christmas every year nevertheless, and he and his elderly cousin save their pennies for this occasion. Every year at Christmastime, Buddy and his friend collect pecans and buy whiskey - from a scary American Indian bootlegger named Haha Jones - and many other ingredients to make fruitcakes. They send the cakes to acquaintances they have met only once or twice, and to people they've never met at all, like President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.