It's Thanksgiving time, and Marshall and Lily visit Marshall's family in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Marshall plays a game of "bask-ice-ball" (a no-rules, brawling combination of basketball and ice hockey that the Eriksen family invented) with his father and elder brothers while Lily helps his sister-in-law and mother in the kitchen. The talk turns to babies, and Mrs. Eriksen reveals that her first-born son was almost twelve pounds at birth ("The doctor thought he was twins!"); this frightens Lily, who is dwarfed not only by Marshall but his entire family (at 6'4", Marshall is the shortest of his brothers), and she dreads the idea of trying to give birth to a baby that size. At dinner, Lily gets into an argument with Marshall and the Eriksens when she reveals she isn't going to change her surname after the wedding and doesn't want to raise their kids in Minnesota. Increasingly worked up, she drives off to a convenience store, where she is arrested for public urination. Marshall goes to the station, and finds out Lily was using a home pregnancy test. Lily tells him of her concerns about raising a family of "mayonnaise-guzzling giants in Minnesota", but Marshall, faced with the very real possibility of having a child, assures her that they are not going to settle down in Minnesota, and alleviates Lily's fears. Finally, Marshall and Lily discover that Lily isn't pregnant; they return to the Eriksen home, much relieved, and the Thanksgiving dinner concludes amicably.
Meanwhile, Robin and Ted have no plans for Thanksgiving, and decide to help out at a soup kitchen. When they arrive, they are shocked to find Barney volunteering there already, and that he is highly regarded as one of the best volunteers on staff. The organizer tells Ted and Robin that they have enough volunteers, but after being vouched for by Barney, they are allowed to help. Soon after, they find out that not all the food received as donations to the soup kitchen is actually distributed to the needy; many volunteers take the better, more expensive donations for themselves. Ted, seeing that this is selfish, begins to distribute rare food items to the needy. Ted, Robin, and Barney are kicked out, and Barney (who was volunteer of the year) becomes upset with Ted; it turns out that Barney volunteered there as mandatory community service after being arrested for public urination on the judge's church. To make it up to him, Ted and Robin agree to go to the strip club, The Lusty Leopard, with Barney, and Ted pays for a homeless man to get a lap dance, which he realizes is the one act of charity he performed on Thanksgiving. Another stripper named Tracy compliments Ted on his generosity, and Future Ted tells his kids "And that's the story of how I met your mother", shocking them before revealing, to their relief, that he is joking.
Ted's kids are shocked when, after telling them of his meeting a stripper named Tracy, he says "And that, kids, is the true story of how I met your mother." Although he was joking, this led many fans to correctly believe that The Mother's real name was Tracy.