A frosty Christmas Eve is quiet and light.

Solokha, Vakula’s mother and a stately widow, comes outside from her hut. She is courted by Pan Golova, the Schoolmaster and Chub. All of a sudden, a new admirer appears – it is the Devil from hell. He hints at knowing Solokha’s secret – she is a witch. The company takes a walk, Solokha rides a broomstick, and the Devil follows her raising a snowstorm and stealing the moon. The Devil wants to take vengeance on his enemy Vakula the Smith who painted the Devil in an unsightly manner, so funny that they mocked at the Devil even in hell. The Devil thinks that everyone will stay inside because of foul weather, and Vakula will not be able to see Oksana who he is in love with while her father went to the shinok.

In the meantime, Oksana is at home getting dressed up in front of a mirror and waiting for her maids. The girl is dreaming about her future. Vakula comes and asks her permission to be near the beautiful Oksana. The girl guesses about the smith’s feelings but cannot help but banter him. Her words hurts Vakula’s feelings and he goes away. Oksana is upset and admits to herself that she is in love with the smith. Solokha and the Devil return home. Suddenly, someone knocks at the door, and Solokha hides his fellow in one of the sacks near the stove. Pan Golova crosses the threshold. Solokha treats gorilka to the guest. Someone knocks at the door again. Solokha hides Pan Golova in a sack and opens the door – it is the Schoolmaster. He barely starts flirting with her as there comes another knock at the door. Solokha hides the Schoolmaster in a sack and opens the doors to a new guest – Chub, Oksana’s father. Solokha fancies Chub and wants to marry him – she is happy to see the guest. Their date is interrupted with another knock – this is Vakula returned home. The vexed Solokha hides Chub in a sack too and meets her son in a hostile manner. Disappointed with Oksana’s behaviour, the absent-minded Vakula goes to sleep in the smithy taking the sacks piled up at the stove without guessing that his mother’s admirers are in them.

The snowstorm subsides, and fellows and girls sing carols on the streets of Dikanka. Vakula appears with the sacks. Oksana laughs and promising to marry him as soon as he gives her the same kind of cherevichki as the Tsarina wears. The totally upset Vakula throws the heavy sacks on the ground and runs away with a clear reserve to commit suicide. To mutual amazement, Chub, Pan Golova and the Schoolmaster get out from the sacks.

Vakula comes to the shore of an ice-covered river to drown himself. The joyful Devil gets out of the smallest sack which Vakula did not throw – he anticipates his reprisal over the hated smith who is about to ruin his soul. But the ready-witted smith catches the Devil and tells him to get him to the Tsarina in St. Petersburg.

When Vakula arrives in the capital, he meets Zaporozhye cossacks and with the help of the Devil he and his countrymen are received by His Highness. Vakula manages to get the same kind of cherevichki for his fiancée as the Empress has. The smith goes back home.

In Christmas morning, the folks return from the service and see Solokha and Oksana bemoaning Vakula’s death. All of a sudden, the smith appears and asks Chub to give his blessing to marry Oksana and presents the cherevichki to her. But the girl doesn’t need them at all – she is happy to see her darling Vakula. Chub gives his blessing. The folks glorify the bride and groom.