Meanwhile, Kevin's mother arrives in the United States—in Scranton, PA, to be specific (she's been relayed their from Dallas after leaving Paris). She's trying to get a flight to Chicago, where the McCallisters are from.
The airline can't get her a seat, but a guy named Gus Polinski steps up. He leads a polka band and he invites her to travel with the band in a rental van, since they're headed to Milwaukee—Chicago is on the way and they can drop her off.
Back in the Chicago area, Kevin leaves his house and Harry and Marv spot him cutting down a pine tree in his yard. As he decorates the tree, Harry looks in the window.
Kevin sees Harry reflected in an ornament, and yells for his Dad, trying to fake Harry out. But Harry realizes it's a trick—he knows Kevin's home alone.
Kevin hears Harry and Marv talking outside, saying they'll be back to rob the house at nine p.m.
On her way home, Kevin's mom rides in the van with the polka band, which is playing Christmas songs.
Later at night, Kevin heads to a local Christmas display with a fake elf and Santa. Kevin believes the imitation Santa works for the real Santa, and asks him to tell Santa to give him his family back. The Santa (thinking they're dead) grimly says he'll see what he can do. He gives Kevin some Tic-Tacs as a gift.
Kevin's got to keep his breath fresh for the ladies, after all.
On his way home, Kevin sees a happy family getting ready for Christmas together.
He goes to church, and Old Man Marley sits next to him, wishing him a Merry Christmas. Kevin looks scared at first, but Marley tells him that there are silly rumors going around among the kids in the neighborhood about him (Marley). Turns out, he's a nice guy.
He and Kevin chat. After Kevin tells Marley about how he feels guilty over how he treated his family, Marley's says he's at church to see his granddaughter sing in the choir, but he's become estranged from his son (the granddaughter's father) over an argument they had years ago.
He tells Kevin that, for this reason, he (Marley) and his son won't spend Christmas together as a family.
Kevin explains how he conquered his fear of the basement, urging Marley to conquer his fear of contacting his son. Marley seems uncertain, but says they'll see what happens.