Homer and Marge go Christmas shopping at a Try-N-Save megastore, where frenzied shoppers are snatching the holiday season's most popular toys. Homer, posing as a store cashier, buys toys that customers tried to buy from him.
At bedtime on Christmas Eve, the family makes last-minute preparations at home, Marge tells everyone that no one can open their presents until 7 AM the next morning and confiscates all of the alarm clocks. However, Bart drinks 12 glasses of water to wake up early and unwrap his gifts, one of which is a remote-controlled fire truck. He plays with it until it sprays water on an overloaded electrical socket, causing a fire that engulfs and melts the plastic Christmas tree and all of the presents beneath it. Bart hides the evidence beneath the snow in the front yard.
When the family comes downstairs to find the tree and presents gone, Bart makes up a story about how he caught a burglar taking off with their tree and presents. The police investigate and Kent Brockman does a human interest story on the case.
As a result of the report, everyone in Springfield gives them a new Christmas tree and $15,000. With the donations, Homer buys a new car. Driving it home, Homer gets stuck behind The Plow King and impatiently passes it. He drives the car onto a frozen lake, forcing everyone to jump out. The ice cracks, causing the car to sink and blow up.
The next morning, a guilt-ridden Bart admits the truth to his family. Though furious, they go along with the lie when Brockman and his news crew arrive to do a follow-up story. When a cameraman, with help from Santa's Little Helper, finds the tree's remains, the family is forced to explain the truth; Springfield's citizens, feeling scammed, shun them in public and mail them angry letters demanding they pay back the $15,000.
After a failed attempt by Marge to win the money on the game show Jeopardy!, the Simpsons arrive home to find everyone in Springfield gathered on their lawn and Marge thinks they have forgiven them. However, while that is the case, they steal all of their belongings, including Santa's Little Helper and Snowball ll, to cover the $15,000 debt. The family playfully fight over a tattered washcloth, the only thing they have left.
- Main article: Miracle on Evergreen Terrace (Springfield Animals episode)/Appearances
- Main article: Miracle on Evergreen Terrace (Springfield Animals episode)/Gags