Christmas is approaching, and Bart wants nothing more than the new, must-have video game Bonestorm. However, Marge refuses to buy it, due to the violence and potential distraction from Bart's schoolwork. Discouraged, Bart visits the local Try-N-Save discount store where Nelson and then classic video game characters convince him to steal a copy of the game. On his way out of the store, Bart is caught by the store's strict security guard, Don Brodka, who tells Bart to leave and never return or risk spending "Christmas in juvenile hall".
Unaware of Bart's shoplifting, Marge takes the family to the same store to get their annual Christmas picture taken. Bart tries to avoid detection and trouble, but is spotted by Brodka, who shows a disbelieving Marge and Homer the security tape of Bart shoplifting. Marge is disappointed by Bart's actions and becomes distant with him. Bart is left out of family activities, such as decorating the Christmas tree and making snow statues. He fears he has lost her love, and decides he must regain it.
Bart then returns home with a bulge in his coat. Marge confronts him, believing he was shoplifting again, and she finds Bart has hidden a picture of himself bought as a Christmas present for her. Marge is overjoyed, and in gratitude for receiving this early Christmas gift, gives Bart his -- the new game that a store salesman told her "all the kids want", the golf simulator Lee Carvallo's Putting Challenge. Though profoundly underwhelmed, Bart looks into his mother's expectant face and thanks her.