Stevie is a sweet 13-year-old about to explode. His mom is loving and attentive, but a little too forthcoming about her romantic life. His big brother is a taciturn and violent bully. So Stevie searches his working-class Los Angeles suburb for somewhere to belong. He finds it at the Motor Avenue skate shop.
America is in the midst of the Depression, and the Kamp family is struggling to get by, especially after Mrs. Kamp\'s untimely death. Now little Ruthie, with her mother gone and her father overwhelmed by doctor bills resulting from her brother\'s polio, expects another Christmas without presents or festivities. But when her father brings home one dollar in change and lets the children use it to buy special gifts for each other, the Kamps come to find that money isn\'t what fills Christmas with joy, love, and miracles.