The Simpsons: Season 1, Episode 1

Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire (17 Dec. 1989)

TV Episode  -   -  Animation | Comedy
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Christmas seems doomed for the Simpson family when Homer receives no holiday bonus. Hoping to make extra money, he becomes a mall Santa Claus in an attempt to bring the family a happy holiday.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Homer Simpson / Barney Gumble / Elf Moldy / Grampa Simpson (voice)
Bart Simpson / Ralph Wiggum / SNPP employee / Radio singing voice / Boy / Lewis / Cashier / Elf Bubbles (voice)
Lisa Simpson (voice)
Moe Szyslak (voice)
Mr. Burns / Principal Seymour Skinner / Mr. Largo / Ned Flanders / Tattoo Guy / Waylon Smithers / Dr. Zitofsky / Loudspeaker Announcer in Shop / Santa Clause Manager / Santa Class Teacher / Announcer / Clerk (voice)
Girl (voice)
Santa Clause Girl / Todd Flanders / Santa Clause Woman / Milhouse Van Houten / Son (voice)


During Christmas at the Simpsons, Bart asks for a tattoo. Marge takes them to the mall to buy presents. Bart sees a tattoo parlor and lies about his age to get a "Mother" tattoo. Marge catches Bart while the tattoo parlor is working on it. Marge runs in and drags Bart out. She spends all the Christmas money on removing Bart's tattoo, and Mr. Burns doesn't give out bonuses. Homer then gets a job at the mall as Santa Claus. Bart goes to the mall and pulls off Homer's beard. Homer is then left without a job, and only gets paid $13.00. Will Christmas get any better for the Simpsons? Written by

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Twas the Week Before Christmas and Fate Played a Joke. No Tree and No Presents, Homer was Broke!


Animation | Comedy


TV-G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 December 1989 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


DVD commentary revealed that the creators got letters of praise for heightening the awareness of the abandonment of racing dogs even though they didn't know it was a real problem when they created the episode. See more »


When Skinner steps up to the podium after the first graders sing, he is not drawn to scale, appearing as tall as the children behind him. See more »


Bart: Come on, Dad, if TV has taught me anything, it's that miracles always happen to poor kids at Christmas. It happened to Tiny Tim, it happened to Charlie Brown, it happened to the Smurfs, and it's gonna happen to us.
Homer: Okay, let's go. Who's Tiny Tim?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Copyright date given as 1990, despite a 1989 air date. See more »


References A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) See more »


Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Written by Johnny Marks
Performed by the Simpsons
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

"Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" was a great start for the long-running animated show "The Simpsons"
20 October 2012 | by (Baton Rouge, La.) – See all my reviews

When Fox celebrated the network's 25th year last spring, (even though, technically, it actually started the previous fall of '86 with the late night show "The Late Show starring Joan Rivers". The people in power are obviously only counting when its prime-time lineup began with "Married...with Children" the following year.) it picked this Simpsons Christmas special as the second show in its anniversary line-up that night between the first ep of that first show I mentioned in the parenthesis and the 25th anniversary special that followed. This longest-running TV family actually began life the two years prior to this initial episode of "The Simpsons" as a running animated skit of short length on "The Tracy Ullman Show". The buzz there led to a commitment to full-length series which ended up with an even bigger buzz which lasts to this day. It seems dad Homer (voice of Dan Castellaneta) won't get the Christmas bonus at work and Marge (Julie Kavner) had to spend her savings to get rid of son Bart's (Nancy Cartwright) tattoo. So Homer becomes a Santa at the mall but the check turns out to not be much. So he and Bart end up trying to win at the dog races and...If you haven't seen this, I won't reveal what happens. I'll just say that while the edge of those Tracy Ullman shorts are here, there's also some warmth that balances the humor. And hearing Lisa (Yeardley Smith) defend her father in front of in-laws Patty and Selma (both also voiced by Ms. Kavner) was also funny and touching. Really, this was a fine start for the iconic series. So on that note, Happy 25th, Fox!

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