The Simpsons: Season 1, Episode 1

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

TV Episode  -   -  Animation | Comedy
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 3,271 users  
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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 Claus Manager / Santa Claus Teacher / Announcer / Clerk (voice)
Girl (voice)
Santa Claus Girl / Todd Flanders / Santa Claus 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
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Did You Know?


The title is based on "The Christmas Song" or "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" written in 1944 by Mel Tormé and Robert Wells. The most famous version was record by Nat 'King' Cole. See more »


The copyright date is given as 1990, yet this episode aired in 1989. See more »


Bart: [upon discovering his father has taken a temporary job as a mall Santa] Dad, you must really love us to sink so low.
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Crazy Credits

During the credits, the Simpsons sing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". See more »


The Merry Gent
Written by Alan Moorhouse
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Seems to have been forgotten by most people
16 December 2005 | by (The Penumbra) – See all my reviews

When you mention Christmas specials one would normally think of Charlie Brown, The Smurfs, He-Man/She-Ra or any other franchise that 'saves Christmas'. No one really remembers that the Simpsons began with their very own Christmas special.

Already a hit as an animated short series on the Tracey Ullman show, The Simpsons kicked off their 17-year plus career as a prime-time family with this festive episode.

Excited and filled with yuletide cheer The Simpsons come face to face with disaster when Marge's savings need to be blown on tattoo-removal surgery for Bart. And Mr. Burns cancels bonuses for all his semi-skilled employees. Flanders is already throwing his family the best Christmas ever and to make matters worse Patty and Selma show up and cast their judging eyes upon Homer in a more evil way than usual. He can't let them all down so he humiliates himself with a job as a mall Santa Claus.

The job pays poorly so he gambles it at the track, expecting a miracle to happen. Do you think it will? Since this was way back at the very beginning of The Simpsons the animation looks pretty rough and the voice acting (especially from some of the children) sounds a lot like the Charlie Brown phonetic acting. And since this is an older episode Homer isn't the machine he became in 1998+ seasons. He's still a human being with feelings who tries to be a good dad. Bart is still a kid who gets in trouble and Marge is still a devoted mum. You know what I mean when I say that none of this is really relevant in The Simpsons anymore since every new season just gets worse and worse as the writers get more and more cynical.

This one Christmas Special represents the exact opposite of all that. It was made to make a difference to your Christmas. And if your tired of the awful bore that it's become now then perhaps you should check it out.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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