The Simpsons (1989– )
27 user 1 critic

Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire 

The family is forced to spend all of their savings to get Bart's new tattooo removed, and with no money for Christmas, Homer is forced to become a store Santa.


David Silverman


Mimi Pond, Matt Groening (created by) | 3 more credits »

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Episode complete credited cast:
Dan Castellaneta ... Homer Simpson / Barney Gumble / Elf Moldy / Grampa Simpson (voice)
Julie Kavner ... Marge Simpson / Patty Bouvier / Selma Bouvier (voice)
Nancy Cartwright ... Bart Simpson / Ralph Wiggum / SNPP employee / Radio singing voice / Boy / Lewis / Cashier / Elf Bubbles (voice)
Yeardley Smith ... Lisa Simpson (voice)
Harry Shearer ... 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)
Hank Azaria ... Moe Szyslak (voice)
Jo Ann Harris ... Girl (voice)
Pamela Hayden ... Santa Claus Girl / Rod 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:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

17 December 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Especial de Navidad See more »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


First appearances (not including The Tracey Ullman Show (1987)) of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie, Principal Skinner, Waylon Smithers (just voice), Mr. Burns, Grandpa, Patty, Selma, Snowball II, Ned Flanders, Todd Flanders, Moe, Barney, Lewis, Milhouse, and Santa's Little Helper. See more »


When Marge reveals the Christmas money from her hair, her necklace changes from red to white. See more »


Homer: Look at this tree. Beauty, isn't it?
Patty: Why is there a bird house in it?
Homer: Er... That's an ornament.
Selma: Do I smell gun powder?
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Referenced in Nostalgia Critic: We Wish You a Turtle Christmas (2015) See more »


O Little Town of Bethlehem
Music by Lewis H. Redner
Lyrics by Phillips Brooks
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A leaner but not meaner Simpsons
23 July 2006 | by BrandtSponsellerSee all my reviews

The most interesting thing for any contemporary Simpsons fans to notice in this first episode is how much everything has changed over the years.

The early Simpsons shows were created on a much smaller budget, necessitating a smaller, less experienced, and in some ways, less skilled team. As a result, the animation style here is much rougher. There are far fewer people doing voices. The voice work isn't nearly as smooth as it would become. The personalities of the characters hadn't settled into norms. There aren't as many layers of jokes zipping frantically by.

The feel, overall, isn't that removed from, say, a Beavis and Butthead episode. Not that that's a bad thing. I happen to love Beavis and Butthead, too. It's just a much rougher style than we've come to expect from The Simpsons.

Aside from all of that, though, this is a charming Christmas episode, almost a Simpsons version of A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965). Like that famous work, an elementary school pageant is featured prominently, there are problems procuring a Christmas tree, and the "true meaning of Christmas", aside from commercialism, is explored, although here it is done so unwillingly, and there are no religious-tinged speeches to accompany the proceedings--The Simpsons is known for its irreverence, after all. But at its heart, while humorously introducing us to the main characters, this really is a sweet Christmas story and worth watching for that purpose, which is what I plan to save future viewings for.

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