The Simpsons (1989– )
29 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 »




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?


Mimi Pond said of writing this episode, "It was not a great experience for me. I would rather focus on my comics!" 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 »


Homer: [answering the phone] Hello?
Patty: Is Marge there?
Homer: Who is this?
Patty: Marge, please?
Homer: This is her sister, isn't it?
Patty: May I please speak to Marge?
Homer: Whom shall I ask is calling?
Patty: Marge, please.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There is no Blackboard or Couch gag in this episode's opening titles, owing to the holiday theme of the episode making the title sequence different. See more »


References The Smurfs (1981) See more »


Santa Baby
Written by Joan Javits, Philip Springer and Tony Springer
Performed by Tracey Ullman
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Not the Simpsons of later years but still enjoyable with an amusing air to it
18 January 2006 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

When Bart gets a tattoo, Marge is forced to spend the family Christmas money on getting it removed; but at least they'll have Homer's Christmas bonus to cover them. However there is no bonus to be had, but Homer is too proud to admit it and sets out to take up an extra job to somehow try and save Christmas for the Simpsons.

The pilot for one of the most successful shows on television is a remarkably assured affair. Going from the rough shorts on the Tracey Ullman show to this, the jump is impressive and, although it is not as good as it would become a couple of series later, it is still unmistakably The Simpsons. The plot is pretty much the reliable turn to Homer trying to do things right while failing at the same time, it is not as sharp a comedy as later episodes and not as clever but it is still an enjoyable Christmas special with a gentle comedy. The message about the Christmas spirit is nothing that new but it is quite refreshingly free of sentimentality.

The characters are not quite the Simpsons that I have gotten used to but they are still OK. Homer is more a lovable dolt rather than the bitter, angry dolt that I personally prefer; Marge is a simple loving mother while Bart is naughty but still just a boy. Lisa is Lisa from the start and I enjoyed seeing the cast of support characters at their starting points (Barnie, Moe, Grandpa, Marge's sisters etc) but this is not the episode to come to looking for the characters you know from later episodes. Matching the characters, the voice work is not as strong and sharp as it would be later – most noticeably Homer is slower and thicker in his voice than later.

Overall though, this is a surprisingly solid first full showing for The Simpsons. It isn't the programme that it would become in several series time but it is still an enjoyable Christmas special with some good laughs and a general air of humour to it.

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