TV Simpsons
Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire
Bart the Genius


  • This is the first and (so far) only episode that does not start with any kind of show opening, excluding Treehouse of Horrors. The title is shown and then the episode begins.
  • This episode is the only episode to air in the '80s, while all the shorts were in the '80s.
  • This episode was nominated for, but did not win, a Primetime Emmy Award in the categories of "Outstanding Animated Program (for programming one hour or less)" and "Outstanding Editing for Miniseries or a Special."
  • DVD commentary revealed that the creators got letters of praise for heightening the awareness of the abandonment of racing dogs, who are often thrown out onto the streets when their owners decide the dogs are no longer profitable, even though they did not know it was a serious problem when they created the episode.
  • When Lisa is doing the tribal dance, many people were curious as to why she isn't wearing anything from the waist down besides a hula skirt. Years later, the DVD commentary for this episode revealed that Lisa is actually wearing a yellow leotard, and is in fact not naked.
  • Although it was the first to air, it was technically supposed to be the eighth episode; the first episode production-wise was intended to be “Some Enchanted Evening”, but due to animation problems from South Korea that resulted in “Some Enchanted Evening” to be postponed until the season finale, this episode ended up being first.
  • Matt Groening said that he was inspired to do the "Christmas of Many Lands" sketch by an oral report he gave when he was in the second grade. Groening, whose grandmother is from Russia, gave a report on how Russian children are greeted by "Grandfather Winter" and given gifts from him, and how due to differences in the Julian and Gregorian calendars the Russians celebrate their Christmas in January.
  • If you listen closely, you can hear the song "Santa Baby" by Madonna played inside Moe's Tavern.
  • Todd sounds very different in this episode.
  • Marge was the first to speak in this episode, making her the first to speak in the whole series.
  • On the airing of August 21, 2014, also the first day of the "Every. Simpsons. Ever." on FXX, This was the first episode to Seasons 1 through Mid-Season 20, ending with "Lisa the Drama Queen" to broadcast in High Definition (HD) instead of airing in Standard Definition (SD).
  • This episode, and the series version of The Simpsons, turned 25 years old in the same day of December 17, 2014.

Signs and Other Things To Read

  • The Springfield Elementary School Christmas show receives 3½ out of four stars in a recent review advertised in front of the building.
  • Lisa, Maggie and Homer poked Bart's removed tattoo five times.
  • Lisa requests a pony six times on her Christmas wish list.
  • Next door to the tattoo parlor is Dr. Zitsofsky's Dermatology Clinic. A sign in the window reads, "Tattoos removed by laser."
  • Homer receives a $13 check: He grossed $120 less social security, less unemployment insurance, less Santa training, less costume purchase, less beard rental, less Christmas club.

Background jokes

  • One tattoo in the Happy Sailor Tattoo Parlor features a knife piercing a heart.
  • Marge pulls her car into parking area "ZZ" at the Springfield Mall.
  • The "slightly irregular" Christmas trees cost $45.
  • Santa's Little Helper was number 8 in the greyhound race.
    • His number could be a reference to the fact that this episode was the eighth episode in production for Season 1.

Counting Scenes

  • There are twenty eight children in Bart's fourth Grade class on stage during the Christmas concert.
  • Maggie fell five times:
    • While Bart and Lisa were writing their letters to Santa (twice)
    • Again off screen shortly
    • Homer asks for the extension cord
    • Outside admiring Ned's Christmas lights



  • Homer does not know who Tiny Tim is, but Bart does.


  • The little boy in the play at the beginning appears to be Ralph Wiggum, but his voice is completely different.
  • When Marge reveals the Christmas money from her hair, her necklace changes from red to white.
  • When Bart is getting the tattoo, it takes seven minutes to be branded. Real-life heart tattoos take four hours to be done.
  • Homer did not buy any presents for Lisa.
  • When Homer walks out of Circus of Values with his purchases, he bumps into Flanders, and all the presents scatter everywhere. Watch out for a red present with a green bow that goes flying near the left hand side of the screen. As soon as it hits the ground it turns into a pink box with a white bow wrapped around it, with no shot changes. Other presents move around and change colors, too.
  • Lewis' skin changes from black to yellow when Milhouse dares Bart to pull Santa's beard off.
  • While having breakfast, all of the Simpsons' glasses of orange juice keep disappearing and reappearing throughout the scene.
  • Bart yanks Homer's beard off in the mall, and Homer then takes Bart into Santa's workshop. When they are inside Santa's workshop, Homer's beard is back on, despite the fact that he didn't put it back on; he let it fall to the ground when Bart pulled it off.
  • When Marge is talking on the phone to Patty and Selma, they mention something that sounds like they said that Homer is ugly. Marge then puts down the phone wire that she was curling around her finger. It is easier to see this when you are using DVD, because then you can go into slow-motion, but you can temporarily see that the phone wire disappears when Marge puts it down. It is at the very end of an early scene, because as soon as this happens it changes to another scene.
  • When Homer finds out that he has no Christmas bonus, the background behind Marge is the kitchen, but then it cuts to Homer and the background behind him is the kitchen, too.
  • When Homer has been informed about the Christmas money being spent on Bart getting his tattoo surgically removed, he leaves the house. When he opens and closes the door to leave, the wreath on the door is white with a red bow. When Homer then turns to look his Christmas decorations, the wreath is now green.
  • Just before the kitchen mistake, Marge comes through the door and you see that she has come from a room with a piano in it. It has a musical book on it, but when the shot changes so we see Marge turn the jar upside down, the book of musical notes has disappeared.
  • When Mr. Burns comes on the P.A. system, Homer started eating a donut. He takes a bite and after that the donut stays the same size even though he takes two more bites. Additionally, when Mr. Burns says that there will be no Christmas Bonuses, everyone's donuts disappears.
  • When Homer is putting Christmas lights around the outside of the house, he falls from the roof. You can then hear Lisa and Bart sarcastically clap, but you can see they both have their hands by their side, and no one is clapping.
  • When Milhouse, Bart and Lewis are talking about the fake Santa, Milhouse's eyebrows go from blue to black to blue again.
  • When Homer walks up the front drive you can see the road and there are no markings on it, but when he turns to look at his house, there are orange lines running down the road.
  • If Barney were really Homer's friend, he would have shared his money.
  • After Homer brings Santa's Little Helper home, Homer and Marge hug, and if you look behind them, the background is upside down. There is a picture hanging upside down, and there is a lamp which seems to be hanging from the ceiling. Then in the next shot, the background is normal.
  • The copyright year in the end credits is 1990, but this episode aired in December 1989. It's possible it was supposed to air in 1990.


  • Peanuts: Bart refers to A Charlie Brown Christmas.
  • The Smurfs: Bart refers to The Smurfs Christmas Special.
  • A Christmas Carol: Skinner mentions the book and Bart refers to Tiny Tim.
  • Jingle Bells: Bart sings the "Batman Smells" alternative, and this song plays at the mall when Marge and the kids shop.
  • Miracle on 34th Street: Bart makes a disrespectful remark to a mall Santa.
  • Man o' War: a dog is called Dog o' War.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The family sings it during the end credits.
  • Santa Baby: This song plays in Moe's Tavern.
  • God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen: A jazz version of this song plays at Circus of Values
  • The Twelve Days of Christmas : This song plays at the mall when Homer works as a Santa.
  • Goldfinger: Bart is strapped to a table with a laser beam moving towards him.
  • Gift of the Magi: Homer doesn't get his Christmas bonus and says to himself, "Oh, well, thank goodness for the big jar." Marge used her money to remove Bart's tattoo and says to herself, "Oh, well, thank goodness for Homer's Christmas bonus." This was similar to how in this short story by O. Henry, a man sells his watch to buy his wife an expensive set of combs and his wife has her hair cut, selling the remainder to a wigmaker, in order to buy a gold chain for her husband's watch.
  • The title of this episode is a reference to “The Christmas song”, also known as “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”.
Shorts: Season 3 Season 1 References/Trivia Season 2
Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire

Bart the GeniusHomer's OdysseyThere's No Disgrace Like HomeBart the GeneralMoaning LisaThe Call of the SimpsonsThe Telltale HeadLife on the Fast LaneHomer's Night OutThe Crepes of WrathKrusty Gets BustedSome Enchanted Evening