The Simpsons are renowned for their annual Halloween episode, which usually ends up being the best moment from recent seasons. However, over the show’s current 32 season span, it has had 15 Christmas episodes, with a new one set to be released 13th December. The first Simpsons episode Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire is probably the one that pops into your head when thinking of The Simpsons and Christmas, so I thought I’d let you know about the rest and rank them from worst to the best. Happy Holidays.
15. ‘Tis The 30th Season (S30E10)
After Marge fails to gain a new smart TV in the Black Friday sales for Christmas, Homer and the kids want to make her happy for the holidays and decide to book a getaway vacation in Florida (Remember when they went to Florida in Season 11). However, the complex they saw on the internet does not live up to its expectations. Homer, Bart and Lisa still try to put on a brave face for Marge, but the whole family agree it was a terrible vacation and make it back in time to spend Christmas at Moe’s. These Christmas episodes seem to get worse every year.
14. The Nightmare After Krustmas (S28E10)
Krusty and his daughter Sophie, are invited to the Simpson home for Christmas, which Krusty turns into a show. Sophie is angry at her father for turning the holiday season into another one of his clownish escapades and throws him out. Reverend Lovejoy is struggling to pull in new converters and after seeing Krusty down on his luck, brings him to the church to draw people in. Krusty wins back his daughter’s love and ends up converting his whole show to include Christian themes. There’s a debate that the Jewish clown who is known to not practice his faith much, potentially getting a baptism. I’ll leave you to decide on that one. This episode struggles to pull any laughs.
13. White Christmas Blues (S25E08)
When Springfield is the only town with snow in America (the rest is affected by global warming), the town turns into a holiday resort which includes Marge turning the Simpson home into an Air B&B. Marge realises she might have bitten off more than she could chew with the brochure advertisements not being held to their standards. The episode also has the most important meaning of Christmas… money. Lots of random one-off characters are thrown into the episode and the constant jokes about the Simpsons low-budget hotel fall short.
12. Kill Gil, Volumes I & II (S18E09)
After Gil finds Lisa a Malibu Stacey Christmas present that was saved for his boss’ daughter, he is fired and taken in to spend Christmas with The Simpsons. The only problem is Gil more than over-stays his welcome due to Marge being unable to say ‘no’. After Gil finally leaves, Marge is full of rage and must let her feelings about Gil be known. We know Gil is a pathetic job loser, but how many more episodes do we need to express this?
11. I Won’t Be Home For Christmas (S26E09)
Homer’s journey home on Christmas Eve is sidetracked by a visit to Moe’s and out of pity, stays with the lonely Moe long into the night. He returns home to a furious Marge who is mad at his absence on Christmas Eve night and throws him out. Homer wanders the streets of Springfield hoping to find some friendship and comfort. At the Simpson home, Moe falls down the chimney and reveals to Marge he is responsible for Homer’s tardiness. Marge sets out to find Homer and the episode rushes its ending too easily for my liking and spoils it a bit. Also, there seems to be no concept of time from Marge kicking out Homer. At least it shows Homer having some character reflection, but this has been done before in ‘Tis The Fifteenth Season’.
10. Skinner’s Sense Of Snow (S12E08)
It’s Christmas time and Springfield is hit with a snowstorm. Every school in the area is closed, all except Springfield Elementary. The children’s day spent at school causes them to be snowed in and the group begin to rebel as the night progresses. Skinner is held prisoner and Homer and Ned are trapped in Ned’s car as they try to reach the kids. It’s a chaotic episode with some risque humour involved. Not the most Christmas-themed on this list, but it has its moments.
9. She Of Little Faith (S13E06)
After Homer and Bart accidentally burn down the church with a rocket, the church looks to Mr. Burns and advertising to get its repairs. Lisa who is disgusted by the blasphemous advertising in the church turns her back on Christianity and becomes a Buddhist. Marge and other folk of Springfield are worried about Lisa and the group try and win her back over with the spirit of Christmas. The episode features Richard Gere, who’s on a path to reaching enlightenment. The episode is full of religious guilt tripping.
8. T’is The Fifteenth Season (S15E07)
After Homer selfishly spends the family’s Christmas Tree money on an extravagant gift for himself, he is presented with his shame and in an Ebenezer Scrooge-like way wants to reform. He aims to become the nicest guy in Springfield and pretty much replaces and outshines Ned Flanders in most of his roles. Ned becomes jealous and decides to buy everyone in Springfield a present, which causes Homer to become the Grinch. I don’t think this is a bad Simpsons episode at all. The Grinch musical number at the end is quite tasteful.
7. Holidays Of Future Passed (S23E09)
It’s 30 years into the future, where both Bart and Lisa have children and feel they’re not good parents. They both take their kids back to the Simpson home for Christmas to try and reconnect. Homer has quit drinking and seems to be a better person altogether. Bart and Lisa try and learn from their parents and the spirit of Christmas is the best time to bring families together. In terms of past and future timeline stories from the show, I find this one to be quite tasteful and more realistic if you ignore all of the future tech content. Also Maggie is a pregnant rockstar.
6. Simpsons Christmas Stories (S17E09)
After Reverend Lovejoy is caught in a toy train collision and Flanders faints at the alter, it is left up to Homer to tell a Christmas story about the birth of Jesus which involves a lot more slapstick and Romans being killed by trees. Following on from that, we hear a story of Grandpa and Burns trapped on an island during the war; hoping someone like Santa Claus will save them. Finally, The Simpsons take on The Nutcracker as you don’t have to pay royalties for the music. Isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Some enjoyable story concepts and the Nutcracker scene is a delight.
5. Miracle On Evergreen Terrace (S9E10)
It’s Christmas Eve and Bart has a plan to get to his Christmas presents early. He drinks a lot of water to get up to pee during the night. His 4am achievement leads him downstairs to the presents nestled safely under the tree. He opens his highly anticipated fire truck, whose usable hose hits the electrics and causes the truck to catch fire. The truck proceeds to hit the tree and practically ruins the entire Christmas setting. Bart buries the evidence in the snow and lies to his family, saying they were robbed during the night. The townsfolk feel sorry for the Simpsons and donate what money they have. The Simpsons go from hero to zero when the snow melts and the evidence of a ruined and not stolen Christmas is found. A Christmas episode full of guilt and suspense, but not one of the strongest episodes from season nine.
4. Grift Of Magi (S11E09)
After wearing women’s clothing and jumping on the bed with Milhouse, Bart falls onto a bowling ball and breaks his coccyx bone. Returning to school, Bart and Lisa realise there isn’t a wheelchair ramp. A ludicrous one is built and funded by the mob who bankrupt the school. Springfield Elementary goes into ownership of a toy company who use the children as market research for the ultimate Christmas toy. This research creates the multi-purpose toy ‘Funzo’ and is the must have of every child. Bart and Lisa decide to put a stop to this evil corporation and with Homer’s help on Christmas Eve, they aim to steal every Funzo and destory them. An hilarious cameo from the late Gary Coleman makes for one of the funniest Simpsons Christmas episodes.
3. The Fight Before Christmas (S22E08)
In what I think is one of the best Simpsons Christmas episodes, takes place on Christmas Eve as members of the Simpson household aren’t treating Christmas traditionally. Bart, Lisa and Marge dream and have Christmas experiences of their own which include references to The Polar Express, Inglorious Bastards and sees a guest appearance from the legendary Martha Stewart. The show concludes with a Sesame Street/The Muppets imitation with real life Katy Perry making an appearance. It’s a Simpsons episode that really pushes the boat out on creativity and comedy.
2. Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire (S1E01)
What more can be said about the first Simpsons episode that hasn’t always been said? I mentioned it in my recommended ‘Cartoon Christmas Episodes’ piece and it’s a very nostalgic episode that I hold dear. It’s 1989, and the show starts to experiment with its themes and characters on this festive episode that looks at the family trying to have the perfect American Christmas. Homer doesn’t receive his Christmas bonus from Mr. Burns and the family’s Christmas fund is spent on removing a ‘Mother’ tattoo Bart gets on his arm. Homer tries desperately to give his family a good Christmas and gets a second job as a mall Santa that proves to pay low come Christmas Eve. Homer, Barney and Bart go to Springfield dog racing track and like a lot of Christmas specials, there might be a bit of dog-like luck in the air. The one that started it all.
- Marge Be Not Proud (S7E11)
This used to be an episode I wouldn’t enjoy watching as a kid and it always seemed to be the episode on TV when I tuned into Channel 4. The only reason for my distaste was seeing how Marge felt towards Bart’s actions and how guilty Bart felt because of this. However, over the years I have come to love this episode, especially from its hilarious Milhouse (or should I say ‘Thrillhouse’ moments, Lee Carvallo’s Putting Challenge and that marshmallow in the hot chocolate scene that looks so so good.
Bart wants Bonestorm for Christmas, but Marge thinks it is too violent. Bart sees the game in the local Try-N-Save and his subconscious which is made up of references to Donkey Kong, Mario, Luigi and Sonic The Hedgehog tell him to steal the game. He takes one step out of the store before being caught by the security guard who tells Bart never to return to the store. Bart deletes a message on the answering machine from the security guard and tries to play it off cool, only for Marge to reveal the next day they’re all going back to the store for their annual family picture.
Everything falls to pieces for Bart when the security guard captures him again and upon seeing her son stealing on the CCTV footage, Marge’s opinion of Bart changes. She feels he must be too much of an adult now to be treated like a child and refuses to show much love and compassion, while the rest of the family enjoy Christmas. Bart who struggles with this, aims to not be the black sheep and win back Marge’s love in a tear-jerking end to the episode.
It’s a Christmas episode full of emotions and one that just narrowly beats the first Simpsons episode! So there is my list and would love to hear what your favourite Simpsons Christmas episode is. I hope you all have a great holiday season and now let us enjoy Homer’s Christmas song about hating Ned Flanders from ‘Dude, Where’s My Ranch? (S14E18).