Ranked: The top 5 The Simpsons Christmas episodes

The Simpsons have been bringing us holiday cheer for over 30 years! Nearly every December, we've been blessed with a Christmas episode filled with love and the family's trademark humor, here are the top 5 episodes.
THE SIMPSONS: After a failed Black Friday shopping spree, Marge is determined to fix Christmas. However, Homer and the kids surprise Marge with a vacation to a Florida resort in the all-new “’Tis the 30th Season” episode of THE SIMPSONS airing Sunday, Dec. 9 (8:00-8:30 PM ET/PT) on FOX. THE SIMPSONS ™ and © 2018 TCFFC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
THE SIMPSONS: After a failed Black Friday shopping spree, Marge is determined to fix Christmas. However, Homer and the kids surprise Marge with a vacation to a Florida resort in the all-new “’Tis the 30th Season” episode of THE SIMPSONS airing Sunday, Dec. 9 (8:00-8:30 PM ET/PT) on FOX. THE SIMPSONS ™ and © 2018 TCFFC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. /

Christmas and The Simpsons are very much linked together and have been since their very early days on the sketch comedy series The Tracy Ullman Show. In fact, their first syndicated episode, The Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire, was a Christmas one that propelled The Simpsons into being one of the longest TV series on air.

Choosing the five episodes after binge-watching was challenging because they all had something special woven in, providing plentiful laughs and warm thoughts. The Simpsons are well known for delivering those emotions because many of the stories they tell are centered on the All-American, middle-class family in familiar situations, which can be relatable in several aspects. But still there were five standouts. Here's the ranking!

The Simpsons top 5 Christmas episodes ranked

#5: "The Grift of the Magi" (Season 11, 1999)

In "The Grift of the Magi," a toy company uses Bart and Lisa as a marketing ploy to create a hot Christmas toy. While the concept of recruiting kids to test out products to see what will be profitable isn't foreign, the way the executives went about it is hilarious. While the kids are in school, the company employees gather data from them, raising suspicion in Lisa.

After Funzo is released for consumer consumption for the holidays, Bart and Lisa discover that the adorable robot destroys competitor toys to stay on top. To save Christmas and to stop Funzo's greed, the kids and Homer stop at every house in Springfield to "steal" each robot. With a little help from guest star, Gary Coleman, the family succeed in their task saving the holidays.

Why the episode is ranked #5: "The Grift of the Magi" symbolizes the financial gluttony of the holidays and how we could easily forget the season's true meaning. Additionally, we love the Christmas Carol reference.

#4 "The Fight Before Christmas" (Season 22, 2010)

Another trademark of The Simpsons is spoofing pop culture, and "The Fight Before Christmas" mirrors just that. Like the Treehouse of Horror franchise, the episode contains four holiday segments infused with pop culture references.

We got to see Bart take a train trip to the North Pole in a trippy version of The Polar Express and The Muppets x Sesame Street crossover with pop star Katy Perry, who came adorned in a The Simpsons holiday-theme dress. Martha Stewart guest stars as herself and helps Marge plan out the "perfect Christmas" for her family, but the latter realizes that how she did it before was perfect in its own right.

Why the episode is ranked #4: "The Fight Before Christmas" has a multitude of fun entertainment Easter Eggs and family warmth. Lisa's dream of a holiday in WWII reflected how women were involved in serving America and for our freedom. Another interesting fact is the voice actor of Homer Simpson, Dan Castellaneta, wrote the episode.

#3 "Marge Be Not Proud" (Season 7, 1995)

Bart makes one heck of a mistake when he shoplifts a coveted video game, which results in grave disappointment from Marge. Throughout the episode, Bart tries to regain his mother's love, only depressing himself more. Ultimately, Bart makes up for the pain he caused by getting his mom a meaningful and thoughtful gift. It doesn't erase his mistake, but it does help Bart learn a valuable lesson between right and wrong and eases his conscience.

Why the episode is ranked #3: The episode was the first Christmas installment since 1989 and was based on the experience of writer Mike Scully, who pulled the same stint Bart did as a twelve-year-old kid in Massachusetts. Scully was so traumatized and ashamed of his childhood act that it remained with him permanently. Some good did come out of it because, if anything, our parents' being ashamed of us is a far more severe punishment than the law, which was composed in "Marge Be Not Proud."

#2 "Manger Things" (Season 22, 2021)

No, it's not a parody of the hit Netflix show, Stranger Things, but the story of how Todd Flanders was born. And Homer has something to do with it.

In a flashback, Marge reminiscences about how Homer had to do one good thing before she allowed him back inside their home. It's Christmas Eve, and Homer watches his family through the garage attic. He listens to his wife's words with a full heart and tries to make things right again by making cookies. When that doesn't pan out, he hears Maude Flanders going into labor next door and decides to help her.

After Homer finds out that Ned (Maude's husband and Homer's frenemy) isn't home and there's no time to get to the hospital, Homer delivers Todd himself. Not only does his wonderful deed of welcoming a new life into the world get him back home, but the Flanders decide to have Todd's middle name be Homer as a means to honor and thank him.

Why the episode is ranked #2: We love a sweet story (and Homer strengthening his friendship with Flanders) with humor, and "Manger Things" delivered it in a perfect package. What's more, this episode is number 700, and for some strange reason, Manger Things was aired in March rather than December but it was due to showrunner Al Jean wanting the 700th milestone to be a Christmas one. Additionally, the season already aired its first holiday episode, "A Springfield Summer Christmas For Christmas," earlier in December.

#1 "The Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire" (Season 1, 1989)

"The Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire" is where it all began for the Simpson family. The very first episode of the long-running animated series reveals the financial hardships of the Christmas season as it was in the 1980s. Despite this, Homer attempts to make the most of it by taking a Mall Santa hustle in hopes of buying presents. When it doesn't supply the expected pay, he and Bart head to the dog track and made one last attempt to earn money, even if it's immoral. Then comes Santa's Little Helper.

Again, when financial security slips out of Homer's hands, he loses hope. Until the dog he betted on (and lost) runs up to him and Bart. At first, the older Simpson refuses to have anything to do with Santa's Little Helper, but the pup soon warms his heart, and Homer declares him a "Simpson."

Why the episode is ranked #1: "The Simpsons Roasting On An Open Fire" is a personal favorite of mine because my family and I watched it together. The episode paved the way for early animal advocacy and adoption, well before they became a "thing," so that should be considered an early Simpsons prediction.

When it was broadcast on Dec. 17, 1989, I don't think anyone knew how much of an impact The Simpsons would make in both the media and pop culture. TV took a gamble on the series, and it paid off immensely, as it became the essence of pop culture, opening the doors for future production.

The Simpsons may not be perfect, but the series is known for delivering the love, storylines, and humor throughout the years, and that's greatly emphasized when the holiday season rolls around.

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