Everything I need to know, I learned from 'The Simpsons' Christmas episodes
I googled “EINTKILF Simpsons’ Christmas,” like, four times before I sat down to write this because I just couldn’t believe that with so much to say, I hadn’t actually written this before! IDK if you guys know, you should if you read this column ever, but I love The Simpsons. Like an insane amount. Not like: “Get all of Springfield tattooed on my back” insane, but like, I “consider The Simpsons a religion” insane. And I’m here to tell you, they do Christmas pretty well. Obviously.
Here’s what those very important Simpsons‘ Christmas episodes taught me which, spoiler alert, is everything.
1. The true meaning of Christmas.
“Aren’t we forgetting the true meaning of Christmas? You know, the birth of Santa.” — Bart Simpson
2. Don’t sneak-open your presents.
Bart Simpson, Christmas-ruiner-extraordinaire, decides that waking up early to open his presents would be the best plan. But Bart accidentally melts the Christmas tree and with it, he melts all of the presents. Instead of coming clean (let’s be real — I wouldn’t have come clean either), Bart decides to bury the presents and pretend someone stole Christmas in its entirety. The community comes together and helps make the Simpson’s Christmas merry and bright again, until they find out Bart is a mischievous little liar.
Spoiler alert: everything ends up Ok. But take the lesson and just try not to sneak your presents before the fam is up. It doesn’t end well.
3. Try to think of other people during the holidays.
In the episode “‘Tis the Fifteenth Season,” Homer is a selfish jerk, like always. Don’t get me wrong; I think Homer Simpson is the most hilarious character in television history (YES MORE THAN ANYONE ON Seinfeld AND EVEN Friends), but he’s a jerk, and sometimes it’s not even part of his charm. In this episode, Homer forgets that he is supposed to buy Lenny a Secret Santa gift, so he gets him a pack of Certs instead. Then he sells a rare baseball card that Mr. Burns unknowingly gifted him, only to spend the money on a gift for himself. The family, naturally, is furious when they find out. The moral of the story? Don’t be a selfish jerk! Or, if you are a selfish jerk, at least work to reform it before the end of the episode.
4. Hyped-up toys aren’t always what they seem to be.
The episode “Grift of the Magi” premiered in 1999 and features a seemingly fun, but ultimately destructive toy called Funzo. Sound familiar? Furby dolls were released in 1998, and though I am pretty sure there were never any stories about a Furby attempting to destroy all other toys (though if that happened to you, PLEASE tell me!) there’s obviously a Furby connection here. I never had a Furby, or Beanie Babies, or anything that was cool that I was “supposed” to have. Partially because we were poor, and partially because my mom hates stuff like that. Tbh I’m totally fine having missed out on all toys that were supposed to be really cool. And after seeing this episode, even more so.
5. No thieving.
In one of the saddest episodes of The Simpsons ever, Bart steals a video game and then is shunned by the family. The whole episode is heartbreaking as Bart realizes how much family > video games. But what really YANKS at the heartstrings is when Marge thinks Bart has been stealing again only to find that what he’s hiding in his coat is a framed picture of himself. Having been left out of the original family picture, Bart decided to insert himself back into the family, which softens Marge right back up. It’s OK to cry – basically anything Bart-related makes me cry. But just don’t steal in the first place, guys.
6. Practice tolerance.
In “She of Little Faith,” Lisa struggles (when doesn’t she struggle?) with religion, eventually finding Buddhism (from who else but Richard Gere?) in lieu of christianity. This episode, though similar to other episodes centered around Lisa and her internal struggle with blind acceptance of widespread beliefs (Barbie dolls, seemingly innocent theft, meat-eating) is very much in the spirit of Christmas. Everyone is allowed to believe in what they believe in, and no one should push their spirituality (or beliefs, in general) on anyone else. Even 8-year-old girls. Diversity is a good thing, y’all.
7. Love your mother.
In a much more recent episode of The Simpsons, “Holidays of Future Passed,” we get a glimpse into the future of the Simpson children. Lisa is a business woman with a rebellious daughter, Bart is a deadbeat dad, and Maggie is a pregnant rockstar. Things get worse as Lisa accuses Marge of being a bad mother when she is unhelpful with her daughter’s issues and Bart’s kids get mad at him for being neglectful. Eventually, Bart and Lisa realize that parenting is kind of a bunk job (JK I’m sure it’s fulfilling) and they all gather for a family photo, something that they made fun of Marge for treasuring when they were younger. D’awww.
Also, the secret best thing about mothers? They are super down with printed pictures as a gift! Like, all of my 2014 selfies weren’t for nothin’ — you’re welcome for the calendar, Ma!
8. Obligatory references are still acceptable during the holidays.
In this year’s Christmas special, The Simpsons‘ opening credits have Lisa as Elsa (naturally) and Homer as Olaf, but the best thing is the “Obligatory Frozen Reference” before the clip.
9. Money ain’t a thing.
In arguably the best Simpsons Christmas episode, and also the pilot of the television show, Homer is having financial issues due to a lack of a Christmas bonus (a la Clark Griswold). The Christmas savings went to Bart’s tattoo removal (something I would never pay for, my child’s tattoo removal), so Homer takes up a second job as a mall Santa. The family is still in dire need of Christmas money, so Homer decides to try to win some via dog racing. (A brilliant plan, clearly.) Because Homer is Homer, the money never flows, but Homer comes home with something that the family loves much more: Santa’s Little Helper.
10. Family is everything.
Per usual, The Simpson family has more heart than most fictional television families. Every Christmas, the Simpson fam brings it on home and gives us all the warm and fuzzies. Merry Christmas from my family (the Simpsons) to yours (probably also the Simpsons).