The Simpsons has a long, proud history of Christmas specials, from “Grift of the Magi” (the one with Funzo), “Skinner’s Sense of Snow” (the one where the kids are trapped at school), and “‘Tis the Fifteenth Season” (the one where Homer realizes his holiday selfishness). Heck, even the first ever episode of The Simpsons was a Christmas special, “The Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire.” Of course, this opens up an interesting paradox since the Simpsons themselves never age and they’ve had about 14 different Christmases. So with the exception of that first one, in which the Simpsons added Santa’s Little Helper to their family, I guess each new holiday episode usurps the previous one.
So this Christmas, the Simpsons celebrated with a few extra friends as a combination of radioactive steam and particulate from the tire fire meant that Springfield was the only city in the country to have a white Christmas. Local merchants welcome holiday tourists with open arms to “gouge the hell out them,” to use Moe’s words, but that means that Springfieldianites are basically priced out of Christmas. And if you can’t afford Christmas, then you’ve failed as a family (at least according to the stores). So Marge gets an idea, if she opens the Simpson home to boarders, then they’ll make enough money for Christmas, even if it won’t feel the same without opening a giant credit card bill in January.
But Marge isn’t the only one finding inspiration this holiday season. Reverend Lovejoy struggles to get together a sermon for a packed church of parishioners from out of town and from within. After praying for guidance, he comes up with a sermon that’s not just good, but “black church” good. His words serve as particular inspiration to Lisa, who decides to shirk big chain stores like Abercrombie and Rich, Prank of America, and the Southpaw Superstore to give her family gifts that have meaning. Of course, that backfires when she gives Bart a copy of Robert Louise Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Realizing her mistake, trying to make her family interested in things they aren’t interested in, Lisa gives Bart a kindle instead, which he can enjoy for the apps. Bart, meanwhile, gives Lisa a wad of cash that she can donate that to whatever lost cause she wants.