Original air date: 12/7/2000
When Spongebob is sneaking up on Sandy to try out his latest surprise karate technique, Sandy is taken aback; not by his stealth move, but in discovering that SpongeBob doesn't know what a Christmas tree is. In fact, SpongeBob's never heard of Christmas either. After catching up on what he's missed, he realizes that Bikini Bottom has been missing out for years, and infects everyone in town with the Christmas spirit.
Everyone except Squidward that is, who doesn't believe in Santa Claus, and refuses to take part in any of SpongeBob's Christmas shenanigans. Unfortunately, Santa's a no show by morning in Bikini Bottom, and everybody blames SpongeBob for wasting their time, and Squidward rubs it in SpongeBob's face, before receiving a special handmade gift that SpongeBob had crafted for him, thinking that Squidward would feel left out when Santa came. Feeling like a jerk, Squidward decides to save Christmas.
Originally the only SpongeBob Christmas special, until a stop motion special was released in 2012 as a part of Season Eight entitled Its A Sponge Bob Christmas.
- An Aesop: Whether you like a specific person or not, it doesnt hurt to do nice things for them to make them happy.
- Balloon Belly: Potty after eating all the cookie dough. He even gets so fat the strings holding him up snap.
- Batman Gambit: One could argue that Santa at the end planned the whole thing what with his note at the end, thanking Squidward for doing the Bikini Bottom run for him.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: When SpongeBob tries to get Squidward to write a letter to Santa:SpongeBob: What have you got to lose?
Squidward: My self-respect, my sanity...my lunch.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Patchy The Pirate pulls on Potty The Parrot's strings so hard the puppeteer operating Potty falls down from above. This is a Visual Gag that doubles as an Amusing Injury.
- Christmas Episode: The first Christmas special in the series (and only one, until It's a SpongeBob Christmas).
- Christmas Songs: Well there's two, "Santa's Coming Tonight" and "This Christmas Feels Like the Very First Christmas to Me". The former is simply a recycling of "Jingle Bells" while the latter is a completely original song.
- Crowd Song: Santas coming tonight, tonight! Santas coming tonight!
- Dude, Not Funny!: In-Universe example when Squidward laughed at SpongeBob.
- Egg-Laying Male: At the end of the episode, Patchy takes his hat off and Potty flies out, leaving behind a nest full of eggs wrapped in bows.
- Everyone Hates Fruit Cakes: When the episode cuts to SpongeBob telling the others about Christmas, he finishes with "...and everyone pretends to like the fruitcake!" Mr. Krabs is later seen giving one to Plankton, who tosses it in a trashcan full of other fruit cakes.
- Framing Device: Patchy the Pirate and Potty, in their first ever appearance, decorate their house for Christmas.
- The Grinch: Squidward basically becomes the original, down from hating Christmas to saving it for the town.
- HA HA HANo: Patchy hears three bells which offscreen children take to mean they're getting free ice cream. Patchy lets out some lighthearted chuckles before yelling "NO!"
- Jerkass Has a Point: Squidward had a right to be annoyed with Spongebob's festivities seeing as they tore down a tree in his front yard and redecorating his house without his permission. Plus their singing was keeping him up all night.
- Jerkass Realization: As a Visual Pun after Santa doesn't show up, Squidward's realization that he was being a jackass is followed by an overlayed picture of a live-action donkey, complete with braying.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Squidward's jerk is at its worst at the beginning (until the fifth season), but at the second half, the heart of gold becomes very well known.
- Kick the Dog: Squidward does this to SpongeBob when Santa is a no-show. He regrets doing so after SpongeBob gives him a present, though.
- Laughing Mad: Played for Laughs with the REAL Santa Claus at the end.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: As said above, Potty's strings snap after he eats a whole bunch of cookie dough.
- Medium Blending: Santa's appearance at the end, played by series writer Mike Bell.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Squidward feels really bad for mocking SpongeBob about Santa not arriving. How he made it up to him afterward makes him feel better.
- Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: "This letter comes to us from [Name and address withheld]!"
- Roundabout Shot: SpongeBob and Patrick have one during "The Very First Christmas".
- Santa Claus: Subverted with Squidward. Santa was a no-show. Or was he!?
- Santa's Existence Clause: Santa does eventually show up, but not before Squidward's taken on the role himself and given away everything he owns as "presents".
- Saving Christmas: After Santa didnt show up, Squidward took on the job himself, and the Christmas spirit once again returned to Bikini Bottom.
- Shamed by a Mob: When Santa failed to arrive to Bikini Bottom, all of the fish glare at SpongeBob, grumble at him for making them wait all night for nothing, and leave in disappointment.
- Singing Voice Dissonance: The normally gravelly-voiced Mr. Krabs sings the last line of "The Very First Christmas" in falsetto (dubbed by Dee Bradley Baker, as Clancy Brown couldn't hit the high notes). However, his other lines in the song are sung in his normal voice.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Sandy only appears in the beginning but is the one who teaches SpongeBob about Christmas and inspires him to spread the annual tradition to Bikini Bottom. Matter of fact, she's the sole reason why Bikini Bottom even celebrates Christmas to begin with.
- Snowy Sleigh Bells: The opening uses a carol version of the regular SpongeBob theme song and features prominent sleigh bells.
- Special Edition Title: The beginning credits are decorated for the holidays, with a Christmas wreath dressed over Painty's portrait, and at the end, instead of SpongeBob's nose flute, a choir of Christmas Carolers that have been singing the entire theme song like a carol sing "Fala la la la la la la la la la la!"
- Spiritual Successor: Its A Sponge Bob Christmas, released 12 years later.
- Subbing for Santa: Squidward did it to cheer SpongeBob up. At first of course, but the secret didnt stay down for very long.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: Squidward does a good deed but it really cost him most of his possessions. Though he ends up getting a present in the end as well.
- Title Drop:Sandy: Ain't you never seen a Christmas tree before?SpongeBob: Christmas who?
- Wham Line: "I still want you to have this" is definitely one to Squidward, as his demeanor instantly changes from maliciously gleeful to uncomfortably guilty in the blink of an eye the moment he hears it.