- Accidental Aesop: Many animal advocacy groups praised this episode for bringing attention to the plight of abandoned racing dogs. The writers had no idea at the time that it was such a big issue but were glad to raise awareness of it.
- First Installment Wins: Even with the more somber mood of the episode, as far as their Christmas Episodes are concerned, this is usually ranked as fans' favorite. Furthermore, not only were the subsequent ones from the 90's (season seven's "Marge Be Not Proud", season nine's "Miracle on Evergreen Terrace" and season 11's "Grift of the Magi") were divisive, note but it was years before this episode was aired again in syndication, even around Christmastime.
- Memetic Mutation: "Mr. Simpson, you dropped your pork chop. *squeak squeak*"
- What an Idiot!: Bart wants a tattoo for Christmas despite Marge's objection. At the mall, Bart sees the tattoo parlor has one of a heart with the message "mother" underneath and thinks it will convince Marge otherwise. He walks inside where the artist suspects that he is underage. Upon being asked how old he is, Bart insists that he's 21.
You'd Expect: The artist to immediately suspect that Bart is lying and deny him service. At the very worst, he could check Bart for proof of identification which someone of his age obviously may not even have.
Instead: "Get in the chair."
- Marge could have at least waited until she was absolutely certain Homer was still getting his Christmas bonus. If not, she could have simply made Bart wear make-up on his arm to cover up the tattoo until they had enough money to remove it.
YMMV / The Simpsons S1 E1 "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire"