"The Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire" was the first official winter holiday celebration for the now legendary animated series. Picking up where their previous year's sketch on the Tracey Ullman Show left off, the plot, which has become classic, was in 1989 just wacky. Bart needs tattoo removal surgery, which eats up the family's entire Christmas budget, so Homer attempts to win enough at the dog track to provide his kids with good presents. Naturally, he loses all of his money, but he returns with something even better: the new family pet, Santa's Little Helper, a scrawny, abused mutt who was going to be put down because he was no good as a racer.
This show is probably responsible for hundreds of little kids making last minute addendums to their letters to Santa Claus, asking for a puppy of their own. I know it helped fuel my interest!