SpongeBob SquarePants is the eponymous protagonist of the Nickelodeon animated series of the same name. He is an overeager sea sponge who lives in a pineapple in Bikini Bottom and works as a fry cook at the Krusty Krab restaurant. He also enjoys jellyfishing and karate, but can never seem to pass his driving tests. In 2002, he was ranked #9 in TV Guide's Top 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters, and was the most recently-created character at the time of the list's publication.
Appearances in Christmas specials
In the series' first Christmas episode, "Christmas Who?", when SpongeBob sees his friend Sandy having decorated her tree for Christmas, he initially thinks that it is on fire and attempts to put it out. Sandy realizes that SpongeBob has never heard of Christmas, so she explains the holiday to him. The next day, SpongeBob tells everyone in Bikini Bottom about Christmas and how Santa Claus brings presents to everyone who writes to him. SpongeBob writes a letter to Santa, saying that his only Christmas wish is for Santa to visit Bikini Bottom. He then designs a machine to send everyone's letters to Santa (placed inside bottles) to the surface of the ocean so Santa can get to them. However, SpongeBob is unable to convince his grouchy neighbor Squidward to write a letter to Santa. When Santa does not come to Bikini Bottom on Christmas Eve, SpongeBob is sad and disappointed about this, and Squidward openly mocks him for believing in Santa Claus. However, after SpongeBob gives Squidward a wooden clarinet as a Christmas gift, Squidward feels guilty and then dresses up as Santa in order to cheer up SpongeBob. SpongeBob is so happy to see "Santa" that he tells everyone in Bikini Bottom, which results in Squidward giving away everything he owns.
In the series' second Christmas episode, "It's a SpongeBob Christmas!", SpongeBob tries out some fruitcake made by Plankton and finds it to be so delicious that he gives it to everyone in Bikini Bottom, unaware that it is laced with jerktonium, an element that turns anyone who consumes the fruitcake into insufferable jerks. SpongeBob himself, however, is immune to the jerktonium's effects due to his pure heart and tiny brain. After his friend Sandy's Christmas Magic Analyzer produces an antidote in the form of a piece of music, SpongeBob performs the music as "Don't Be a Jerk (It's Christmas)", which returns everyone to normal. Later, he defends Santa from ToyBob, an evil robot that Plankton designed to frame SpongeBob for various crimes, and convinces Santa that the people of Bikini Bottom are not naughty.
Other Christmas productions
Between his show's first two Christmas episodes, SpongeBob also appeared prominently in the Merry Nickmas interstitial shorts that ran on Nickelodeon from 2002 to 2005. In "Holiday Party", he makes an appearance as one of St. Nick's elves. He tells his fellow elves Jorgen Von Strangle and Jimmy Neutron that he actually wants to be a fry cook instead of an elf (parodying the role of Hermey from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer), and at one point, someone takes a photo of him accidentally ripping his pants. He also sings the first line of "The 12 Days of Nickmas" and makes a cameo as one of the citizens of Toonville in "How the You-Know-Who Stole You-Know-What!"