It’s Christmas! A day filled with gifts, loved ones, and Doctor Who. Except this year they’ve decided to not do a Doctor Who Christmas special. I know, I know, it’s quite the bummer. But my geeky friends, it’s still a joyous day that should be spent focused on what we’re grateful for in this season. So instead of crying into our scarves about the lack of a Doctor Who Christmas special this year, let’s look back on all the other Christmas specials and focus on all the wonderful reasons to love these uniquely Christmas specials*.
*Not in any particular order
1. New Monsters/Creatures
Doctor Who Christmas specials typically mean new monsters or creatures. I’ve never ever been afraid of snow until that Christmas special with the evil snowmen that came to life, now I’m slightly terrified every time it snows. There’s also that freaky spider lady in The Runaway Bride Christmas special. I’ve never been a fan of spiders, but you can bet your sonic screwdriver that I really didn’t like them after seeing that episode. While the monsters can be a bit scary, they are also so uniquely Doctor Who. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, every monster or alien possible, the writers of Doctor Who hit you with a new one, like all the creatures aboard the Titanic in Voyage of the Damned. Who knew Christmas could be kind of scary and kind of cool at the same time?
2. New Companions
Sometimes Doctor Who Christmas Specials are so magical that we meet new companions. Like that one time in The Runaway Bride, we meet the incredible and sassy Donna Noble who would very soon become a companion we all know and love, and are possible still grieving. Or that one episode with the scary snowmen (The Snowmen), we meet Clara Oswin Oswald again (I named my cat Oswald after her, I loved her so much) and she became the impossible girl. Christmas is a holiday full of tradition and all about new beginnings. So it makes sense that in these Christmas specials, we’ve met some amazing characters that would go on to be even more amazing companions.
3. New Doctors
Where there are new companions, we sometimes get new Doctors in Christmas specials, but we only get them if we’ve been really, really good that year. Like when we met the tenth Doctor for the very first time in The Christmas Invasion, man that was quite an episode. He was still in the regeneration process and trying to figure out what kind of man he is. He’s the kind of man that swiftly cuts aliens with swords, which is a pretty cool man if you ask me. And he looks quite dashing in a robe. Or in The End of Time episode where we cried our eyes out saying goodbye to 10 and then met the goofy, but kind hearted 11th Doctor. Or in The Time of the Doctor, we meet the 12th Doctor for the very first time. I love that these Christmas special sometimes hold the gift of a new Doctor.
4. New Spins on Old Favorites
One of my favorite Doctor Who Christmas special episodes is A Christmas Carol. I love A Christmas Carol gets remade, the Muppet one is the best, but that’s beside the point. I love the little fish that swim in the cloudy air and how the Doctor goes back in time to try to change the Scrooge to make him the kind of man that saves people and helps them. Or The Doctor, The Widow, and The Wardrobe that’s very clearly a loose re-telling of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I loved the tree people and that you could get to this magical world through a gift box. I love it when the writers of Doctor Who take a holiday favorite and make it their own with whimsy, time travel, and just a dash of crazy and 1 teaspoon of aliens/new planets.
5. Saying Goodbye to Doctors
When we get new Doctors in Christmas specials, it’s because we’ve had to say goodbye to Doctors we’ve been holding near and dear. Like when we said goodbye to the 10th Doctor in The End of Time and he said those heartbreaking, ugly crying last words of “But I don’t want to go…” Ugh, I’m kind of tearing up thinking about it or The Time of the Doctor where we said goodbye to the 11th Doctor. You have to have a little rain for the rainbow, as the people say, but that doesn’t make it suck any less. At least we typically know ahead of time when we’ll be saying goodbye to Doctors, so we can prepare with plenty of tissues, a ton of Christmas candy, and wrap our scarves around us extra tight so maybe the goodbye won’t hurt as much.
6. New Beginnings
The holiday season is all about new beginnings. New Year, new you, right? When it comes to Doctor Who Christmas specials, the episodes tend to have this “new beginnings” theme especially with all the episodes in which we get a new Doctor. I kinda love that this theme gets reused in multiple Christmas specials because it is a common theme surrounding the holiday season, but it also reminds us, that like the Doctor, at any time we can become a new person or a new version of ourselves and start over and that is kind of magical.
I don’t know about you, but Doctor Who Christmas specials are a part of my families Christmas traditions. I have many memories of sitting around the tree in the living room, opening presents with my family, while BBC America’s marathon of Doctor Who Christmas specials played in the background. We would watch all the episodes, eat, drink, and be merry until it was time for the new Christmas special. And while we don’t get a new Christmas special this year, that doesn’t mean that traditions like mine have to die. Instead, I plan on watching all my favorite Christmas specials, like A Christmas Carol and The Voyage of the Damned. No new episode may be a bummer, but is gives us a reason to change up our traditions and maybe make some new ones.
8. New Christmas Adventures
While I love A Christmas Carol, I love that with Doctor Who Christmas specials give me new Christmas adventures. Now when I think of snow, half my brain thinks Frosty the Snowman and the other half remembers the evil snow from The Snowmen. Or when I hear the word Titanic, I think of that one movie and that one time the Doctor had to save a futuristic Titanic from evil angel robots on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day. I love that sometimes that they redo a Christmas classic, but that more than likely, they’re going to take us a new Christmas adventure and by the end of it, we may not be able to look at things like snow the same way ever again.
9. New Meanings to Christmas
Who knew Christmas could be about aliens and adventure and terrifying, yet magical at the same time? Though we shouldn’t have expected any less from Doctor Who. To me, Doctor Who Christmas specials bring a new meaning to Christmas while embracing those old favorites. Like in The Doctor, The Widow, and The Wardrobe, there was that theme of the holidays being about spending time with your family, but it also dealt with how holidays can be hard when you’re grieving. It also showed what a parent would do to save her children and the children of others and that we aren’t so different. Like how the widow saved those families of trees because she knew what it felt like to experience loss and tragedy and she wanted to save someone else from that pain, which is a lovely new meaning to the holidays, that while some of us may be blessed to be surrounded by family members, some aren’t. And we should more time trying to save others from the pain we feel by being selfless and kind whenever possible.
Last, but not least, Doctor Who Christmas specials are timeless! The Doctor Who Christmas specials from the early 00’s are some of my favorites. I hardly notice in that one episode where either Rose or her mom uses a flip phone. Jokes aside, the amazing characters, great story writing, and all the things listed above is what makes Doctor Who Christmas specials and most Doctor Who episodes so timeless. The messages of hope, friendship, and adventure have us coming back year after year to re-watch over and over again.
Thank you for reading! I hope you and your family and friends have a fun, safe holiday!
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