10 Lessons Doctor Who Teaches Us About Christmas

A Doctor Who Christmas survival guide.

Doctor Who Nick Frost Peter Capaldi

The first Doctor Who story to be broadcast on Christmas Day was way back in 1965. The Feast of Steven ended with the Doctor raising a toast and wishing the viewers at home a happy Christmas. It's a bit rich given that Christmas with the Doctor always go pear-shaped.

There are two certainties in life. Number one - whenever the Doctor is around you can bet that we’re all in big trouble (or as Clive put it to Rose “if the Doctor’s making house calls then … God help you”), and number two - Christmas Day will be one of his busiest, with all manner of aliens choosing to pitch up to spoil the party.

When it comes to Christmas, nothing is sacred and everything is fair game to alien invaders and even the Doctor himself. From something as innocuous as a child’s toy to the heavenly host of angels, not everything is quite what it seems.

Instead of offering platitudes, the Doctor should be issuing every household with a Christmas Survival Guide, just in case he’s otherwise engaged with a twenty-four year passion-fest with River Song on Darillium, or getting sloshed on Gallifreyan sherry with his latest companions in the TARDIS.

In the event that the said book fails to materialise inside your Christmas stocking, here are a few handy hints.

10. It Ain't Necessiarily Snow 

Doctor Who Nick Frost Peter Capaldi

A little over two hundred years ago the Northern Hemisphere was still in the grip of a ‘little ice age,’ and in the UK the winter solstice would sometimes be celebrated with a visit to the capital’s Frost Fair on the banks of the frozen River Thames. These days, of all the winter months, March included, December is the least likely to bring the fluffy white stuff to the UK.

At first we might think then that the Doctor has been incredibly lucky. It always seems to snow at Christmas when he’s on the scene. Not so surprising back in the Victorian era of The Next Doctor and The Snowmen (although in the latter, normal snow becomes sentient thanks to the Great Intelligence), but snow in 2006, 2007 and 2008?

As it happens none of these snowfalls were the real deal, giving cause for the Doctor to be ecstatic when he finally sees ‘snow, real snow’ (albeit on the Ood Sphere). Mind you, the fact that he has a similar reaction on two other occasions, suggests that the Tenth Doctor had something of a snow fetish (The Next Doctor, The Waters of Mars).

2006's offering was ash from the destroyed Sycorax ship, 2007's was artificially created by the Doctor’s TARDIS (so real but unnaturally made), and 2009's was formed from the ballast of the Titanic when it entered the Earth’s atmosphere.

So if you wake up on Christmas morning to a blanket of snow, just remember that it could be something quite different…


Paul Driscoll is a freelance writer and author across a range of subjects from Cult TV to religion and social policy. He is a passionate Doctor Who fan and January 2017 will see the publication of his first extended study of the series (based on Toby Whithouse's series six episode, The God Complex) in the critically acclaimed Black Archive range by Obverse Books. He is a regular writer for the fan site Doctor Who Worldwide and has contributed several essays to Watching Books' You and Who range. Recently he has branched out into fiction writing, with two short stories in the charity Doctor Who anthology Seasons of War (Chinbeard Books). Paul's work will also feature in the forthcoming Iris Wildthyme collection (A Clockwork Iris, Obverse Books) and Chinbeard Books' collection of drabbles, A Time Lord for Change.