Christmas and Star Trek
Christmas has been explored multiple times in Star Trek. During the festive season, does Spock decorate the Enterprise’s Christmas tree with logical precision while McCoy grumbles about the illogical nature of the ho-ho-holiday? Would Worf battle his way through a Klingon version of a winter wonderland, complete with bloodwine icicles? While none of these possibilities are wrapped up with a bow on Star Trek, let’s sleigh down the yuletide wormhole and explore what we do know about Star Trek’s Christmas connections.
TOS, TNG, and DS9
The Original Series episode “Dagger of the Mind” refers to a Christmas party having been held for the USS Enterprise’s science lab. Preparing for a beam down, Doctor Helen Noel — whose surname is French for the word “Christmas” — reminds Captain Kirk that they met when he “dropped in” on the science lab Christmas party. Kirk says he remembers it, though he’s clearly not keen to discuss their encounter.
Later in the episode, Doctor Noel elaborates that, at the Christmas party, they danced and Kirk talked about the stars. Testing the mind-altering neural neutralizer, Noel leads him to imagine a false memory that they then proceeded to his quarters. He wished her, “Merry Christmas,” and asked her, “You want me to manufacture a lie, wrap it up as a Christmas present for you?” to which she expressed her preference for the truth and they kissed.
In The Next Generation episode “Devil’s Due”, Data — on the holodeck, observed by Captain Picard — performs the role of Ebenezer Scrooge in a scene from the play A Christmas Carol. He stages the Christmas-themed scene as an attempt to study method acting.
In the TNG film Star Trek Generations, Picard temporarily experiences an illusory version of Christmas while trapped in the Nexus. It includes gift-giving, dinner and a Christmas tree while an illusory wife and children of his celebrate Christmas. Surely, if Die Hard and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service can be considered Christmas movies, then Generations can too.
Christmas on Voyager
Star Trek: Voyager has featured Christmas more often than any other Star Trek TV series. It was part of the show ever since the very first episode, mentioned in the series premiere “Caretaker”. Tom Paris — when explaining to Harry Kim about why he finally confessed to his incidence of pilot error, which killed three of his shipmates — indirectly references A Christmas Carol. He does this by joking that “the ghosts of those three dead officers” taught him “the true meaning of Christmas.”
In the Season 2 episode “Death Wish”, Quinn briefly turns the USS Voyager into a Christmas tree ornament. In the same year that “Death Wish” was produced and aired (1996), Hallmark released a Christmas tree ornament in the shape of the USS Voyager.
In the fifth season installment “11:59”, Shannon O’Donnel — while recording a personal journal entry on December 27th, 2000 — noted she was relieved that Christmas was over. Even though it was, Alexandria Books — which she subsequently drove to — was still decorated for Christmas, with a star and a reindeer-sleigh ornament.
In the Season 6 episode “Survival Instinct”, Captain Janeway — overwhelmed by gifts of plants from guests during a visit to the Markonian outpost — rhetorically comments that her ready room looks like it’s Christmas morning.
Prequel Shows and Non-Canon
In Enterprise’s “A Night in Sickbay”, Captain Archer sarcastically says he expected that a list of reconciliation demands from the notoriously hard-to-please Kreetassans would involve “standing on one foot with my eyes shut, reciting ‘The Night Before Christmas’.” He was surprised that the list didn’t include this.
Most recently, the Strange New Worlds episode “Spock Amok” included a reference to Christmas. In that episode, La’an Noonien-Singh expresses appreciation in remaining on the Enterprise during shore leave, likening it to Christmas.
Some non-canon productions that feature Christmas include the DC Comics TNG issue “Spirit in the Sky!”, from 1988; the 1995 TOS novel The Fearful Summons; Voyager’s entry in the Star Trek: Invasion! novels mini-series, The Final Fury, from 1996; 1998’s The Dominion War novelisation …Sacrifice of Angels; the 2007 novel Excelsior: Forged in Fire; and the 2008 Assignment: Earth comic “My Name Is Legion”.
However you choose to spend it, Warp Factor Trek wishes everyone who celebrates the festive season a very merry Christmas!
Editor of WarpFactorTrek, Dan is an avid Star Trek fan who lives in Aberdeen, Scotland. Dan has loved Star Trek ever since discovering it in his childhood. He worked as an administrator, for six years, on the encyclopedic Star Trek website Memory Alpha, which involved studying the making of the various series and films. He has been mentioned in the official Star Trek Magazine, has qualified from a Star Trek course taught at Glasgow Clyde College, and coordinates the SubSpace Chatter (formerly The Scotch Trekker) YouTube channel, which regularly features live interviews with the cast and crew of Star Trek.