Looking for Star Trek Christmas episodes? Try these!
Unlike that other big “star” franchise, Star Trek has never mounted a full-on holiday special. Not that I’d be opposed to one. In fact, this age of peak Trek we’re living in might be the perfect time for the franchise to try some Star Trek Christmas episodes.
For example, I expect Lower Decks could have a field day putting on a “Star Trek Holiday Special.” Maybe the Cerritos would have to get security chief Kayshon back to the Tamarian homeworld in time to celebrate the festival of “Claus, His Reindeer Flying.”
For better or worse (likely for better), Trek has explicitly mentioned Christmas very few times in its 55 years. Star Trek: Generations marks Christmas’s biggest cameo, as Picard experiences an illusory celebration of the holiday in the Nexus. Redshirts’ own Chad Porto makes the case that scene’s only one reason Generations qualifies as a Christmas movie. And there’s always the infamous “science lab Christmas party,” graced by one Dr. Helen Noel (see what they did there?), in the original series episode “Dagger of the Mind.”
But what other Trek productions might qualify as holiday fare? I suggested a few possibilities back when marketers were pushing “Christmas in July.” Now, as you plan your viewing for the actual season, here are three more possible Star Trek Christmas episodes for adding some festivity from the final frontier to your holiday.
Three episodes to watch on Christmas
“Tapestry” (TNG – S6E15)
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) is the beloved holiday film in which a despondent George Bailey, about to end his life on Christmas Eve because he believes he’s failed his family and friends, sees what the world would have been like without him, courtesy of an angel-in-training named Clarence. Realizing his absence would have made the world a poorer place, George embraces life again, and Clarence earns his wings.
Q’s not out to earn any wings in the TNG episode “Tapestry.” But he does give Captain Picard a look at what the world would have been like without him. Sure, a version of Jean-Luc Picard is present—but it’s an always-play-it-safe, duty-before-everything version, not the heroic captain of the Enterprise. Picard learns that his life has been wonderful, even with wrong choices, regrets, and “loose threads.” He says he owes Q “a debt of gratitude” for making him appreciate the tapestry of his life.
No, It’s not quite George Bailey saying, “Attaboy Clarence!” as a bell on the Christmas tree rings! But as a Star Trek Christmas episode, “Tapestry” reminds us life is a gift, one worth living to the fullest extent we can.
“Starship Mine” (TNG – S6E18)
Mere weeks after “Tapestry,” TNG gave us another could-be “Christmas episode” with “Starship Mine,” in which Picard defends an otherwise completely abandoned Enterprise from terrorists.
How does this scenario relate to the Yuletide season? Two movies show the way. In Home Alone (1990), a young boy accidentally left behind at Christmas by his vacationing family, defends his house against burglars. And in what the internet insists is a Christmas movie, Die Hard (1988), Bruce Willis’ character John McClane violently but definitively defends Nakatomi Plaza from the late Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber and other bad guys.
In one uncharacteristically action-packed hour, Picard’s predicament in “Starship Mine” mirrors the plots of both of these modern “Christmas classics.” When viewed as a Star Trek Christmas episode, it can, like those movies, how the love of our families and our homes can lead good to triumph over evil.
(Plus: Wouldn’t you pay good quatloos to hear Sir Patrick Stewart shout, “Yippee-ki-yay, [expletive]”?I know I would!)
“Bread and Circuses” (TOS – S2 E25)
Even if they also enjoy all the Santas and sugarplums, millions of people consider Christmas primarily an observance of Jesus of Nazareth’s birth. Trek generally steers clear of engaging real-world religions. But in “Bread and Circuses” the original series put a spotlight on whom Christians consider “the reason for the season”—with a twist.
In the episode’s tag scene, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy muse about the “sun worshipers” they encountered on the (prosaically named) planet 892-IV, whose society was essentially a 20th-century Roman Empire. But Lt. Uhura is the one who shed slight on their confusion.
Historians and Christians who are honest about church history—and I count myself as one who tries—know the movement begun in Jesus’ name hasn’t always lived up to the “philosophy of total love and total brotherhood” for which Dr. McCoy here credits it.
So Christmas can be an especially good time to remember again the angelic song of “peace on earth, goodwill to all,” and do our part to make it a reality for everyone well before the 23rd century arrives.
What are your suggestions for Star Trek Christmas episodes? Let’s swap ideas in the comments!