Doctor Who: Happy Christmas
By Leslie McMurtry
“Happy Christmas!” shouted the Doctor as Rose opened the kitchen door. He skipped past and handed her a mug of something hot.
He was halfway across the room before he turned around. “Happy Christmas!” he repeated.
“What is this?” Her head was already pounding from a sleepless night; she touched her forehead with her free hand and brought the mug to her nose. The Doctor was still running around the room like a rabbit on speed, and with disbelief Rose realized the entire room was trimmed with red ribbons, glowy balls, snowflakes, and holly sprigs. “Hot chocolate?” she asked.
“Yeah,” he replied. “Drink up and have a mince pie.” He shoved a plate of them under her nose.
She ducked to the side and set the mug on the table. He was grinning that grin, the slightly manic one that made his ears seem to stick out even more. “What about the sherry?” she asked, half-seriously.
He stuffed a pie in his mouth. “Mmmff, later.”
She stared at him, waiting for the punch-line. Instead, he kept grinning at her. “Doctor . . . what’s going on?”
He shrugged. “It’s Christmas somewhere, isn’t it?”
She raised her eyebrow. Was he completely cracked? “Yeah . . . so?”
He looked hurt. “Don’ like Christmas, Rose? You seemed okay when you were around Charles Dickens.”
“Is not that,” she snapped. “I . . . just . . .” Despite herself, she picked up a mince pie and started poking at it. “I didn’t know you celebrated Christmas.”
“Peace on Earth an’ good will to all? ‘Course,” he said. “They have midwinter celebrations on practically every planet. I jus’ like Christmas ‘cos you get crackers.” As proof, he held up a red foil one. “Go on,” he said. Rose smiled and took an end. They pulled. “Snap!” shouted the Doctor, laughing uproariously. He stopped short of putting on the hat. Rose sat down.
“I’m just surprised,” she said, “because I thought all that commercialism stuff would put you right off.”
“Oh, it does.”
Rose took a second look and realized there was nary a Father Christmas to be seen. “I see, no Coca-Cola-invented Santas for you.”
He frowned. “What do you mean?”
She shrugged. “I heard on the radio once-Coca Cola inventing Santa Claus and all that.”
“Not true,” said the Doctor gravely. “He was around long before that.” Rose rolled her eyes. “It’s true! St Nicholas was Bishop of Myra about 1500 years before Coca Cola ever showed up.”
“St Nicholas,” the Doctor said, seriously. “Born into a wealthy family in Asia Minor, became a monk. Punched someone out for disagreeing with him on definitions of divinity.”
The Doctor nodded vigorously. “Then he was imprisoned and tortured. As a bishop he was very generous. That’s where the whole thing started.”
Rose nodded sagely. “So a saint becomes legend.”
“The fur-trimmed coat an’ elves an’ stuff comes later. ‘Sinter Klaas,’ the Dutch call him. And the Dutch bring him with them to New Amsterdam.”
Rose cocked her head. “Then Coca-Cola comes in.”
The Doctor nodded. Then he smiled, askance. “But didja ever stop to think about it?”
She picked up another mince pie. “What?”
“How one person can get around the entire Earth in eight hours?”
She laughed. “Doctor-you’re not trying to tell me that Santa Claus is real?”
He appeared not to have heard. “I mean, it would help if one had a mastery of time . . . wouldn’t it?”
She stared. “Hold on-are you saying that Father Christmas is a time traveller?”
He grinned. “ ‘D make sense, wouldn’t it?”
She stood up excitedly. “But-you said-you said that you were . . . the last. The last of the Time Lords. You’re not sayin’ that-”
He looked suddenly pensive. “No. He was a Time Lord.” He looked past her. “But he wasn’t me.”
Rose suddenly felt chilled. “Doctor . . .” she said awkwardly.
“Up for Christmas pudding?” he asked suddenly, rubbing his hands together.
She couldn’t decide if he was lying, or joking, or being deranged. Or nostalgic. “I thought you didn’t do domestic,” she said quietly.
“ ‘S not me,” he said. “ ‘S the TARDIS.”
“Yeah, right,” said Rose.
“Honest!” He got out of the chair.
Rose looked up. “Umm, Doctor-” she blushed, “-is that what I think it is?”
He glanced up and glanced back down. “Bit of holly?”
She touched her front teeth with her tongue. “Looks like mistletoe to me.”
He looked up again. “Nah.”
She looked up again. It was definitely mistletoe. She stared at the Doctor, who was looking uncomfortably elsewhere. She smiled benignly. “Okay, I’ll have some pudding on one condition.”
He grinned uncertainly. “Yes?”
“You dig out a bottle of sherry.”
He nodded. “Okay. Deal.”