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  • The Christmas Invasion (2005) on Random "Doctor Who" Holiday Special

    (#1) The Christmas Invasion (2005)

    This episode is the first of many holiday specials in the New Who era, and it's our first introduction to David Tennant as the 10th Doctor. This festive special features firearm-wielding masked Santa figures, spinning Christmas trees, and an alien sword fight.

    We see the Doctor’s companion, Rose (Billie Piper), tending to the Time Lord in the aftermath of his regeneration. The Doctor spends most of the episode passed out, while Rose worries whether he's still the Doctor she knows. The primary threat of the episode is an alien race called the Sycorax, who wish to take half the world’s population as slaves. Ten wakes up just in time to face off against the Sycorax leader and defend Earth.

  • The Runaway Bride (2006)  on Random "Doctor Who" Holiday Special

    (#2) The Runaway Bride (2006)

    This Season 3 episode gives us our first glimpse of future companion Donna Noble (Catherine Tate), as well as a healthy dose of Ten's unflappable charm. Where the first holiday special was an action-drama, this episode provides action with a heaping side of comedy.

    The Doctor is grieving the loss of his previous companion, Rose, when Donna is unexpectedly beamed into the TARDIS in her wedding gown. The episode gives us a giant-spider villainess and, once again, Christmas accoutrement gone wrong, like a weaponized Christmas star and ornaments, and dastardly Santa-bots. By the end of the special, it's clear that despite her cantankerousness, Donna is a good counterweight for the Doctor. He invites her to join him on his travels, but she turns him down - at least this time.

  • Voyage Of The Damned (2007) on Random "Doctor Who" Holiday Special

    (#3) Voyage Of The Damned (2007)

    The third holiday special finds the 10th Doctor at a Christmas party aboard a retro-futuristic spaceship called the Titanic. When the robot angel servants turn on the passengers and the ship begins hurtling toward Earth, the Doctor and a small group of passengers, including guest star Kylie Minogue, must fight for their lives.

    This self-contained episode is one of the most-watched of the New Who era, likely due to its star power and familiar location. The Doctor once again asks someone to be his companion, but he's unsuccessful. Kylie Minogue’s Astrid is both brave and beautiful, but unfortunately, she doesn't make it out of the caper alive.

  • The End Of Time (2009) on Random "Doctor Who" Holiday Special

    (#4) The End Of Time (2009)

    In what may be the most epic and heart-wrenching holiday special of the show, David Tennant takes his tearful final bow as the Doctor when he faces off against his maniacal Time Lord nemesis, the Master (John Simm). The Master enacts an evil plan to take down the Doctor once and for all, but before this plan can come to fruition, Ten sacrifices himself to save Donna’s grandfather (Bernard Cribbins).

    Packed with action and emotion, the episode earns its place as the only two-part holiday special of the series. It introduces a brand new element to the long-running series: a Doctor who is afraid to regenerate. As we bid farewell to the tousled hair, trench coat, and Chuck Taylors, Ten utters his poignant last words: “I don’t want to go.”

  • A Christmas Carol (2010) on Random "Doctor Who" Holiday Special

    (#5) A Christmas Carol (2010)

    In Matt Smith’s first holiday special as the 11th Doctor, yet another spaceship is on a crash course, and it’s up to our favorite Time Lord to save the day. The high-stakes, space-age take on Dickens’s famous tale evens out the drama with Eleven's signature eccentricities, wacky details like a flying shark, and a wash of both romance and melancholy.

    Our Scrooge character, a hardened millionaire named Kazran (Michael Gambon), travels with the Doctor through the timeline of his own life in an effort to regain his sense of humanity. According to the previously stated rules of time travel in the Doctor Who universe, meddling in one’s own timeline is off-limits, but perhaps these rules don't apply on Christmas.

  • The Next Doctor (2008) on Random "Doctor Who" Holiday Special

    (#6) The Next Doctor (2008)

    This episode playfully heckles its fans with a casting fake-out. Whovians were desperate to know who would be replacing their beloved David Tennant, and they got what they asked for - if only for a few minutes. David Morrissey guest stars in this Season 5 episode as a man who believes himself to be the Doctor and who gleefully adopts Ten's mannerisms.

    Taking place during Christmastime in Victorian London, the special features a strong female villainess, steampunk style, and one of the Doctor’s greatest foes, the Cybermen. The episode goes big and has a marvelous time doing so.

  • Twice Upon A Time (2017) on Random "Doctor Who" Holiday Special

    (#7) Twice Upon A Time (2017)

    This episode marks the end of Peter Capaldi’s run as the Doctor and provides a brief introduction of Jodie Whittaker as Thirteen.

    In this holiday special, the 12th Doctor meets the first - played by David Bradley in place of William Hartnell - and, to comedic effect, we see just how much the Doctor has evolved over the years. The episode gives us an up-close look at the true story of the 1914 Christmas Truce during WWI, as well as cameos from former companions Bill (Pearl Mackie), Clara (Jenna Coleman), and Nardole (Matt Lucas). The episode serves as a complicated yet touching farewell to Twelve.

  • The Time Of The Doctor (2013) on Random "Doctor Who" Holiday Special

    (#8) The Time Of The Doctor (2013)

    In this episode, the Doctor nearly perishes from old age, as lore tells us that the Doctor should have used up all of his regenerations. The New Who writers, however, had other plans. Not only does this holiday special introduce Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor, but Matt Smith’s Eleven goes out in a blaze of glory, using his regeneration energy to save humanity from his nemeses, the Daleks.

    This holiday special attempts the Herculean task of tying up the countless plot threads introduced throughout Eleven's time on the TARDIS. Though it's more focused on a grand, fez-topped farewell than Christmas festivities, no one can claim this episode isn’t epic.

  • The Husbands Of River Song (2015) on Random "Doctor Who" Holiday Special

    (#9) The Husbands Of River Song (2015)

    River Song (Alex Kingston) is part Time Lord, part adventurer, part outlaw, and part romantic - and many believe she's the one and only true match for the Doctor. This holiday special presents River with multiple “husbands,” each of whom serves her needs in different ways. Like everyone else, she believed the Doctor was out of regenerations, so she doesn't recognize Twelve (Peter Capaldi) when they first meet. River brings him along on her caper, during which she speaks openly about her love for the Doctor and their complicated relationship.

    Once their quest is complete and the Doctor has made himself known, his signature grouchiness has melted away. The two travel to a planet called Darillium to enjoy a beautiful Christmas dinner date and spend their (very long) last night together.

  • The Snowmen (2012) on Random "Doctor Who" Holiday Special

    (#10) The Snowmen (2012)

    This visually appealing holiday special features a sneering Richard E. Grant (voiced by Ian McKellen), evil sentient snow, and the return of Jenna Coleman, this time as soon-to-be companion, Clara.

    Depressed after the loss of his companions Amy and Rory, the 11th Doctor slumps around 19th-century London until Clara, a bright governess and bar maid who feels familiar to him, demands his help fighting alien snow. She flummoxes the Time Lord by shunning his classic “It’s bigger on the inside!” exchange, instead proclaiming, “It’s smaller on the outside!”

  • Last Christmas (2014) on Random "Doctor Who" Holiday Special

    (#11) Last Christmas (2014)

    This Season 9 holiday special perfectly marries Christmas iconography with a dramatic thriller. It’s equal parts fun, creepy, emotional, and action-packed.

    Santa, played by Nick Frost, comes to the rescue when Clara and the Doctor face a formidable foe known as Dream Crabs. When the face-sucking aliens - who induce idyllic dreams in their targets to distract them while the crabs consumer their brains - prey on our protagonists, the two have difficulty distinguishing their dreams from reality. Having recently lost her boyfriend, Danny, Clara must choose between facing her grief in the real world and living in a beautiful fantasy with lethal consequences.

  • The Feast Of Seven (1965) on Random "Doctor Who" Holiday Special

    (#12) The Feast Of Seven (1965)

    The only holiday special of the Classic Who era is the third part of a series in which the first Doctor (William Hartnell) faces off against his sworn enemies, the Daleks. The episode is not particularly festive, but it does include a few small nods to the holiday, including a moment in which the Doctor breaks the fourth wall to wish viewers a Merry Christmas.

  • Resolution (2018/19) on Random "Doctor Who" Holiday Special

    (#13) Resolution (2018/19)

    This episode was the only holiday special to take place on New Year’s Day instead of Christmas. The special combines the thrilling return of the Daleks with the emotional heft of Ryan (Tosin Cole), a companion of Thirteen, reuniting with his absentee father.

    While the episode doesn't have much to do with the holiday, it does hit all the right notes and is wildly entertaining.

  • The Doctor, The Widow, And The Wardrobe (2011) on Random "Doctor Who" Holiday Special

    (#14) The Doctor, The Widow, And The Wardrobe (2011)

    In this introduction to Season 7, Doctor Who retells another classic story through a sci-fi lens. Featuring a mother and her two children, this sentimental holiday special, set in WWII-era Britain, is likely the most family-friendly of the bunch. 

    Matt Smith’s Doctor presents the family with a mansion filled with his whimsical creations, as well as a gift box containing all the wonders of Narnia. They soon discover, however, that the Christmas tree forest they're exploring literally has a mind of its own.

  • The Return Of Doctor Mysterio (2016) on Random "Doctor Who" Holiday Special

    (#15) The Return Of Doctor Mysterio (2016)

    This light, festive holiday special tells a superhero story in Whovian style. Justin Chatwin stars as the Ghost, a masked vigilante who the 12th Doctor accidently bestowed alien-borne powers upon in his youth. The episode is chock-full of all the superhero tropes you might expect - it’s cute, warm, and plenty of fun.

    This was the first Doctor Who episode to air in a year and the second to feature Matt Lucas as Nardole. Nardole is a strange, funny fellow who travels with Twelve, making a great foil for the often grumpy Doctor.

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About This Tool

On Christmas Day, people will wake up early and open gifts under the Christmas tree, and have meals with their families. It is undeniable that many people like to watch the story of an alien man with a British accent who saved the universe. This is the must-see Christmas special of "Doctor Who" every year, which is part of the Christmas tradition for many people.

For more than ten years, every Christmas special of "Doctor Who" has continued the plot, although sometimes these specials are a bit far from the Christmas theme, they can always perfectly blend the festive atmosphere and the weird plot. The random tool list all of the 15 "Doctor Who" holiday specials you should know.

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