DWM 468 Christmas Cheers!

T S Eliot’s Prufrock measured out his life with coffee spoons. We can measure ours with Doctor Who Christmas specials…

2005: The Christmas Invasion. I’d been lucky enough to see an early effects-free version but it’s still exciting and special to have new Doctor Who on Christmas Day, even if it does feature skeletons (I hate skeletons). There’s something else exciting too – we’ve decided to start trying for a family in the new year. (Did we realise quite how much our lives would have changed by the next Christmas, though? No. A million times no.)

2006: The Runaway Bride. Christmas Day spent with two tiny babies is much like any other day spent with two tiny babies, except you get pudding. We take it in turns to eat Christmas dinner as there’s usually at least one baby needing to be fed/changed/comforted. We return home from my parents’ and watch Doctor Who while the boys sleep in their Moses baskets (you may recall from a previous column that Fan Twin claims to have been watching the show at the age of eleven weeks, but let’s just say our recollection differs). I find I have more sympathy with the Empress of the Racnoss, trying to do the best for her children, than with Donna, who is annoying.

2007: Voyage of the Damned. Christmas Day is spent at our house. We record Doctor Who as the boys are still awake and noisy, but husband accidentally sees the last few minutes and knows in advance the fate of Kylie Minogue. It finally gets watched, in fits and starts. Due to having become a permanently emotional wreck at the exact same moment I gave birth, everything makes me cry. The deaths of the Van Hoffs turn me into a weeping puddle, by the time Kylie joins the stars I am howling louder than any one-year-old (and that’s saying something).

2008: The Next Doctor. We’re in a strange inbetween limbo, with children old enough not to be crying/feeding/whatever during Doctor Who, but not quite old enough to be watching it with us. It’s odd. I’m still devastated by what happened to my beloved Donna, best companion ever, at the end of the last season. Anyone who suggests I ever found the character annoying is just imagining things. Thank goodness Jackson Lake finds his son or this’d be another Christmas spent screaming at the telly.

2009: The End of Time Part One. I scream at the telly, but this time because it once again has skeletons. Resolve never to watch Doctor Who again because of all the skeletons. Resolve lasts all of half an hour. Look forward to next year, when the boys will no doubt be watching with us and can hold my hand during the scary bits.

2010: A Christmas Carol. Wow. We’re almost there. We’re almost at a Doctor Who family Christmas! Fan Twin is allowed to stay up late to watch the Christmas special with Mummy and Daddy, and loves it (the flying shark is a particular hit). Non-fan Twin decides to go to bed (he does later ask to watch the flying shark, though). Doctor Who makes me sob again. What is it about Christmas stories and sad endings? ‘Mummy, why are you crying?’ is said so often in our house it’s practically a catchphrase. I want a HAPPY ENDING, goddamn you.

2011: The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe. Yes! It’s finally happened! All the family watching Christmas Doctor Who together! Well, almost – Grandad sits in the corner and tries to read his book instead. Watching telly with small children is a battle between wanting to encourage their enquiring minds and wanting to actually hear what’s happening on screen; as a result I don’t really follow the story very well, but it’s just nice to all be together and at least there’s a happy ending at last. I think there’s something about the power of mothers in it too. As far as I’m aware, though, motherhood doesn’t come with any special powers. If I remember to give both children a clean hankie in the morning I spend the rest of the day patting myself on the back thinking ‘Yes! I’ve managed to fool the world that I’m actually a grown-up!’

2012: The Snowmen. This will be forever remembered as ‘the one where Non-Fan Twin fell off the back of the sofa’ (as related in DWM 457), a reminder of the unpredictability of life with children.

2013: Title still TBA (it may be December in your world but it’s still October in mine). I suspect I may shed a tear when lovely Matt Smith regenerates, but meeting a new Doctor is always incredibly exciting. We’ll be watching as a family, of course, we’re just hoping for fewer injuries this year. Long may the excitement of a family Christmas with Doctor Who continue. Let there never be a time when our teenagers stomp off to their rooms sulking because they wanted to watch the Haim reunion tour on holovid instead.

1965: The Feast of Steven. Hurrah for the invention of time travel! OK, so the episode could do with more Dalek Delegates and fewer humorous antics with policemen, but Doctor Who at Christmas with the family will always be special. Who’d ever have dreamed that one day we’d be watching it with our grandchildren too…

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I now have no idea who Haim are.