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In the Christmas special episode Voyage of the Damned, people on Titanic are throwing a party for Christmas.

But, why would they party if they are from another planet (and consequently not Christian)?

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    They describe it as an Earth tradition and don't know anything about it. They go to Earth to celebrate the human tradition of Christmas, not Christmas itself.
    – ZenLogic
    Commented Sep 21, 2014 at 18:38
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    @ZenLogic - You're absolutely right.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 21, 2014 at 18:52
  • Yeah.. tap that into the answer.
    – user931
    Commented Sep 21, 2014 at 19:01

2 Answers 2

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The script makes it pretty clear that the ship's crew and passengers know little or nothing about the traditions of Christmas. They're just play-acting to fit in with the local traditions:

TANNOY: Attention all passengers. The Titanic is now in orbit above Sol Three, also known as Earth. Population, Human. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Christmas.

and

CAPTAIN: Nice and steady. Good work, Mister Cavill. And maintain position. Now then, gentlemen, according to the traditions of the planet below, Christmas is a time of celebration. I think you might be entitled to a tot of rum. Just the one. Off you go. I'll keep watch.

and

HOST: Information. The Titanic is en route from the planet Sto in the Cassavalian Belt. The purpose of the cruise is to experience primitive cultures.

and

DOCTOR: So it is. Merry Christmas.

ASTRID: This Christmas thing, what's it all about?

Note that no-one on board corrects the ship's historian in his assumptions:

COPPER: To repeat, I am Mister Copper, the ship's historian, and I shall be taking you to old London town in the country of UK, ruled over by good King Wenceslas. Now, human beings worship the great god Santa, a creature with fearsome claws, and his wife Mary. And every Christmas Eve, the people of UK go to war with the country of Turkey. They then eat the Turkey people for Christmas dinner like savages.

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Richard has answered well for the example of Voyage of the Damned. For the general case of people on other planets celebrating "Christmas" on Doctor Who, refer to the voice-over by Kazran Sardick in A Christmas Carol:

On every world, wherever people are, in the deepest part of the winter, at the exact mid-point, everybody stops and turns and hugs. As if to say, "Well done. Well done, everyone! We're halfway out of the dark." Back on Earth we call this Christmas. Or the Winter Solstice. On this world, the first settlers called it The Crystal Feast. You know what I call it? I call it expecting something for nothing!

Just as "lots of planets have a north," apparently lots of planets celebrate something akin to Christmas, as well.

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  • Baa humbug! That's what I say!
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 23, 2014 at 0:01
  • Just like roughly 85% of all populated planet have some form of drink called a "Jynnan tonnyx".
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jul 23, 2021 at 15:34

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