Star Trek’s Only Christmas Movie Is Sad & Bleak

Released in winter 1994, Star Trek Generations is franchise’s only Christmas movie, but Picard and Kirk’s adventure makes the holiday a bleak affair.

Kirk and Picard in front of the Christmas tree from Star Trek Generations


  • Star Trek Generations is the franchise’s only Christmas movie, but it’s a sad and bleak story about grief and loss.
  • The movie features Captain Picard inside the heavenly realm of the Nexus where he experiences an illusion of a Picard family Christmas, making the holiday season a deeply sad time for him.
  • Unlike traditional Christmas movies, Star Trek Generations does not provide a happy ending for Captains Picard and Kirk, but in Star Trek: Picard, Jean-Luc finally finds the family he never knew he wanted.

Released in November 1994, Star Trek Generations is the franchise’s only Christmas movie, and it’s an incredibly sad and bleak story that is all about grief and loss. Generations paired up Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) for a movie that served as a cinematic passing of the torch between the casts of Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation. As well as being the movie that killed off the legendary Jim Kirk, Star Trek Generations holds the distinction of being the only time that the franchise has explicitly acknowledged Christmas.

As Gene Roddenberry was a passionate atheist, it was very rare that Star Trek celebrated Christmas, barring a handful of references to Charles Dickens and a staff party aboard Kirk’s Enterprise. Star Trek Generations changes all this when Captain Picard finds himself inside the heavenly realm of the Nexus, where he gets a glimpse of the life he could have had. However, far from a joyous celebration of the holidays, the illusion of a Picard family Christmas, and the overall story of Star Trek Generations make the festive season a deeply sad time for Jean-Luc.

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Humanity has moved past religion in the future of Star Trek, but there are hints that some form of Christmas is still celebrated in the 24th century.

Star Trek Generations Makes Christmas Sad & Bleak

From the grieving Dr. Tolian Soran (Malcolm McDowell) to the death of Captain Kirk and the destruction of the USS Enterprise-D, Star Trek Generations is a movie about loss. That’s not necessarily a bad thing for a Christmas movie, as many of the best holiday movies have a tinge of melancholy to them. It’s a Wonderful Life is about a struggling father who contemplates suicide, while every adaptation of A Christmas Carol has to depict the tragic death of Tiny Tim. However, Christmas movies have a happy ending, as Ebenezer Scrooge and James Stewart’s George Bailey have a renewed lust for life by the end of their respective stories.

Tragically, Star Trek Generations doesn’t provide a happy ending for Captains Picard or Kirk. When Generations starts, Jean-Luc learns about the tragic deaths of his brother Robert and nephew René in a horrific fire. Picard laments now being the end of the family line, and his idyllic Christmas in the Nexus gives him a chance to finally embrace fatherhood. He rejects that idyllic family Christmas to save the universe from Soran. While it’s the right thing to do, no Christmas miracle saves Robert and René, nor does Picard learn a valuable lesson from William Shatner’s Kirk, who is effectively Jean-Luc’s ghost of Christmas past.

Star Trek: Picard Gave Jean-Luc The Family He Didn’t Know He Wanted

Dr. Beverly Crusher, Admiral Jean-Luc Picard and Jack Crusher on the Enterprise-D

By giving Jean-Luc Picard a glimpse of a potential Christmas yet to come in the Nexus, and teaming him up with his predecessor, Star Trek Generations does share similarities with Charles Dickens’ classic novel A Christmas Carol. Kirk warns Picard not to accept a promotion to Admiral and also laments never finding the time to start a family. Both of these potential lessons for Jean-Luc fall on deaf ears, and unlike Ebenezer Scrooge, he’s unchanged by his otherworldly experiences. It’s not until Star Trek: Picard that the former Enterprise Captain begins to see the folly of ignoring Kirk’s advice.

The ending of Star Trek: Picard saw Jean-Luc reconcile his issues with fatherhood to save Jack Crusher (Ed Speleers) from the Borg. Along with Jack’s mother, Admiral Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden), Jean-Luc forms the family that he never knew that he wanted. It finally pays off the tragedy of Star Trek Generations and the only minor disappointment is in the Picard finale’s closing scene. While it’s great to see the Star Trek: The Next Generation crew reunited at Ten Forward for one final poker game, it’s a shame that the crew, along with Jean-Luc and Beverly’s son, weren’t seen enjoying a big family Christmas at Château Picard.

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