So you're checking your DVR for all those recorded reruns of this show; maybe there's a somewhat more humorous episode where the villains play poker, but you'd say this show's pretty dark, right? So what do they do when Christmas rolls around with all that holiday cheer? [[ExecutiveMeddling The Producers]], heck, maybe even the people who typically write the show don't want you to air yet ''another'' dark episode with a DownerEnding, or even a BittersweetEnding, it's Christmas! And thus this trope happens.

Merry Christmas in Gotham is when the tone of a DarkerAndEdgier series becomes LighterAndSofter, usually due to ExecutiveMeddling resulting in a holiday episode. This can cause serious MoodWhiplash. The result is usually a strange Aesop-y episode in a series featuring at least some Gray morality of some sort. Whether or not this Mood Whiplash throws the episode into {{Narm}} territory is your call.

Note: This trope does not apply only to Christmas episodes, but to holiday episodes of all sorts. It does not include episodes that have nothing to do with holidays -- that's just plain-jane LighterAndSofter taking effect.

Compare MoodWhiplash and LighterAndSofter. Contrast AnAssKickingChristmas. The opposite of TwistedChristmas.

Ending Trope: [[Administrivia/YouHaveBeenWarned Spoilers Unmarked.]]


[[folder: Advertising ]]

* To commemorate a century from the beginning of the [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarI First World War]] and the [[TruthInTelevision Christmas Truce of December 1914]] (see "Real Life" section), British supermarket chain Sainsbury's [[ 2014 Christmas advert]] was a short film focusing on two groups of British and German soldiers celebrating the brief moments of Christmas respite in the harsh, snowed-in trenches of the western front. There was also an accompanying [[ featurette]] on the period context of the events and the making of the advert.


[[folder: Anime And Manga ]]

* ''Anime/TheBigO'''s Christmas special starts out grim as usual. We have a blind girl whose caretaker brother is a garbageman by day, and musician by night. They are starving, barely able to afford food at all. Then a mad scientist leaves a biological weapon in the boy's tip jar and it turns out the "weapon" is a massive self-growing Christmas tree made to teach people to love nature and each other. While the tree grows, everyone hears the boy's music, Roger and Dorothy exchange presents and have an impromptu dance party, and it snows. D'awww.


[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* ''ComicBook/ThePunisher'': Frank is about to snipe a druglord, when suddenly there's a little girl pulling on his coat telling him she's lost her dad. Frank stares at her and puts the gun away. When they find her dad, he starts to thank him before recognizing his chest emblem and starting to panic. Frank tells him to calm down, that he should really teach his daughter not to talk to strangers, and then leaves.
* [[ An issue]] of ''Comicbook/TheIncredibleHulk'' dealt with Rhino and Hulk teaming up to be MallSanta and Helper.
-->'''Daughter:''' This is my best Christmas ''ever!''\\
'''"Santa":''' Mine too, Ginny. Or at least -- the best in a long, long time.
* Though it is the TropeNamer, ''Franchise/{{Batman}}''-centered Christmas stories have a mixed record when it comes to this:
** The hilarious Franchise/{{Superman}}[=/=]Franchise/{{Batman}} {{Elseworld}} crossover ''Yes Tyrone, There Is a Santa Claus'' [[]].
** ''Batman Black & White'', "A Slaying Song Tonight": A hitman plans to get near his target by taking the place of a MallSanta hired to put in an appearance for the target's daughter. Batman figures it out in the nick of time and stops the hitman just before he reaches the house -- then puts the costume on and does the Santa appearance himself.
** Paul Dini's "Slayride" (''Detective Comics'' #826) averts this entirely; it's Gotham, it's Christmas Eve, and [[OhCrap the Joker's loose]]. And he's got Robin for a hostage. Murder and mayhem ensue.
** Batman #219, "The Silent Night of the Batman," written by Mike Friedrich and illustrated by Neal Adams, is, however, a leading candidate to be TropeCodifier.
** In the ''DC Comics Holiday Special 2008'', the Gotham P.D. appear in the story "A Day Without Sirens". The principle behind the Day Without Sirens is that over Christmas, nobody in Gotham is going to do anything that requires the police's attention. No-one on the force believes this is going to happen, and the story is Commissioner Gordon getting more on edge, and then checking the phones are working, and finally acknowledging that sometimes miracles do happen. And then it turns out Oracle had all the emergency calls redirected to her system, and has had Supergirl running all over town cleaning things up.
* {{Comicbook/Hitman}} #22: ''The Santa Contract''. Tommy and Nat hunt down a radioactive killer loose in Gotham on Christmas eve. He's wearing a Santa suit and the whole issue is narrated InTheStyleOf ''Literature/TwasTheNightBeforeChristmas''.
-->''Children were hanging up seasonal wreaths, and Batman was kicking out seasonal teeth...''
* The MostTriumphantExample may well be ''Marvel Team-Up'' #1, where Spider-Man and the Human Torch discover the Sandman (up to this point a one-dimensional CardCarryingVillain) makes a point of visiting his ill mother every Christmas Eve. Spidey is so touched he even gives Sandman the present originally meant for Gwen Stacy! Awww.


[[folder: Film ]]

* The World War I incident listed below in 'Real Life' inspired the film ''Film/JoyeuxNoel.''


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* In the middle of the ''Series/DoctorWho'' serial ''The Daleks' Master Plan'', the Doctor and companions interrupt their saving [[TheEmpire the Second Great and Bountiful Human Empire]] from [[BlackAndGrayMorality the Daleks]] for a ChristmasEpisode (the only missing ''Doctor Who'' episode ''confirmed'' by Creator/TheBBC to have no spare copies hidden in private collectors' hands or a foreign TV station).
* ''{{Series/Eureka}}'' has an episode like this.
* ''Series/{{Warehouse 13}}'' has LighterAndSofter Christmas episodes [[CaptainObvious revolving around Christmas in some way]].
* ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'' [[DoubleSubversion doubly subverts]] this one: The episode "My Own Personal Jesus" has Turk, initially so optimistic about Christmas that he comes into work with Rudolph antlers on, being ground down and losing his faith as seasonal alcohol-related injuries and attempted suicides clog up the hospital. Just when it seems like Turk is ready to give up surgery, though, a star leads him to a missing girl who ran away from the hospital, and he helps her give birth beneath a Christmas tree, and the episode ends on a prolonged GoldenMoment played straighter than usual and with an unusually strong religious message for the show.
* ''Series/{{Millennium}}'' did this in two of its three seasons. The first near-Christmas episode has only one holiday-related scene and is primarily about ParentalIncest, so that's the exception. Season 2 had a gentle, impressionistic episode where Frank Black reconciled with his elderly father. The final Christmas episode, in Season 3, featured a reformed gangster who's been brought BackFromTheDead.


[[folder: Videogames ]]

* ''Videogame/BatmanArkhamOrigins'' averts this trope. It's Christmas Eve night. Batman has a ''50 million'' bounty placed on his head. [[CarnivalOfKillers Eight deadly assassins]], [[DirtyCops crooked cops]] and most of the escapees from Blackgate prison all want to collect. Dozens of dead innocents, Batman's first meeting with the Joker and millions in property damage later, it's a pretty miserable Christmas for Gotham City.
** The ''Arkham'' incarnation of Calendar Man, who is much more dangerous than most (if not all) of his other incarnations, ensures that ''any'' Christmas in Gotham probably won't be ''that'' much [[LighterAndSofter lighter OR softer]] than the rest of the year. [[note]]Except possibly in the year ''Arkham Knight'' takes place, since he was feeling that his usual antics were getting a bit stale, so he made a New Years resolution to not strike on any major holidays that year and strike on more obscure ones instead.[[/note]]
--->'''Calendar Man:''' [[Literature/AChristmasCarol Ebenezer Scrooge]] was a saint compared to old Judge Harkness. Remember him, Batman? Gotham's HangingJudge, they called him. Even though the state had ruled me insane, Harkness swore he'd send me to the gallows. So you see, it was all a simple act of self-preservation. I could hardly be held responsible for strangling that street corner Santa Claus for his suit. I needed the disguise to sneak into the judge's Christmas Eve party. Harkness thought it was all in fun until "St. Nick'' caught him around the neck with a string of Christmas lights. The cops found him later, hanging from the elaborate light display of his own roof. Judgie almost looked like a cartoon himself alongside the comical reindeer, elves, and snowmen. I call that murder my [[CrossesTheLineTwice "Christmas Special".]]


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' has the episode "A Bullet for Bullock", where Batman is asked for help by, of all people, Harvey Bullock, and the Aesop is that you should always be helping people, even if they don't like you.
** ''The New Batman Adventures'' had an actual Christmas episode... with Harley and Ivy kidnapping and mind controlling Bruce Wayne, the Joker trying to set off a bomb at New Years, and Clayface turning into multiple pickpockets to steal from holiday shoppers, leading to the line "shoot the Santa!" So instead of going LighterAndSofter they went DenserAndWackier.
** ''BTAS'' also had an actual Christmas special, in which the Joker escapes from Arkham and kidnaps Commissioner Gordon, Summer Gleason, and Harvey Bullock as bait to lure Batman in and force him to open a booby-trapped "present"... that [[PieInTheFace hits him in the face with a pie]].
* ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'' features an all-round Christmas Spectacular as Danny [[spoiler:teams up with his enemies to fight someone]] who is trying to spoil the event. Unusually for a children's show, Danny ''loathes'' Christmas, but with good reason.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{ReBoot}}'', BigBad Megabyte goes to great lengths to infiltrate Enzo's birthday party, with no more heinous goal than to play electric guitar, put on a rocking show (including a duet with [[TheHero Bob]]), and leave.
* ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'': Ron tries to take on Drakken by himself so Kim can have a nice Christmas with her family. Ron and Drakken bond over an old TV show, whose theme they sing together. The story ends with a truce for holiday celebration. Now, ''Kim Possible'' isn't exactly dark and edgy to begin with, but this episode is considerably LighterAndSofter than usual.
* Subverted with the Christmas episode of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold''. The series is usually pretty whacky, but it takes on a darker edge with [[spoiler:the murder of Batman's parents occurring on Christmas Day because he threw a tantrum over not getting a toy he wanted--Thomas and Martha only took him to the movies in an attempt to cheer him up, and he was ''still'' a brat about it right up until their deaths]]. May also be a MidSeasonTwist.
* The Flash's subplot in the ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' ChristmasEpisode "Comfort and Joy" turns into this when the toy he was bringing to an orphanage gets wrecked in a battle with the Ultra-Humanite. The villain knocks Flash out... and then fixes the toy (modified to tell the story of ''Theatre/TheNutcracker'' instead of its usual rude noises and hip-hop), helps the Flash deliver it, and allows himself to be taken to jail.
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' takes this to its logical extreme with "[[ Christmastime in Hell]]" from the episode "Mr. Hankey's Christmas Classics." (Song proper beings about 1:05.)
-->''For one day we all stop burning, and the flames are not so thick\\
All the screaming and the torture stops as we wait for old St. Nick!\\
So string up the lights and light up the tree,\\
We're damned for all eternity!\\
But for just one day, all is well\\
It's Christmastime in Hell!''

[[folder: Real Life ]]

* During UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, a Christmas truce broke out, though only on the western front. A Christmas tree was erected in the middle of the battlefield and the Entente and Central Powers forces gathered together to sing Christmas carols. There was music, dancing, hot drinks, and a few friendly games of soccer shared. For one day there were no soldiers, just young men celebrating Christmas. However, the soldiers were under orders to shoot enemy soldiers who tried starting this, and not everyone disobeyed. Even in places where this did happen, some people took the opportunity of taking a closer look at enemy trenches then they usually could.
* In the days of czarist Russia, on Easter Eve, at midnight, a child killer escaped from prison. The sentry on duty raised his rifle to shoot the criminal, but then the church bell rang in Easter, the sentry's eyes welled with tears of Easter joy, he hadn't the heart to kill the fugitive and he threw his rifle to the ground.