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Holiday Ceasefire

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And today we’re all brothers
Tonight we’re all friends
A moment of peace in a war that never ends
Today we’re all brothers
We drink and unite
Now Christmas has arrived and the snow turns the ground white
Hear carols from the trenches, we sing O holy night
Our guns laid to rest among snowflakes
A Christmas in the trenches, a Christmas on the front far from home
"Christmas Truce" by Sabaton

Enemies setting aside their differences for a holiday. This is usually acknowledged by both sides as being a temporary agreement. Nine times out of ten the holiday in question will be Christmas, but it can apply to any holiday. It could be soldiers in a battle, mobsters in a gang war, or rival sports teams.

Contrast Busman's Holiday, Twisted Christmas, Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday and An Asskicking Christmas. Compare with Merry Christmas in Gotham and Screw the War, We're Partying. See also Holiday Pardon if a holiday issues a pardon for criminals.


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  • On the hundredth anniversary of the Christmas Truce of 1914, British supermarket chain Sainsbury released 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.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers has a strip about the famous Christmas Truce of 1914, showing England and Germany laying on the ground after the football/soccer game.
  • Internally lampshaded by Kaguya in Chapter 54 of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War. Celebrating Shirogane's birthday was something of an unspoken truce in her eyes, but now that it's the day after she has no problem attempting to weaponize the birthday gift she gave him in her latest scheme. Or at least she would if her happiness over Shirogane enjoying the present wasn't overriding every other thought in her head.
  • Subverted in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's. The only reason that the Wolkenritter didn't attack Nanoha and Fate on sight when the two of them came to visit Hayate in the hospital on Christmas Eve was for the sake up upholding the Masquerade. The second everyone else was out of view...
  • Pokémon: The Original Series: Invoked in the episode "Wobbu-Palooza!". Since Wobbuffet are incapable of attacking first, all the Pokémon Battles are forbidden during the Wobbuffet Festival.

    Comic Books 
  • One issue of Runaways (Rainbow Rowell) sees the team trying to throw a Christmas party while under house arrest by the Seed, their latest nemeses. Not wanting to be bad sports, they make sure that their guard, Gib, receives a present during the party. This ends up benefiting them, as Gib turns against the other members of the Seed, enabling them to survive the battle.

    Fan Work 
  • Family Guy Fanon's adaptation of "A Very Special Family Guy Freakin' Christmas" has Francis and Thelma, the former having a on-off father-son rivalry with Peter in this adaptation, put aside their differences and actively enjoy Christmas with the Griffins.

  • Joyeux Noël, which is based off the Real Life Christmas Truce of 1914.
  • In Snowpiercer, the guards briefly interrupt the axe fight in order to celebrate New Year's. Then they go right back to fighting. And then it turns out that the train, once every year, crosses a long tunnel and the guards are planning to exploit the resulting blackout.

  • My Story: In The Trenches: Billy Stevens, The Western Front, near the end of the book, Christmas of 1917 rolls around, and both the British and German forces agree to a ceasefire so they can have a peaceful Christmas. They also exchange gifts by tossing each other a flask of rum (from the British) and a box of cigarettes (from the Germans).
  • Terra Ignota: A preemptive example. In the third book, with World War III a looming inevitability, all sides agree to delay hostilities just long enough to hold the 140th Olympic Games as one last celebration of human excellence and international goodwill before the horrors of war begin. The world therefore sees 128 more days of peace. Of course, everyone also uses these 128 days to continue preparing for war.

    Live Action TV 
  • The real-life World War I Christmas Truce is mentioned in the finale of Blackadder Goes Forth.
    George: Do you remember, sir? We could hear “Silent Night” drifting across the still, clear air of No Man’s Land. And then they came, the Germans, emerging out of the freezing night mist, calling to us, and we clambered up over the top and went to meet them.
    Edmund: Both sides advanced more during one Christmas piss-up than they managed in the next two-and-a-half years of war.
    Baldrick: Do you remember the football match?
    Edmund: Remember it? How could I forget it? I was never offside! I could not believe that decision!
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: It's mentioned on the Halloween episode that most of the monsters on Sunnydale consider the day to be a "day off" (which is the reason Buffy and the rest of the Gang decide to go trick-or-treating). Unfortunately for the Slayer, it's more of an unwritten rule and Spike decides to disobey it. More unfortunately, Ethan Rayne enchants some costumes and turns Buffy (among others) into the people they disguised as, making her harmless. Unfortunately for Spike, Giles destroys the enchantment before he can do much more than gloat that he has Buffy corralled, which gives him a quite humiliating beat-down in response.
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show: A home front example appears in "The Alan Brady Show Presents". When Mel comes in to tell the writers about the Christmas show, he looks at the smiling Buddy and tells him to let loose with whatever insult he's got brewing. Buddy tells him that he doesn't do that around the holidays. He changes his mind after Mel tells the writers that their script won't be used.
  • "Twice Upon a Time", the Christmas Episode that served as the Twelfth Doctor's departure has him teaming up with his first incarnation and a WWI soldier. The soldier began the episode trapped in a trench with a wounded German soldier, both men prepared to kill each other. When the Doctor returns him to his time, he fudges it a bit so that the soldier returns a couple hours later than when he left, when the Christmas Truce was in effect. The soldier turns out to be the ancestor of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.
  • M*A*S*H had two episodes set during a Christmas truce.
    • "Death Takes a Holiday", had Hawkeye, B.J. and Margaret trying to keep a mortally-wounded soldier alive long enough so that he wouldn't die on Christmas Day while Charles attempted to continue his family's tradition of anonymous giving to the poor.
    • "'Twas the Day After Christmas" was a more light-hearted episode where the officers and enlisted men switched jobs for a day. Potter even mentions that they can do this because there is a Christmas Truce in effect so other than a few patients in Post-Op things are expected to be quiet.
    • Another episode, "Dear Sis", has Father Mulcahy gloomily noting (in a letter to his sister) that both sides tend to "get in as much destruction as they can" before one of these takes effect.

  • Christmas Truce by Sabaton is a song dedicated to the Christmas Truce of World War I.
  • In "Snoopy's Christmas", the Red Baron has Snoopy at his mercy after a long dogfight. But instead of shooting him down he forces Snoopy to land and offers him a holiday toast, no doubt inspired by the actual Christmas Truce.
  • "Christmas 1915" is also about the Christmas Truce, though the final verse is more somber as it points out that the war restarted on the 26th and the people who celebrated together the previous day went back to killing each other.
  • Christmas With The Tabernacle Choir: The Walter Cronkite concert has him narrating the story of the 1914 Christmas truce.

    Video Games 
  • The Christmas Truce of 1914 can be reenacted on as a bonus map in Verdun during the Holiday Season. Involving the soldiers playing football and sending e-mails to loved ones.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: In the Cheat Commandos' cartoon "Let us give TANKS!", the Cheat Commandos invite Blue Laser over for Thanksgiving.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Big Hero 6: The Series: Zig-zagged in "The Present". When the team barge into a supervillain Christmas party looking for Hiro's present, Baron von Steamer insists that there be no fighting on the occasion. Unfortunately, Mr. Sparkles decides to snatch Hiro's present For the Evulz, inciting a battle that ends with the villains defeated.
  • Boo Boom! The Long Way Home: Episode 24, which is the show's Christmas Episode, a group of German soldiers and a group of Allied soldiers both end up lost in the same woods, and through sheer coincidence, they run into each other at a cave Boo-Boom and his friends were using as shelter. When they notice Boo-Boom is in a bad condition due to the cold, both groups of soldiers put their differences aside to help him, which leads to all soldiers realizing they are not so different. After celebrating Christmas Eve together, they part ways on friendly terms.
  • Danny Phantom: The ghosts have a rule that fighting is not allowed during Christmas. They're furious when they find out that the Ghost Writer broke the rule and attacked Danny (even going so far as to team up with Danny to teach him a lesson).
  • Donkey Kong Country: "The Kongo Bongo Festival of Lights" has the characters celebrating their equivalent of Christmas, with a truce between the Kongs and the Kremlings. However, while King K. Rool and his underlings honor the truce, Kaptain Skurvy, who isn't associated with them, uses the truce to his advantage to try stealing the crystal coconut for himself.
  • In the Justice League episode "Comfort and Joy", the Ultra-Humanite helps the Flash get toys for orphans on Christmas.
  • Kim Possible's Christmas episode plays with this; both Kim and Shego take the holiday off, but Drakken has no qualms about launching a new evil scheme, causing Ron to try taking him on solo. Ultimately the two of them wind up crash-landing at the North Pole, are forced to cooperate to survive, and when they're found and rescued Drakken announces a formal truce after all.

    Real Life 
  • As mentioned above, the Christmas Truce of 1914; Where British, French, and German soldiers alike across the Western Front stopped fighting to celebrate Christmas together.
    • One particular German Soldier who was outraged by the Christmas Truce was unsurprisingly Adolf Hitler. When he learned about the ceasefire, he reportedly said to a fellow soldier, "Such a thing should not happen in wartime. Have you no German sense of honor left at all?" and refused to take part in it.
  • The Ancient Greek Olympics. Once every four years in the summer, city-states all across the region take a moment of ceasefire and head off to Olympia and present their best athletes for the competition. When the festivities end, the battles resume. According to legend, the ancient Greek city-states would set aside any wars they were fighting in order to honor the Olympic festivals held every four years. According to The Other Wiki:
    It has been widely written that during the Games, all conflicts among the participating city-states were postponed until the Games were finished. This cessation of hostilities was known as the Olympic peace or truce. This idea is a modern myth because the Greeks never suspended their wars. The truce did allow those religious pilgrims who were traveling to Olympia to pass through warring territories unmolested because they were protected by Zeus.
  • Inverted with the the Tet Offensive in the The Vietnam War. In 1968 the North Vietnamese army initiated large, coordinated attacks on many locations simultaneously on Tet (Vietnamese New Year), the biggest holiday of the year. This blindsided the US.
  • During recent civil wars in some Muslim countries such as Afghanistan and Syria, ceasefires have occasionally been attempted for the Islamic holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, though not every faction had declared or kept any promises to pause their fighting.
  • Inverted with the Yom Kippur War in Israel: deliberately begun on a holy day observed by virtually every Jewish Israeli regardless of usual level of observance, with media, transportation, and other usual amenities shut down other than for emergencies.note 
    • Likewise with the 2023 Israel-Hamas War. Hamas launched its terrorist attack on Simchat Torah, a Jewish holiday, which also happened to be on Shabbat.
  • Also inverted during the Revolutionary War, where Washington and his army scored a key victory on Christmas Day by crossing the Delaware River and ambushing the Hessian mercenaries employed by England as they celebrated a Christmas party.


Video Example(s):


Mickey's Christmas Chaos

The plot of the short centers around Mickey and his rival Mortimer competing with each other on decorating their houses for the Christmas decoration contest. In the end, it was Mickey's dog Pluto that ended up winning. This also leads to both Mickey and Mortimer putting aside their differences and exchanging each other presents... that turned out to be boxing gloves that knocked them out cold.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / DarkHorseVictory

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