Star Trek features a version of humanity that has moved past religions and their associated holidays, but there are hints that some version of Christmas might still be celebrated in the future of the final frontier. The majority of Star Trek takes place in the 23rd and 24th centuries, where humanity has evolved significantly. Following first contact with the Vulcans in the late 21st century, Earth gradually became a utopia, free of disease, poverty, and hopelessness.
Another significant change in humanity was the rejection of religion. Franchise creator Gene Roddenberry was a noted atheist, and believed religion was one of the greatest sources of division on Earth. His idyllic take on the future saw Earth and virtually all of its citizens become agnostic, considering religious beliefs to be ancient superstition. Despite this, there are still a few hints that Christmas maintains some presence in the future of Star Trek. There’s mention of an Enterprise Christmas party all the way back in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode “Dagger Of The Mind,” and the holiday is mentioned in passing in virtually every Star Trek series.
Why Star Trek Generations’ Nexus Had Picard Celebrating Christmas
The most overt reference to Christmas in the franchise occurs in the film Star Trek Generations. After being sucked into the extra-dimensional ribbon known as the Nexus, Captain Jean-Luc Picard experiences an alternate reality where his deepest desires are fulfilled. Those desires take on the shape of a joyous Christmas evening with a family Picard never had. The illusion is complete with a Christmas tree and children opening gifts.
This is not necessarily confirmation that Christmas is still celebrated in such an old-fashioned way in the 24th century. Picard is both a history buff and something of a traditionalist, so certain ancient Earth customs may simply appeal to him personally. It does however suggest that a secular version of the holiday may still be celebrated by some of humanity, embracing the warm and communal aspects of the holiday that have little to do with religion.
What Holidays Are Celebrated In Star Trek
There are still a handful of holidays that are celebrated in the future depicted in Star Trek. Notably, First Contact Day is a deeply important day on Earth, marking humanity’s transition from its violent, messy adolescence to the advanced culture it would become by the era of the Federation. Similarly, Federation Day is celebrated to commemorate the multi-planet alliance that would go on to influence virtually every inhabited planet in the Alpha Quadrant.
Oddly, there is ample evidence that another somewhat archaic Earth holiday is still celebrated in the era of Star Trek – Thanksgiving. Overt references are made to Thanksgiving still being celebrated by Captain Kirk in TOS and Commander Trip Tucker in the prequel series Star Trek: Enterprise. Thanksgiving is actually celebrated among the senior staff on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Even Ensign Silvia Tilly makes reference to an unfortunate Thanksgiving mishap in Star Trek: Discovery. Religion may not have survived on the future Earth of Star Trek, but some holidays appear to have, allowing even the far-flung future to reference Christmas and Thanksgiving.