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prose stub

A Day to Yourselves was the eleventh short story published in The Wintertime Paradox.

It was later published on the Doctor Who website for free.[1]


Feeling lost and alone, the Ninth Doctor takes it upon himself to save somebody's Christmas. However, everywhere he goes, he is beaten to the job. Although he does not want to admit it, the Doctor finds himself being given a Christmas gift from the unlikeliest of sources.


The Ninth Doctor lands his TARDIS on Eirene in the reception hall of Moveomax Holiday Cards, a holographic personalised greeting-card specialist operating across seventeen planets, on 23 December 2321, declaring he is ready to save the world. The receptionist, a man with eight metal arms called Winston, is unimpressed, however, and states the Doctor should have made an appointment. The Doctor is confused, expecting a planetwide emergency, but finds none. After reconfirming the date and location, he insists that Eirene should be being invaded by around 43 million giant-rat-like Gnarlmind, which jogs Winston's memory, and he remembers that it has been sorted already. Winston explains that another man without an appointment, wearing a suit and bright shoes with "taller hair" was responsible, and the Doctor realises who it must be upon hearing that he also arrived in a blue box. He immediately takes off again before Winston can pass him a letter in a blue, pinstriped envelope that the man left him.

With the TARDIS in flight, the Doctor tries and fails to convince himself that he was bound to have an adventure solved by one of his future selves eventually. Realising it was nearly Christmas on Eirene, he decides to cheer himself up by saving someone else's Christmas.

The TARDIS materialises again in the 33rd century inside the Crystal Sphere of Zed Trief, the fortress of the Cult of the Breaking Sunset, and interrupts them during a chanting session. Announcing his intention again to stop their "terrible plan" to steal the Globe of Unmaking from the vaults of the Shemi-Goroth, the Grand Hierophant sheepishly confirms that they are instead the Order of the Knotted Fate and are intending to do no such thing. She explains that they moved in when the cult left, and a converted member called Clodus adds that a man reversed the polarity of the globe, causing it to unmake itself and starting the downfall of the cult. The Grand Hierophant confirms that this man also had a blue box, but they decided to adopt a different symbol – his bow tie, which he insisted was cool. She also gives the Doctor a Christmas card that he left for him, and he takes off again.

The Doctor stands outside a room in the TARDIS that he thought he would never enter again, having picked up both envelopes from his future selves. Angry at the ramifications of his other selves meddling with his timeline, he pushes the envelopes under the door to never see them again. He then leaves to visit the doomed Ark of the Gammazed and the X-Particle Mines, but on both occasions discovers that a kind traveller has prevented a local catastrophe already and is gifted another card. On the latter, he also hears about "a nice woman in a blue box" and is given a plate of turkey and a headache.

Comparing repeatedly bumping into himself to having a niche hobby such as collecting Chibolg Mega-Stamps, the Doctor decides to visit the opening ceremony of the Forty-Fifth Chibolg Mega-Stamps Convention at the Zhudash Plaza Hotel on the planet Ghent. Travelling to the roof on the 284th floor, the Doctor swiftly pushes himself off the balcony. Getting caught in an anti-grav field, he uses his sonic screwdriver on the nearby window and floats into the luxurious Suite 2V34, protected by armed guards on the other side. Knowing that the convention is due to soon become an infamous massacre when the Fraternity of Keepers steal the stamp commemorating the crowning of Chibolg Emperor Glin, the Doctor decides to steal it himself to save their lives.

As the Doctor uncovers the stamp, he realises it also contains the fate of the Chibolg species and is quickly met by seven guns pointed at him. Squad Leader Quell asks the Doctor of his intentions after preventing the war, but he admits to not knowing, and Quell adds that a gentleman with "sort of an angry accent" already told her he would say that. She explains how the man will deal with the war as he gave them direct orders to lock the Doctor inside the suite so he can relax for Christmas. Incredulous at being gifted house arrest by his future self, the Doctor realises that the guards all have enhanced hearing sensors and aims his sonic screwdriver at the giant wall-mounted screens, wondering how loud they go.

Later, the Doctor apologises to the guards, and in their response letters, they give him a fifth card. The Doctor returns to the room he promised to never open and grudgingly walks inside – it is the TARDIS wardrobe. He apologises to the TARDIS for destroying all its mirrors after his regeneration and notices a broom nearby that he takes as a sign for him to sweep up the broken glass. While sweeping, he finds yet another envelope, which he assumes is from his previous self. He opens it and finds not a Christmas card, but a Moveomax card with a small shape of a planet on it. Seeing the blue and green planet and the text "wish you were here", he knows it is the one place he can call home even without Gallifrey to return to. Feeling a sense of purpose and relief again, the Doctor closes the card and says, "Merry Christmas to me."



  • The Ninth Doctor believes that time travel is about as exciting as the postal service is to humans, and ironically finds the human postal service very impressive.
  • Hegetory Prime has nine-foot-tall receptionist samurais, while the Appointmentrix of the Wailing Twelve is a planet-sized receptionist.
  • Eirene has galactic coordinates 51-2-89-14:02 and can be found "past the wobbly red star and that comet with all the yellow bits".
  • The Doctor thinks back to Peri Brown, Jo Grant, Sarah Jane Smith, Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, Leela, and Adric after he leaves Eirene.
  • Even holding a letter of contact from one's future self is a Class Four Felony on Gallifrey, usually enforced by the Chancellery Guard or Celestial Intervention Agency.
  • The Forty-Fifth Chibolg Mega-Stamps Convention was organised by a Voord.
  • Nobody knew why the Chibolg disappeared one day until the Doctor discovers they transformed themselves into sentient ink.
  • The Doctor picked his outfit based on the first clothes he could find after his regeneration from his war incarnation.
  • The Doctor has seen square planets, living planets, and planets made of song.


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