The X-Files

Season 6 Episode 6

How The Ghosts Stole Christmas

Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Dec 13, 1998 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (22)

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  • How The Ghosts Stole Christmas

    How The Ghosts Stole Christmas was a great episode of The X-Files and definitely fun for the time of year it took place. The episode had a great story though it wasn't one of my favorites of the series it was still well worth watching. I liked how it was unclear exactly what was happening as people started appearing in the house along with Mulder and Scully. I liked how every thing worked out and look forward to watching more episodes!!!!!
  • Mulder and Scully look into a haunted house.

    For a show that has run the gamut in terms of supernatural/sci-fi storylines, it amazes me that Chris Carter and co. continue to figure out new and unique ways to tell cliche stories. Here, we get a straightforward ghost story, something that's been done to death, been revived and then done to death again. But count on this show to give it a completely new twist. For a stand-alone episode, we get a pretty entertaining, mind-twisting and slightly funny episode.

    It's Christmas Eve, and Mulder calls Scully to have her come over to investigate a possible haunted house. Scully wants nothing to do with it and simply wants to wrap gifts, but Mulder insists, going as far as to steal her keys so she's forced to go inside. Once inside, however, the episode transforms quickly from typical ghost story to unique look into the two main characters that only Chris Carter could do.

    The mystery of the episode comes from the two ghosts from the name of the episode, played wonderfully by Lily Tomlin and Edward Asner. They play a pair of star-crossed lovers who died in the house years and years ago and spend their free time screwing around with and killing couples who enter the house. Mulder and Scully enter the house and quickly find themselves going crazy, finding that a door to one room simply leads them back to the room they were just leaving. The ghosts are able to distort reality in ways the Joker guy in Supernatural was able to do (Gabriel was his name, I believe).

    As a result, we get a pretty good holiday episode of The X-Files, with about ten moments where I was sure that Mulder or Scully had shot each other. Turns out these were just tricks that the two ghosts were playing on each other. The episode won me over with its cleverness, its new touch on an old as heck story and, of course, the power of the two lead actors.
  • Have yourself a merry little Christmas

    What I love the most in The X-Files is how many different types of stories it combines. Between elaborate conspiracies and creepy monsters there's always room for these special episodes, which in fact serve as a character exploration. How the Ghosts Stole Christmas is a perfect example of this.

    The story is simple but beautifully told. Mulder convinces Scully to investigate a haunted house on Christmas Eve where a couple (portrayed by Edward Asner and Lily Tomlin) made a lovers suicide pact years ago. Although Scully is reluctant at first she ends up following Mulder in the house. What follows is a series of tricky mind games between the ghosts and our heroes that brings out some insights of their characters and their relationship.
    HTGSC is a funny, romantic and occasionally scary episode. Chris Carter uses stereotypes and clichés from classic horror films to create the perfect setting for his tale. The gothic manor, the brick wall, the lover's pact… all symbolize the loneliness Mulder and Scully feel, their inability to explore their feelings and how they both secretly want to spent this very night with each other.
    The end is very sweet with Mulder and Scully exchanging gifts.
  • You have to love this episode, you can't help it!

    This is, indeed, a very silly episode. It's a fun set up, after all we've never really had a haunted house like this before. (Though using all the genre cliches does make the "atmospheric" settings of "Terms of Endearment" considerably less effective later.)

    This is an episode for shippers. We all know what we want to happen, a lovely Christmas kiss. Even non-shippers must acknowledge that they deserve a small platonic hug, at least. There does seem to be a problem with the pacing, since the ghosts driving them mad seems to happen far too quickly. It doesn't really work as it doesn't seem entirely believable that they would just accept that their partner has shot them so readily. Equally Mulder is far too quick to realise he has not really been shot. Scully's lines about ghosts being rediculous is meant to convey her trying to convince herself, but it does come across as overly long, especially as she seems to be panicing far too quickly. Overall a great idea not too well executed.
  • Decent episode, but nothing to rave about.

    Overall not a bad episode but not great either. Asner and Tomlin did an ok job as the ghosts. One thing that has always bothered me about this episode is when Mulder and Scully are crawling toward the door near the end of the episode (after each having been shot), Mulder shouts "You shot me first!" This would seem to indicate that he returned the favor and shot her, but in fact the ghosts were the only ones that did any shooting. Scully was shot by a ghost disguised as Mulder. Mulder was then shot by a ghost disguised as an "already shot" Scully.
  • This is a classic and a must see episode. There are many memorable lines and great guest stars.

    This is a classic and a must see episode. There are many memorable lines and great guest stars. Mulder and Scully go to a haunted house on Christmas eve. The two ghosts that live there try to trick the agents into a murder suicide not unlike the one they committed years earlier. With fancy words and ghost trickery they make the evening very confusing, exciting and sometimes frightening for Mulder and Scully. The episode ends when the agents realize they're being brainwashed and fight all of the graphic allusions that the ghosts had placed upon them. They leave the house and end the night watching movies with beer and popcorn. Great episode.
  • I just loved this episode. It was one of the funny episodes, which are always great.

    I just loved this episode. It was one of the funny episodes, which are always great.
    I always enjoy when Scully and Mulder make fun of eachother.

    At the end of the episode, there was a tender moment, the exchanging gifts, great moment,I loved it.

    I almost died when Scully fainted, she was really scared, but in front of Mulder she tried to not show it, let just say that it failed, espescially when Mulder just the flashlight to scare her.

    This was a great en funny episode for when you need to relax, but still want to watch the x-files.

    Just a wonderfull and funny episode
  • another good episode not to be missed.

    mulder & scully continue to investigate an x file and it's xmas eve. mulder's insistent & scully agreed, this time a supposed haunted house. the story of w/c a couple committed suicide & haunted anyone who lived in the house and inflicting the same fate they had. it seemed that there were indeed a manifestation of spirits. they felt the presence or rather seen the ghosts that inhabit the place. the malevolent ghosts played mindgames on scully & mulder & in the end they shoot each other but figured out it wasn't real just in time and left the house unhurt. meanwhile, the scheming ghosts congratulated each other for a scare well done then finally faded away.
  • Mulder takes Scully out to a haunted house on Christmas eve.....

    Mulder takes Scully out to a supposedley haunted house on Christmas eve on some other pretence. When they get inside doors start closing behind them and a mobile staircase changes position. It started off with a christmassy feeling (Scully had just returned from buying presents for her family, and was anxious to get home to wrap them), and it went into, not a horror, but fantasy realm.

    They see themselves "dead" from the future. They meet the home occupiers, who try to scare them to death. It was nice to see Ed Asner of Lou Grant "L.A. Tribune fame" playing the part of the male ghost. All in all a good episode to watch in front of a roaring fire, maybe with your holiday decorations up.
  • When there's something strange in your neighbourhood who ya gonna call? Ghos-Mulder and Scully!

    This episode is yet again experimental, an ep that breaks from the norm of the X files formula to create a special stand alone episode. Usually I love this idea and would have no complaints. I love having one or two of these types of episodes in a season such as "The Post Modern Prometheus" and "Musings of a cigerette smoking man" which break away from the usual structure of the X files mold. However this episode has the disadvantage of following on from "Triangle" and the "Dreamland" two parter, which while all being different exciting, and humourous are slightly wearisome. I love the 'break from the norm light hearted episodes' that the X files can produce but I just wish they wouldn't have 4 of these types of episodes in consecutive order! Its making me indeed worried for season 6 that all but 2 of the episodes of the series so far have been jokey and quite silly, when I want to see the show take itself seriously. I really felt like I could've perhaps appreciated this a whole lot more if it had been following on from a darker more serious episode and they hadn't had the normally calm collected Scully freaking out at every oppertunity in the epi! I hope to goodness the next episode is darker or I'll possibly go nuts!

    Anyway this episode on the whole really is more character development! Yay because I love it, especially of course Mulder and Scully's relationship, which is yet again tested as our two heroes are being unknowingly manipulated to kill the other - by ghosts Maurice and Lyida (two star crossed lovers who killed themselves back in 1917.) The characters of the ghosts give v.interesting insight into why Mulder calls Scully out on christmas eve and why a reluctant Scully goes out to meet him on his stake-out even when she knows she has other things to be doing. Of course it is about lonelyness. How neither of them want to be alone and maybe even though they don't like to admit it, they want to be in each others company for other reasons than just proving the other wrong. Which is nicely addressed in this episode. It brings us to the end scene which is just heart warming (GA pulls the cutest face when they swap gifts) as the pair realise they'd rather be together than sat at home by themselves. They spend their first ever christmas together (even if it was only the early hours of the morning) and its just so sweet as we are seeing their relationship begin to evolve.
  • Better Than A Lump Of Coal, But Not By Much

    Ugh, another gimmicky joke episode. Season Six is shaping up to be the "jump the shark" season as the series appears to be losing its way fast. We are six episodes into the season and so far we have one gimmick episode ("Triangle") and three joke episodes in a row ("Dreamland I & II" and "Ghost").

    Now before you go clicking on the "Disagree" button, I do think that this episode is funny and entertaining, hence I give it a solid "B" rating. But this is not the X-Files that I know and love. The writers are relying on the self-parody schtick way too much and it threatens to kill the integrity of the series.

    Duchovny smirks his way through the entire episode. His character has suddenly morphed into a smug smartass, which seems to mirror his own personal sense of dissatisfaction with the series. Anderson stays true to her character but somehow the chemistry between her and Duchovny has been lost. This is most apparent in the final scene, which is supposed to be touching but comes across as rather forced.

    Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin are fine comedic actors but they bring a lot of baggage with them. They were not the right choices for their roles because they lack the "edge" that was needed to leaven the comedy.

    Carter's writing continues to be instantly identifiable in both its wordiness and its faint air of pretension. The lengthy speech about ghosts that he has Scully recite in the first third of the episode is pretty terrible and she visibly struggles as she tries to get though it all. His comedic touch continues to be a bit ham-handed, but he is getting better.

    All in all, a notable episode but one that is not very good for the series as a whole.
  • i've seen this episode so many times and it's just as good now as it was the first time i saw it

    So i saw another rerun of this last night on TNT, and this episode continues to amaze me. Now i'm not one to be easily scared, but watching this episode alone in the dark with a window that opens into a very very dark backyard, i must admit i still get a little creeped out watching this one. I love the exaggerated thunder and lightening, which makes this episode that much better. The wrap-up to this episode is very special because Mulder and Scully get closer than they usually had in the episodes before this. They buy each other gifts even though they had unanimously agreed that they wouldn't. Also the writers gave us that fluff sort of because they didn't give us much of that in earliers seasons.
    definately one of my favorite x-files.
    "I thought everybody believed in ghosts!"
  • Mulder and Scully investigate a "haunted house" on Christmas Eve.

    Mulder calls Scully late at night on Christmas Eve. Scully is reluctant to listen to Mulder's "games". But once she cant find her keys she goes inside the house with Mulder. After they enter the house the door locks and traps Mulder and Scully inside. The walk around the house looking for signs that someone lives here. While looking Mulder tells Scully a story about the house that on Christmas Eve a couple created a lovers pact that they would spend eternity together, the story ends with a homicide/suicide. Scully doesnt believe the story but then spots that several rooms in the house are identical and that a fire has recently been lit in fireplace. Mulder and Scully get seperated and tricked into thinking that each has shot the other. At the end of the episode they drag themselves to the front door with gun shot wounds. Mulder realizes that they have been tricked and tells Scully to get up. "No, you shot me." she replies but he convinces her that they have been tricked. As they leave the house in a hurry you can sense a hint of romance between the two.
  • The one with the ghost couple

    ‘How the Ghosts Stole Christmas’ is an brilliantly well written episode with comedy and horror. Another excellent season 6 example.

    The episode begins with Mulder getting Scully on Christmas eve to go hunt ghosts, but Scully believes she got better things to do and doesn’t want to follow him. So then Mulder goes into the house and takes her car keys making her go into the house as well.

    Soon the house begins to do creepy stuff, they get locked in and when they go into a room, the stairs appear to be gone. They hear a noise under the ground and when they open it they find dead bodies of themselves. Then Scully begins to freak out, they try to leave the room but enter the same room. When they go separate they loose track of each other.

    Mulder gets a visit from a man ghost who first makes him believe he’s going crazy and that he dragged Scully into this only because he’s lonely. Then he disappears and turns out to be a ghost. A lady vists Scully at the same time acting like a woman who lives there but then begins to scare her. She tells Scully that her only joy in life is to prove Mulder wrong. The ghosts get off on driving people mad, they scare Scully by telling her that she is getting killed by Mulder, just like he was. Then the old woman dresses up like Mulder and shoots Scully.

    Meanwhile Mulder is looking for Scully and finds her shot on the ground, then she does the same to him, or at least that’s what he thinks. When they both meet on the ground they are both injured and ready to finish each other but Mulder finds out that it’s all in their heads and that they aren’t really shot. They stand up and run away out of the house.

    Back at home Mulder is all alone but Scully comes to visit him and brings him presents. This episode truly had it all, it was funny, character developing, shocking and scary. absolutely brilliant.
  • Mulder calls Scully out to investigate a haunted house on Christmas eve when they get there they find two ghosts who show them the spirit of Christmas

    This show was a classic. When Mulder invites they find a couple of ghosts in a haunted house who had a tradgedy death on Christmas eve so Mulder and Scully investigate. When they get there they get locked in so they try to find a way out but while they look the rooms change then they get separated. When they do they meet up with a couple of ghosts who tell them one is going to shoot the other then Mulder "shoots" Scully they try to leave but find out they really werent shot and get away then Scully and Mulder exchange gifts and find their Christmas spirit.
  • Its Christmas Eve and Mulder calls Scully to a haunted house where they shoot each other because of what they find there.

    I liked this episode, especially when Mulder and Scully dig up the floor boards to find two decaying corpses dressed like themselves. However, it would have been better if the ghosts were played by someone other than Ed Asner and Lilly Tomlin. They just did not scare me. Oh well, afterall it was Christmas and not Halloween.
  • My favorite!

    Tied for my favorite, actually, but comes close to singularly taking the prize. This is such a classic, pure X-Files with pure Mulder and Scully.

    This episode is very quotable and very applicable to the way we all live our lives from time to time. We all have our personality-based little secrets, cliche`, habitual patterns, and unrealized passions that some times go unnoticed until others point them out to us.

    Also, this is a prime example of what I like to call; "Mulder and Scully: More than Friends, Less than Lovers." At this point, they have an undefinable relationship that either leaves a fan sighing in disappointment or giggling over the possibilities.

    Very good! I adore this episode with all my heart.
  • Mulder and Scully meet up with a couple of ghosts only to discover their own Christmas misary. They are in for the Christmas of a lifetime, and it could be over in an instant. They still manage top get home in time to unrap gifts on Christmas day.

    I loved this episode, it is one of my favorites. It summed up Mulder and Scully\'s relationship perfectly. Mulder always going on these crazy searches for the unknown, and Scully always following, reluctantly. Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin are pivitol to this episode, they make a good pair. When Mulder and Scully shoot eachother you think for a brief moment that it is over, until Mulder with his sharp thinking, realizes the truth. Although Scully tries not to believe, the evidence is too overwhelming, as it is in most cases. I have to say this episode is one of my top Ten.
  • Do you believe in ghosts?

    This episode was amazing, It started of a little creepy but then moved on to the humorous side.

    I think that this episode was more about Mulder & Scully's relationship than anything else. There really was no case or any other characters this time other than the ghostly couple. And even they could see that Mulder & Scully belong with each other.

    The pranks that they played on them were pretty funny, I loved how Maurice convinced Mulder to walk into the brick wall, that part was hilarious. And when Mulder scared Scully with the flashlight on his face, I couldn't stop laughing.

    It seems like the ghosts finally got them to realise that they were both too lonely right at the end when Scully goes to Mulder's apartment and they exchange christmas gifts.
  • Luv this episode! One of my favorite X-Files episodes. Only the X-Files would make a Christmas special that looks and feels like a Halloween special! Awesome!

    Luv this episode! One of my favorite X-Files episodes. Only the X-Files would make a Christmas special that looks and feels like a Halloween special! Awesome!

    My favorite X-Files episodes were actually the ones that were NOT about aliens, mostly. I thought the show focused too much on alien themes, when in fact, the better episodes (such as this example) were actually the better written and more entertaining episodes.
  • M & S spend the night in a haunted mansion. Haunted by Ed Asner & Lily Tomlin...but that's a good thing.

    Having another comedic episode right on the heels of Dreamland seems wierd, but it's off-set by the grimmer toned moments. Mulder and Scully finding their own corpses and then killing each other is a worthwhile gimmick, and within the context of a comedy episode, comes across as especially shocking. The pair of them gut-shot and crawling around in pools of their own blood is mighty disturbing against the backdrop of elderly squabbling lover ghosts.
  • This is a weird episode, but is so funny watch these two people, in very ridiculous situiation.

    The first time i watch this episode, i think this is very very stupid, where are the story, the conspiration, the action.

    The second time i watch, i begin to understand, this is about Mulder and Scully`s relationship,there are two lonely people in Cristhmas eve.

    We know Mulder don`t have anyone to spend the Cristhams, and be there whit Scully is very important for him. I love when he steal her keys. He just want to stay there with her.

    After in this episode, we can see a two gosth who know Mulder and Scully have to be together. They do all those pranks, just for they can realize that.