Imagine Mulder asking Scully if she has any plans for Christmas.
Imagine her saying Bill invited her but she doesn’t really feel like it. Mulder takes it as a “I might come over”. He spends the next month learning how to perfectly cook a whole turkey for two. He tests three recipes of mince pies and walnut cake. For Christmas Eve, he buys French wine and champagne and prepares eggnog. He spends a week looking for the nicest tree in the neighbouring forest and finds The One which he cuts down on a Sunday afternoon before dragging it back to the house. She wonders why he looks in pain the next day.
On The Night, the table is already set by 5pm, her present under the tree. He tries not to think about how he may have read too much into her hesitation, how perhaps Tad O'Malley invited her to a DC socialites and politics dinner party and she agreed from lack of better, more promising plans. He tries not to stand near the window and watch the gates. It’s 9pm and he started the whisky he only intended to open with her at midnight. He feels like a fool, he now firmly believes he has disappointed her too much before for a Christmas miracle to save him. He imagines a car door slamming shut and footsteps on the porch. There’s a knock. He gets up anyway to check. She’s here, wearing a black dress, pink cheeks and a Rudolph nose, a gift bag in her hand. “Pace yourself with that drink or you’ll never be awake to open your present” is all she says before stepping inside.