Watford moved into the Championship play-off places thanks to Matej Vydra's double against Nottingham Forest at Vicarage Road.
The Czech gave the hosts the lead from inside the area after Almen Abdi's through ball, and doubled the advantage with a neat 12-yard finish.
By that stage Forest had been reduced to 10 men, Daniel Ayala shown a second yellow card for fouling Troy Deeney.
Forest's festive record
This defeat is the first time Nottingham Forest have lost the fixture immediately before Christmas since December 2006
The visitors went close through Adlene Guedioura but Watford held firm.
Vydra's two goals took his tally for the season to 10, sending the Hornets up to sixth as Forest dropped to 11th.
Watford, who have now won five of their last eight matches, took control after the opening goal, but they had to weather an early storm.
Danny Collins almost put the visitors ahead with a glancing header from Andy Reid's free-kick, and Billy Sharp shot wide at the back post following Simon Cox's cross.
However, when Guy Moussi conceded possession in midfield after 15 minutes, Abdi played in Vydra and he made no mistake.
Having avoided a dismissal for a clear foul on Vydra, on-loan Norwich defender Ayala brought down Deeney on the edge of the penalty area and was sent off by referee Neil Swarbrick.
From that point, the result was never in doubt, and Vydra made it 2-0 five minutes before the break.
Guedioura shot into the side netting after the interval and Sharp dragged a shot wide, but Watford never looked like surrendering their advantage.
Watford manager Gianfranco Zola: "The first half was excellent. Some of the things that we saw were really good.
"I cannot say the same for the first 20 minutes of the second half, in which we took the foot from the pedal completely and we allowed them to come back into the game a little bit more.
"That wasn't necessary but I can understand. The team felt like the game was gone so that is something we need to address."
Nottingham Forest manager Sean O'Driscoll: "I thought we were a threat and had the best chance.
"Danny Collins' header should really have scored, a free header inside the six-yard box.
"But they're a fluid team, they cause you problems and they're prepared to take a risk at the back."
- 01 Almunia
- 06 Hall
- 18 Pudil
- 27 Cassetti Booked
- 31 Hoban
- 39 Chalobah (Mujangi Bia - 90' )
- 40 Ekstrand
- 08 Hogg
- 22 Abdi (Battocchio - 84' )
- 09 Deeney Booked
- 20 Vydra (Beleck - 74' Booked )
- 34 Bonham
- 05 Neuton
- 07 Yeates
- 37 Mujangi Bia
- 38 Battocchio
- 13 Beleck
- 36 Geijo
- 01 Camp
- 03 Harding (Halford - 46' )
- 05 Collins
- 26 Ayala Dismissed after an earlier booking
- 29 Hutton
- 32 Ward Booked
- 06 Moussi
- 08 Cohen
- 11 Reid (Guedioura - 46' )
- 19 Cox Booked (Blackstock - 79' )
- 24 Sharp Booked
- 12 Darlow
- 15 Halford
- 04 Gillett
- 07 Guedioura
- 22 Lansbury
- 28 Majewski
- 23 Blackstock
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.90:00 +3:24
Inswinging corner taken by Chris Cohen, Dexter Blackstock takes a shot. Save by Manuel Almunia. Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Adlene Guedioura played to the near post.90:00 +3:09
Adlene Guedioura takes a shot. Jonathan Hogg gets a block in.90:00 +2:50
The ball is delivered by Greg Halford.90:00 +1:58
Adlene Guedioura takes a shot. Save made by Manuel Almunia.90:00 +1:28
The referee blows for offside. Lee Camp takes the free kick.89:02 Substitution
Substitution (Watford) makes a substitution, with Geoffrey Mujangi Bia coming on for Nathaniel Chalobah.88:47
Alan Hutton crosses the ball, Manuel Almunia makes a save.88:29
Jonathan Hogg takes a shot. Lee Camp makes a save.86:56
Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Cristian Battocchio, Adlene Guedioura makes a clearance.86:38
Troy Deeney takes a shot. Save made by Lee Camp.85:58
The ball is swung over by Daniel Pudil.84:24
Marco Cassetti crosses the ball, Greg Halford manages to make a clearance.83:39 Substitution
Substitution Cristian Battocchio is brought on as a substitute for Almen Abdi.82:42
Unfair challenge on Steve Beleck by Adlene Guedioura results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Jonathan Hogg.82:18
Guy Moussi takes a shot. Fitz Hall gets a block in.81:41
Lee Camp takes the direct free kick.81:41 Booking
Booking The referee shows Steve Beleck a yellow card.81:07
Nathaniel Chalobah takes a shot. Elliott Ward gets a block in.80:32
Corner taken right-footed by Almen Abdi, clearance made by Dexter Blackstock.
Steve Beleck fouled by Guy Moussi, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Nathaniel Chalobah.78:55
A cross is delivered by Marco Cassetti, Headed effort from inside the area by Troy Deeney misses to the right of the target.76:44
Free kick taken by Lee Camp.76:44 Substitution
Substitution Simon Cox leaves the field to be replaced by Dexter Blackstock.76:44
Strike comes in from Nathaniel Chalobah from the free kick. The assistant referee signals for offside against Steve Beleck.76:44 Booking
Booking The referee books Billy Sharp for unsporting behaviour.76:33
Billy Sharp challenges Almen Abdi unfairly and gives away a free kick.75:58
Free kick taken by Nathaniel Chalobah.75:58 Booking
Booking Simon Cox goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.75:52
Simon Cox concedes a free kick for a foul on Daniel Pudil.72:45 Substitution
Substitution Steve Beleck comes on in place of Matej Vydra.72:45
Adlene Guedioura takes a inswinging corner to the near post.72:45 Booking
Booking Troy Deeney is shown a yellow card.72:45 Booking
Booking Elliott Ward receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.70:51
A cross is delivered by Greg Halford, Marco Cassetti makes a clearance.68:29
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Alan Hutton by Matej Vydra. Danny Collins restarts play with the free kick.68:17
Centre by Billy Sharp, Manuel Almunia makes a save.68:00
Inswinging corner taken by Adlene Guedioura from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Jonathan Hogg.66:37
Adlene Guedioura crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from left channel, Troy Deeney gets a block in.66:37 Booking
Booking Marco Cassetti goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.66:31
Chris Cohen fouled by Marco Cassetti, the ref awards a free kick.65:34
Free kick awarded for a foul by Marco Cassetti on Adlene Guedioura. Adlene Guedioura takes the free kick.63:55
The ball is sent over by Billy Sharp.60:18
Effort on goal by Daniel Pudil from inside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the bar.59:04
Unfair challenge on Alan Hutton by Matej Vydra results in a free kick. Lee Camp takes the free kick.57:32
The ball is swung over by Matej Vydra. Almen Abdi takes a corner.54:33
The assistant referee flags for offside against Simon Cox. Manuel Almunia takes the indirect free kick. Free kick awarded for a foul by Elliott Ward on Matej Vydra. Free kick crossed right-footed by Almen Abdi from left channel. Marco Cassetti produces a cross.51:16
The ball is sent over by Marco Cassetti, Almen Abdi takes a shot. Blocked by Elliott Ward. Shot from deep inside the area by Almen Abdi goes over the bar.50:34
Adlene Guedioura delivers the ball, clearance made by Jonathan Hogg.50:12
Greg Halford produces a cross.48:49
The assistant referee flags for offside against Almen Abdi. Lee Camp takes the indirect free kick.47:07
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Marco Cassetti by Danny Collins. Free kick taken by Marco Cassetti.46:05
Billy Sharp fouled by Joel Ekstrand, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Chris Cohen from right channel, clearance made by Daniel Pudil.45:01
The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.45:01 Substitution
Substitution Andy Reid goes off and Adlene Guedioura comes on.45:01 Substitution
Substitution (Nottm Forest) makes a substitution, with Greg Halford coming on for Dan Harding.45:00 +3:03 Half time
Half Time The half-time whistle blows.45:00 +1:01
Free kick awarded for a foul by Almen Abdi on Billy Sharp. Andy Reid crosses the ball in from the free kick, clearance by Fitz Hall.44:36
Troy Deeney takes a shot from just outside the penalty area which clears the crossbar.43:33
Almen Abdi takes a inswinging corner to the near post, clearance by Danny Collins.43:18
The ball is swung over by Marco Cassetti, Alan Hutton makes a clearance.41:35
Centre by Marco Cassetti, Headed effort from deep inside the area by Daniel Pudil misses to the left of the goal.39:59
Assist by Almen Abdi.39:59 Goal scored
Goal! - Matej Vydra - Watford 2 - 0 Nott'm For Matej Vydra fires in a goal from deep inside the penalty box low into the middle of the goal. Watford 2-0 Nottm Forest.37:57
Strike comes in from Almen Abdi from the free kick.37:57 Dismissal
Dismissal The referee sends off Daniel Ayala for second bookable offence.37:33
Daniel Ayala challenges Troy Deeney unfairly and gives away a free kick.36:14
Daniel Pudil produces a cross.34:10
Daniel Pudil challenges Chris Cohen unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Chris Cohen.32:49
Chris Cohen crosses the ball, clearance made by Fitz Hall.30:11
Fitz Hall has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the target.29:56
Unfair challenge on Almen Abdi by Andy Reid results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Almen Abdi.27:07
Marco Cassetti concedes a free kick for a foul on Andy Reid. Andy Reid takes the direct free kick.25:01
Daniel Pudil takes a shot. Save made by Lee Camp. Corner taken right-footed by Almen Abdi from the right by-line, clearance made by Daniel Ayala.24:28
Almen Abdi delivers the ball, Jonathan Hogg takes a shot. Save made by Lee Camp.22:38
Nathaniel Chalobah delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from right channel, Guy Moussi makes a clearance.22:38 Booking
Booking The referee shows Daniel Ayala a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.22:34
Daniel Ayala gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Matej Vydra.20:35
Troy Deeney produces a cross.18:28
Almen Abdi sends in a cross, Lee Camp makes a save.18:01
Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Almen Abdi from the right by-line, The ball is sent over by Fitz Hall.17:42
Marco Cassetti produces a cross, clearance made by Elliott Ward.14:40
The assist for the goal came from Almen Abdi.14:40 Goal scored
Goal! - Matej Vydra - Watford 1 - 0 Nott'm For Matej Vydra gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the box to the top right corner of the goal. Watford 1-0 Nottm Forest.14:24
Andy Reid sends in a cross, save by Manuel Almunia.12:48
Simon Cox takes a shot. Manuel Almunia makes a save.12:29
Marco Cassetti challenges Dan Harding unfairly and gives away a free kick. Dan Harding takes the free kick.9:47
The ball is sent over by Andy Reid, Shot by Billy Sharp from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.7:30
Matej Vydra takes a shot. Elliott Ward gets a block in.7:10
The ball is crossed by Alan Hutton, clearance made by Fitz Hall.6:37
Troy Deeney is caught offside. Elliott Ward takes the indirect free kick.5:26
Almen Abdi sends in a cross.4:49
Billy Sharp concedes a free kick for a foul on Tommie Hoban. Manuel Almunia takes the free kick.3:34
Almen Abdi takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, Effort on goal by Fitz Hall from inside the box misses to the right of the target.3:12
Matej Vydra takes a shot. Blocked by Daniel Ayala.2:42
Dan Harding delivers the ball.2:32
The ball is crossed by Alan Hutton.2:20
Nathaniel Chalobah produces a cross, Elliott Ward manages to make a clearance.1:08
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Andy Reid played to the near post, Header by Danny Collins from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.0:00
The game gets underway.
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