Also, while I did like this a lot, it definitely felt rushed. Too bad they couldn't give a Smith's last episode a two parter, like they did with Tennant.
Wonder if they expected Smith to stay at least another year.
I believe so. We know that Moffat and Smith discussed series 8. It's possible that series 8 was supposed to deal with all of the loose ends and the regeneration limit, but when Smith bolted Moffat had to fit them all (and the kitchen sink, too) into the Christmas episode.