“The Nightmare Before Christmas:” A Holiday Movie, But Which One?


Ellise Huston

Features Editor

Everyone has their movie traditions to watch during the holiday season. Maybe you cozy up and binge the entire “Harry Potter” series. Maybe your spooky October favorites are “Hocus Pocus” or “Friday the 13th. Maybe December means it’s time for “The Night Before” or “Elf. But like any good thing, there are often exceptions. What in the world should everyone watch during Thanksgiving? Beyond rewatching every Thanksgiving episode of “Gossip Girl, there are few shows or movies that are a perfect fit for the holiday. So, I’d like to add one to everyone’s list: “The Nightmare Before Christmas. 

Tim Burton’s famous 1993 stop-motion animation film “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is a seasonal paradox. It is in a liminal zone, the transition period between Halloween and Christmas. It centers on two holidays and leaves us to wonder: during which month should we watch this film? 

The movie begins on Halloween, but the holiday ends after the first song! It then hurtles forward toward Christmas, but spends the majority of its time in between the two holidays as the protagonist, Jack Skellington, attempts to take over as Santa Claus — or ‘Sandy Claws,’ as the skeleton refers to him. (I apologize if this is spoiling the movie for anyone!) If following the timeline of the movie, most of the action takes place in November. And what’s on the road to Christmas, silently waiting for its big time to shine? Thanksgiving. 

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” is cinematic gold, with the color of the fallen leaves that will be swept away before setting the table for Thanksgiving dinner. It’s spooky, it’s scary, but it’s also heartwarming. No matter who you are, the holiday season encapsulates all these emotions. 

Listen, you can argue that “The Nightmare Before Christmas” is wholeheartedly a Halloween movie or, conversely, a frightening Christmas movie. However, there are such few Thanksgiving movie options (in my humble opinion). Besides, Halloween and Christmas are fantastic holidays. Why not extend them a bit by pushing back Halloween and pulling Christmas into November? Who is to say skeletons and the Boogeyman must be confined to October? Let them live a while longer. 

So, if “The Nightmare Before Christmas” really is both a Halloween and Christmas movie, let’s all give it the Thanksgiving timeline the movie itself has. What date do I suggest? November 23rd. It’s the perfect time to put on Burton’s film in the background while you make your mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. Mark your calendars, everyone! You’ve just been given a new Thanksgiving tradition.