Watching The Nightmare Before Christmas around Halloween sucks because for the second half, it’s a Christmas movie. Watching The Nightmare Before Christmas around Christmas sucks because for the first half, it’s a Halloween movie. There’s only one logical solution: Consider The Nightmare Before Christmas to be a Thanksgiving movie, instead.
What is Thanksgiving if not a holdover holiday between the two greats? Its timing is truly what defines it the most, save for the food — a few weeks after Halloween, and a few weeks before Christmas. It’s really a day meant for self-flagellating over one’s “gratitude” in between the festive periods we acknowledge more honestly as being about carnivalesque fun and gaudy consumption. Thanksgiving is a nothing holiday, and I feel truly indifferent toward it.
Technically, The Nightmare Before Christmas could be nothing other than a Thanksgiving movie. Half Halloween and half Christmas, the ideal time to enjoy the movie would be at the midpoint between the two. That’s just simple math. Facts don’t care about your feelings.
With both Halloween and Christmas, I like to do them right. I honor their traditions, because they’re actually fun. Unfortunately, Nightmare dilutes both of the holidays it features. No disrespect to the movie itself or its fans — I used to shop at Hot Topic when I was 12, too. But honestly, when I’m trying to enjoy Halloween, I don’t want to taint it with themes of Santa Claus and Christmas. The whole premise of Nightmare is that Halloween is unfulfilling to the film’s Slenderman overlord. If you’re watching it around Halloween, you’re essentially told for half of the movie that Halloween is a pathetic, plebeian holiday.
Watching the movie around Christmas, you’re confronted with a different issue. Like, I’m trying to honor the birth of our Lord and Savior by getting absolutely blasted on peppermint-flavored Smirnoff in my hot cocoa. I don’t need to witness a skeletal monarch grapple with an existential crisis by performing a kidnapping.
But you know when I am willing to watch Jack Skellington fuck up two holidays? Thanksgiving. At that point of the year, I’m still working on killing my stash of Halloween candy while listening to “Last Christmas” by Wham! The Nightmare Before Christmas thus seems appropriate. Even the moral of the narrative feels somewhat relevant to Thanksgiving, as Jack ultimately learns to be grateful for the life he has.
Isn’t that all anyone really expects from a Thanksgiving movie?