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The Nightmare Before Christmas or Halloween?

It’s an age old debate: is The Nightmare Before Christmas a Christmas or a Halloween movie? There are a lot of great points for both, and the correct answer is that it’s both. However, since it’s December, I’m going to explain to you why it’s a great Christmas movie to enjoy with everyone. In order to do this, we’re going to go through how the movie checks all the “perfect Christmas movie” boxes. 

Set During Winter

It may seem obvious, but a great Christmas movie is set during winter, some time around Christmas. The movie itself does not have to take place only during Christmas day, but making sure that there is snow and winter coats helps set the scene around the movie being a Christmas movie. The actual town of Halloween Town is not full of the beautifully powder snow, and this is the main setting of the movie. However, there are scenes that take place in Christmas Town. There is no trick with the town name; the town is the model Christmas town that is full of snow and Christmas lights.

Romance is Also In The Air

Snow isn’t the only thing that can be flurrying around the entire movie. Romance is almost always in at least one little spot in everyone’s favorite Christmas movie. Luckily, the main protagonist, Jack Skellington, has a love interest throughout the entire movie named Sally. Sally is always there to support Jack when she sees that he is beginning to become overwhelmed, and is his biggest supporter when the entire town is hesitant to blindly follow him into his “mad” idea.

At least one person sings

There is always some music-focused scene in a Christmas movie, even if it’s just a short caroling. There are a lot of singing and musical numbers in the movie, and the soundtrack is incredible. Almost every single song is catchy and beautifully constructed. There’s an entire musical number about how interesting the Christmas town is to an outsider like those from Halloween Town. As an added bonus, multiple characters have their time to shine musically in the movie, so it’s more than just one person singing the entire time.

There’s Some Kind of Want

A lot of the Christmas spirit revolves around the selfish desire to get everything you want for the holiday. This doesn’t always have to be demonstrated in a child having the longest list of toys they can think of, and it can just be someone wanting to not be alone for the holidays. For this movie, Jack Skellington is exposed to Christmas and then is consumed by the selfish want to recreate this magic for his town to further spread the magic. He locks himself away in order to accomplish his goals, and then encourages everyone else to follow his lead and begin to desire the same thing as him. However, there is also the desire of Sally where she wants to spend time with Jack, while still wanting to support him through everything he’s doing. During all of this, the Mayor just wants everyone to forget about Christmas to ensure that Halloween goes well for everyone and that everyone is able to be scary enough. Therefore, the movie is full of desires.


It’s pretty self explanatory. Santa Claus is the main magician in a lot of Christmas movies since he himself is an extremely magical person. He somehow knows what everyone in the world wants for Christmas and never fails to provide everyone with their wishes the night of Christmas Eve. This is portrayed time and time again in movies, and this magic is not lost in The Nightmare Before Christmas. Jack Skellington sees Sandy Claws in Christmas Town and is in awe of the classic “holiday magic” and begins to seek out a way to scientifically mimic it. However, since the magic is so real and true, it cannot be replicated and this shows how strong the magical sense is in the movie. There is also a strong urge to share this magic with others because of how positive it is, further showing how real and strong this magic is and how consuming it is for people.

These are just a couple of examples as for why The Nightmare Before Christmas is a fantastic Christmas movie to watch with the entire family. However, you can absolutely continue to watch it after Christmas to remain in the holiday spirit until you can binge it for the spooky elements all of October. So, log into your Disney+ and gather the entire family around so you can begin your 25 Christmas movie marathon properly.

Kylie Kruis

Bradley U '25

Hey :) my name is Kylie and I'm the President of the Bradley chapter of Her Campus. I am currently a sophomore Psychology and English Literature double major at Bradley with a minor in Women's and Gender Studies. Follow me on Instagram @sleepy.kylieee !