RTBN 25 Days of Christmas: Day Two
Day Two: The Nightmare Before Christmas
RTBN 25 Days of Christmas is the RTBN staff's irreverent exploration of our collective holiday pop culture tradition.

Day 2: The Nightmare Before Christmas

If I had my way, I would watch The Nightmare Before Christmas every day from Halloween to Christmas, thus eliminating the "is it a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie?" debate (the answer is a Christmas movie, by the way. Don't be dense.). While he didn't direct it, The Nightmare Before Christmas is indelibly linked to Tim Burton, and presents a fantastic way to approach Christmas"”through the lens of the residents of Halloween Town, learning about Christmas for the first time.

I could have made this argument yesterday, with my exploration of It's A Wonderful Life, and I will most likely make it quite a bit throughout the course of this feature, but I believe that Christmas is intrinsically linked to a sense of nostalgia"”at least once you get passed being solely focused on what's left under the tree. At Christmas, you naturally look back on years past and attempt to recreate traditions you can never really duplicate. Somehow the year that passes between Christmases always has a way of changing you and the people around you, and you're left chasing ghosts. Sometimes I wonder if this model preceded to holiday hegemony of Dickens' A Christmas Carol or if this feeling is what made that story the dominant Christmas narrative, but there is, for me at least, an innate sense of sadness at years past built into each subsequent Christmas.

The Nightmare Before Christmas recreates that nostalgia in a community (or, at the very least, in a character) that has no idea what actually drives the sense of longing. Jack Skellington feels the nostalgia for Christmas without even realizing what Christmas is, in a way mirroring every adolescent and adult struggling with Christmas feelings in the wake of learning there is no Santa Claus (spoiler alert?). Nightmare houses this nostalgia in characters that are distinctly relatable, even though they're technically monsters, and a series of haunting songs that really never leave you"”made all the better by sterling animation, witty dialogue, and an adorable ghost dog.

Tomorrow on RTBN 25 Days of Christmas

Jordan looks in on an all-time classic with A Charlie Brown Christmas
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