Hold Up: Is ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ a Halloween or Christmas Movie?

Usually, it’s pretty easy to tell which holiday a movie is celebrating. First of all, it generally takes place during said holiday, and the characters usually celebrate or at least mention said holiday during the movie. Sure, there are exceptions to this rule, but the debate is usually whether or not the movie in question qualifies as a holiday movie at all.

Take Iron Man 3, for example. The 2013 Marvel classic takes place around Christmastime as the film’s resident hero Robert Downey Jr. goes through a bit of an identity crisis surrounding the holiday. There’s holiday decor and lots of hot chocolate (and Disney+ even caused a significant uproar when it added it to the Christmas category), but few actually consider the movie a Christmas movie, mainly because there are significantly more villain fights, dangerous explosions, and avenger deaths than any yuletide cheer. Unless that’s a typical Christmas at your house, we’ll go ahead and say that that’s not exactly in the holiday spirit.

When it comes to debatable holiday movies, however, there is one film that’s in a category all its own: The Nightmare Before Christmas. Why? Well, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who has seen it and doesn’t believe that the stop-motion classic isn’t a holiday movie. But there remains a great deal of debate among fans about which holiday it celebrates: Christmas or Halloween? This is due to the film’s plot, which revolves around Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town and patron spirit of Halloween, who decides he’s fed up with the year-round All Hallow’s Eve life and hatches a scheme to kidnap Santa Claus and take over Christmas.

It’s a debate that’s divided people IRL and on Twitter for years now:

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