WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for The Nightmare Before Christmas
For Christmas last year, I wrote an article all about why I loved The Nightmare Before Christmas – my go-to Christmas movie for the last several years. While I covered pretty much every element as to why I love it so much, I figured I’d go into a little bit more detail regarding one of my favourite scenes from the movie – main character Jack Skellington discovering Christmas Town AKA the “What’s This?” musical number.
“What’s This?” is possibly my favourite song in the entire movie; I find myself listening to it almost on loop around December, and all because it helps put me in the Christmas spirit. But while the song itself is amazing on its own, the scene it plays in is a joy to watch.
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re an adult or, at the very least, have experienced plenty of Christmas’ yourself. As much as I love the holiday, it’s understandable why some people don’t get as excited for it. Not only are there several issues with the season (especially if you’re an adult), doing it year after year can become somewhat repetitive; the magic does begin to wear off for some people.
And that’s what makes The Nightmare Before Christmas a great movie to watch around this time because we get to see Jack, someone who’s only known Halloween his whole life, discover the existence of Christmas. It’s a sensation that only a few of us can probably remember but I feel that witnessing Jack’s own first-hand experience of it can help reinvigorate that feeling, because Jack reacts to Christmas how anybody probably would.
From the moment he arrives in Christmas Town, Jack just has the biggest grin on his face (or skull?). He reacts to everything with wonder and excitement. He’s confused, yes, but in the good way. He doesn’t know what he’s looking at but there’s just something about it all that he finds enchanting; he wants to learn and understand what it all means. He very much acts like a little kid during the whole thing; constantly asking questions, grabbing snow and the like just to get a good look at it.
It’s a testament to the animation that Jack looks as expressive as he does considering he has no eyes. He’s just so happy to be there, especially considering he was at a pretty low point before arriving, having grown disillusioned and bored of Halloween. Seeing him leaping around with such whimsy and joy just makes me feel the same, as if I’m discovering Christmas for the first time along with him.
I’ve always tried to be optimistic about Christmas; I always try to be excited for it because it’s such a special time of year – I don’t want to ever get to a point in my life where I dread its arrival. This scene (as well as the whole movie, really) helps me keep that spirit alive. It reminds me of how magical the holiday can be, as well as that there are people who are still experiencing it for the first time every year.