UCDSU To Hold Consultative Referendum to Settle the ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ Debate

Image Credit: The Walt Disney Company via Wikimedia Commons

UCDSU will hold a historical consultative referendum to finally settle one of the most contentious cultural debates: when it is most appropriate to watch Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas

It’s that time of the year again. Christmas lovers have started to be side-eyed by those who hate festive shenanigans in a cultural opposition that will last until early January at least. However, “Christamas spirit” v. “Grinch mode” is not the only conflict that arises come November. Indeed, as the last week of October arrives, people start posing the million euro question: is Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas a Halloween or Christmas film? The debate this year has been particularly contentious in UCD, with screaming matches that echoed all the way to Smurfit and people threatened to be fed to the swans in the main lake. Relationships within the University Observer  have also gotten tense around the topic: whilst the Editor and Deputy refused to publicly share their positions on the matter, the rest of the editorial team has been particularly vocal on their stance - even threatening disruption to the production cycle. 

The gravity of the situation is made even more evident by the prompt intervention of UCDSU. The union surprised the student body by calling for a consultative referendum to settle the debate. Council was taken aback by the sudden proposal, but later approved unanimously to hold the vote - although voting had to happen twice since the first results were invalid after members of the general public and University press also voted. This unprecedented occurrence during council, which is notoriously soporific, testifies to the urgency of the matter for the UCD population. 

Voting will take place between 27th November and 1st December, both online and in person. Seeing the failure to reach quorum on last year’s consultative referendum, UCDSU decided to place in-person ballots in multiple points around Belfield campus to ensure a higher turnout. Although the questions have not been made public yet, a Harpy source can confirm that the students will be asked to answer two, which are rather straightforward: students will be simply asked to answer “Yes” or “No” to which occasion they think is most appropriate to watch the film.

Despite the short-term rollout of this referendum, UCD students were highly responsive and set up full-fledged campaigns to influence the public on how to vote in the referendum. For instance, the “certified banger” that is ‘This is Halloween’ is the main argument brought forward by those considering the film a spooky classic. On their part, those on the Christmas side of the debate reached out to UCD’s Literary & Historical Society to organise a debate to fully convince UCD students of their position, but their request was allegedly denied. As an alternative, a flash mob to ‘What’s This?’, which would also include artificial snow, is in planning stages with UCD Estates. 

In the lead up to the referendum, UCDSU will hold multiple screenings of the film to help students reach a definitive conclusion before showing up to the ballot. The Harpy also formed an unlikely alliance with its historical rival, The Turbine, to provide students with the most up-to-date information about the referendum. Whilst it is quite early to predict an outcome, an Harpy source predicts that the voting will likely result in a disappointing stalemate.