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In The Nightmare Before Christmas, a cop says these words to the town citizens:

it looks like Christmas will have to be canceled this year.

How can a festival be canceled?

I didn't understand the cop's words here.

  • You only focus on part of what he says: "There's still no sign of Santa Claus. Although the impostor has been shot down, it looks like Xmas will have to be canceled this year." To them, no Santa = no Christmas. – BCdotWEB Jan 28 '17 at 18:45
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It's just an expression.

What,in the modern times, makes christmas christmas? Gifts, trees and fire, hot chocolate... these kinds of things. Same about easter, that has chocolate eggs, and so on, and so on. The cop says it's gonna have to be cancelled because nothing of what makes christmas christmas is happening, due to the terror Jack is putting christmas into.

And adding:

In The NIghtmware Before Christmas there are lands of hollydays, which for the people inside that land, the holyday in question is work. "A presentation" night. If they see that way, might as well be that other people do as well, and then, "chistmas was cancelled", because the christmas beings couldn't do their job.

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Of course the Christmas period can't be cancelled but this expression is usually said in times when the situation is dire or awful.

It basically means that the group had been planning on celebrating Christmas but it is going have to be postponed or cancelled because of the situation they are in.

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