The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina undoubtedly screams Halloween, but… the holidays?
You might not expect it — given that we literally saw Sabrina slit the throat of a magical peer as part of a spell to bring Harvey’s brother back from the dead during the show’s premiere season, and let’s not forget the moment we saw her coven eat a fellow witch as part of a ritual sacrifice! — but the special holiday episode, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: A Midwinter’s Tale, is actually (read: surprisingly) really festive.
Now, that’s not to say the Spellmans are decking the halls, building snowmen, going ice skating, or anything like that; Netflix describes the holiday special as being about “séances, evil Santas, spellcasting, and of course, Sabrina” after all. But, A Midwinter’s Tale — which is available on Netflix now and follows the family during the Winter Solstice, when the veil between the living and dead is thinnest (spooky!) — has numerous nods to the holiday season. (And warning: some seasonal spoilers lie ahead!)
Whaddya know, it’s Harvey with a bunch of festive lights! He sure looks blue, but here’s hoping this decor brightens up his day.
Lookie here, it’s Susie as one of Santa’s elves. We feel like we’ve been transported to the North Pole!
Oh hey, Hilda, don’t fear the spirits — just get your holiday baking on, girl!
We also see kids (including a young Sabrina and Susie!) getting their photo taken with Santa, and the Spellmans hanging around the yule log that’s lighting up their fireplace. Not to mention, plenty of holiday tunes play throughout — “(There’s No Place Like) Home for the Holidays,” “Do You See What I See?,” and “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” to name a few.
And that just about has me ready to chug some enchanting eggnog and throw on my best ugly sweater! But let’s not go too far and call the episode full-blown merry and bright, because there are no shortage of chills — like, audibly gasp while watching at work and causing your co-workers to wonder WTF is going on with you kind of chills.
Namely, Susie’s dream job of working as an elf at Santa’s workshop becomes a nightmare when the big man in red is revealed to be a demon in disguise who’s angling to turn Susie into a doll. (Needless to say, this Santa is getting coal in its stocking this year!). And as for the Spellman yule log tradition, that serves a bigger purpose than spreading holiday cheer; it’s actually meant to protect the family from spirits climbing down the chimney during the Winter Solstice. And no surprise, the spirits are APLENTY, infiltrating the Spellman Mortuary left and right.
Like when Sabrina hosts a séance during this especially, ahem, spirited time of year to help her late mother, Diana, get out of limbo — and succeeds in making contact. And how, thinking it’d be to her benefit, Miss Wardwell extinguishes the Spellman’s yule log by way of a magical gingerbread house, allowing yule lads — or, child spirits from the mountain who are known for causing trouble — to enter. Some of the mischief they cause? They steal Father Blackwood’s baby daughter, whom Zelda has taken in to raise, and put her in a heating oven. She survives, thankfully, but that doesn’t exactly scream “Merry, Merry!” now does it?
NO IT DOES NOT, and while I could certainly do without threats on an infant’s life, part of what’s exciting about A Midwinter’s Tale is seeing how scary and merry merge into one; think of it like The Nightmare Before Christmas, but way creepier. All that in mind, how festive is the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina holiday special REALLY, you ask? Festive enough to add it to the holiday rotation for sure — along with other new favorites like The Princess Switch and A Legendary Christmas with John and Chrissy — even if some of it is so terrifying you have to watch it through your fingers.
With that, Happy Solstice, readers. “Satan bless us, everyone.”