The crowded malls, the decorations, the holiday specials on TV … it IS a wonderful time of year, but sometimes all that Christmas cheer can be a bit much.
If you’re in the mood for movie-watching during the holiday season but feel a bit worn out on Santa and reindeer, reach for one of these classic “non-Christmas” Christmas movies. Sure, they take place during Christmas and you’ll probably see a random tree or bauble, but they’re far from the traditional holiday movies. And good news; there are a lot of action titles in the list to balance out the sweetness of those holiday treats.
Without any further ado and in no particular order, here are the best non-Christmas Christmas movies.
1. Die Hard 1 & 2
Yes. Not one, but TWO Die Hard movies are set at Christmas time. These movies are classics all year ’round, but the holidays are a great excuse to watch them again. Ideally back-to-back … which is why we’re making them one entry on this list instead of two.
2. Reindeer Games
An ex-con assumes his cellmate’s identity and is thus pulled back into a life of crime. Plus two of the main characters’ names hint at the holiday connection: Rudy (Rudolph) and Nick (St. Nick).
3. Edward Scissorhands
A great non-traditional holiday movie if you’re into the Tim Burton “creepy-but-somehow-sweet” kinda thing.
4. Lethal Weapon
Smashing a car through a window and into a Christmas tree? Yes please!
5. Trading Places
If you long for the days of SNL yore, this ’80s comedy starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy will hit the spot.
6. Batman Returns
Superheros don’t get a vacation from fighting evil – even during the Christmas season. At least he’s fighting a penguin.
7. Rambo: First Blood
A good antidote to stuffy Christmas parties and sweet Christmas specials, the first movie in the Rambo collection takes place during the holiday season. But let’s just say Rambo won’t be on Santa’s “nice” list.
8. Ghostbusters II
Any excuse to watch a Ghostbusters movie is a good excuse. The fact that Ghostbusters II takes place during the holiday season and culminates on New Years Eve makes it a great choice.
Perhaps the most Christmas-themed of the movies on our list, it’s still untraditional as Christmas movies go. And who doesn’t love some grumpy Bill Murray?
10. Rocky IV
How many Rocky movies are there now? One was bound to take place over the holidays.
11. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
This updated Hollywood whodunit is a comedic film noir that happens to take place at Christmas time – and starts with the main character attempting to rob a toy store.
12. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
While this particular Harry Potter film has an obvious holiday backdrop, why don’t you go ahead and re-watch all the movies again? Make it an annual thing.
13. American Psycho
It turns out you can meet interesting people at a Christmas party. Including an investment banker who moonlights as a serial killer.
14. L.A. Confidential
A bloody Christmas Eve brawl sets a series of events into motion in this neo-noir detective classic, which has a more-than-respectable 99% rating on RottenTomatoes.com.
OK yes, this movie heavily revolves around Christmas, but not in a traditional way. What could possibly go wrong in buying an unknown creature from a mysterious and foreboding shopkeeper?
16. The Lady and the Tramp
The classic Disney toon that taught us all that spaghetti and meatballs are the key to romance. This one’s a good movie to put on for the kids while you’re trying to get some last-minute gift wrapping done.
17. Mean Girls
Your teens may roll their eyes at every other movie on this list, but that’s OK. They can watch Mean Girls while you have a Die Hard marathon.
18. Catch Me if You Can
Last but not least, this crime caper set in the 1960’s seems to be the most involved – yet uninvolved – in the Christmas holiday. Everything in the film seems to happen on Christmas (several of them throughout the film). Is it a coincidence or something significant?
Well, it looks like it’s time for you to grab some popcorn or Christmas cookies and settle in for the next month. If you find your movie-watching setup is a little bleak, who ya gonna call?
Ghostbusters! Suess Electronics!