We all love a good Christmas film.
Home Alone, Love Actually, Elf, The Grinch. They’re full of joy and make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But what about the ones that don’t necessarily fulfil the holly jolly quota? Yes, we all have a select few non-Christmas Christmas films that we turn to at this time of year, and I’ve listed a few of the best below.
So, what makes a non-Christmas Christmas film? For some, it’s a film that just so happens to be set over the holidays, but doesn’t rely on it to push the narrative forward. For others, it’s a story that makes you feel warm and cosy without taking place over the festive period and fills the yuletide feel-good quota.
What else? Well, they have to have universal appeal, of course. By that I mean there needs to be something in there for everybody, old or young, no matter what their interest or tastes are. On top of that, they need to be easy to watch, incredibly quotable, feature a Hollywood star or two, and, above all, have the kind of storyline you don’t mind watching for the gazillionth time. It’s just frickin tradition guys, get involved.
So here’s your rundown of some of the greatest non-Christmas Christmas films to watch over the holidays. You never know, you may come across a new festive tradition with one of these picks.
1 'Die Hard' 20th Century Fox/Kobal/Shutterstock
For a movie that takes place on Christmas Eve during a Christmas office party, it’s pretty hard to contend that
Die Hard isn’t a Christmas film. But for some, including its star Bruce Willis, it’s a just a summer blockbuster with festive undertones.
Whatever your stance,
Die Hard is one of the most popular non-Christmas Christmas films out there, and is the perfect antidote to any family arguments that may arise over the big day. Watching Willis’ John McLane off bad guys, save the good guys, and still look handsome in a vest while covered in sweat and blood will put the whole family on the edge of their seats. Add to that Willis’ ability to maintain a constant flow of witty one liners and, hey presto, you have yourself a timeless classic. Special props for the much-loved Alan Rickman’s starring role as a German terrorist ringleader Hans Gruber.
NOW TV. 2 'Harry Potter'
Christmas time at Hogwarts
looks like the most sumptuous and luxurious time. Apart from the decorations, the food on offer is the stuff of dreams. And, despite the festivities making up only a sliver of each film — they're a merry must during your winter break. Best served alongside an endless box of chocolates (frogs or otherwise).
NOW TV. 3 'Bridget Jones' Diary' Moviestore Collection/Shutterstock
I don’t mean to give credit where it might not be due, but don’t you think the resurgence of the Christmas jumper trend came conveniently around the time the first of this franchise became an international hit? And who could forget
Mark Darcy and Daniel Cleaver kicking off the new year with a brawl vying for Bridget’s love? A romcom with a heck of a lot of heart and ideal for all of us who feel a bit Bridget at times.
NOW TV. 4 'Frozen'
If you have any younger family members, odds are you’ve watched this
Frozen more times than you’d care to admit. Well, prepare for the second round because it’s got a readily available sequel. While the only Christmassy vibe it’s got going for it is the snow, you can’t argue with a good singalong and the first Disney princess who’s whole happiness doesn’t rely on meeting Mr Right.
Disney+. 5 'Jumanji' Moviestore Collection/Shutterstock
Jumanji, starring the much loved late Robin Williams, is arguably one of the most memorable films from a lot of our childhoods.
Two recently orphaned children knuckle down to play a board game that lay undiscovered in their aunt's house. That game, Jumanji, holds a supernatural secret. One that pulls the children into a dangerous and unpredictable adventure that sees them fighting for not only their own lives but those of the people they care most about.
Another film with very little Christmas-related content in it, but a great one to gather round with the whole fam.
Netflix. 6 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' Warfield/United Artists/Kobal/Shutterstock
What’s Christmas without a singalong? And one of the best loved of them all is of course
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Once you’ve finished trying to figure what accent Dick Van Dyke is going for, it’s hard not to join in with all that fanfare over a magical flying car with the whole fam around you.
Prime Video. 7 'When Harry Met Sally' Amazon / When Harry Met Sally
Everyone loves a good love story over the holidays, and while
When Harry Met Sally doesn’t revolve around the festive period it sure features a lot of it. Whether the eclectic couple are shopping for Christmas trees or pouring their hearts out over New Year’s, this is the sort of holiday romance to rival Love Actually.
Prime Video. 8 Little Women Columbia/Sony/Kobal/Shutterstock
With two of its biggest scenes taking place over Christmas, Greta Gerwig’s 2019 adaptation of
Little Women is quickly becoming a holiday must-see. From celebrating connections, family, and love the March girls share for each other is what Christmas is all about.
NOW TV. 9 'Mean Girls' Moviestore Collection/Shutterstock
One of the most iconic, quotable, and fetch films of the early noughties,
Mean Girls still brings the LOLs. No surprise there considering it's written by the brilliant Tina Fey.
While, that thigh slap in the
Jingle Bell Rock routine and Glen Coco getting two candy canes from Santa aside, it's not an entirely festive film, but it still warrants viewing every. single. year.
Prime Video. 10 'Batman Returns' Warner Bros/Dc Comics/Kobal/Shutterstock
Tim Burton knows how to make a Batman film and this particular slice was wintery, creepy, and of had Michelle Pfeiffer as Cat Woman. The most inspirational cat lady of them all.
What's not to love, am I right?
Amazon Prime 11 'Indiana Jones: Raiders Of The Lost Arc' Lucasfilm Ltd/Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock
Indiana Jones is the adventuring archaeologist hunk we kind of all wish we could be. Except I could do without all those snakes and the bad guys he’s forever dealing with. The first instalment of what became a huge franchise is set in 1936 and is full of all that adventure we’ve come to know and love. Perfect to watch with your grandparents, parents, and the next generation of sprogs too.
Prime Video. 12 Iron Man 3
The darkest part of the
Iron Man trilogy also happens to be set during Christmas, and features a hell of a lot of festive musts like snow, trees, lights, and knitted scarves. It also takes a lot of themes from other holiday favourites like A Christmas Caro l, with Marvel even describing Iron Man 3 as the comic book equivalent thanks to a ghost of Tony Stark’s past making appearance.
So pull up a pew, pour an enormous Baileys over ice, and lean into what Christmas is really about: entertainment.