Eight Of The Best Alternative Christmas Movies

20th Century Fox

Christmas time is the most wonderful time of the year and a lot of festive movies have taken that idea and run with it.

And with all that good cheer to enjoy, when you’re sat around the fireplace in December, there’s nothing better than cracking on a classic Christmas film to get into the spirit of things.

However, sometimes you want something a bit more unorthodox and there’s a whole heap of great holiday movies which you probably don’t even associate with Christmas.

So we thought we’d give you some alternative ideas for what to stick on Netflix as you sit around bored in your Christmas onesie this month. We’re nice like that.

Warner Bros

As a disclaimer, movies like It’s A Wonderful Life, Bad Santa and Home Alone are excluded as, although they definitely take an alternative view of the whole “’tis the season to be jolly” thing, they’re also clearly films based around Christmas.

Also, no movies which actually have “Christmas” in the title, so that means that outsider festive treats like The Muppet Christmas Carol or The Nightmare Before Christmas are out of the running too. Sorry.

For this list, we’re looking at films which either have Christmas in the background of the action, or some which aren’t even about the winter festival at all, they just put us in the festive spirit (mainly because they involve snow and love).

Here’s eight great examples of alternative Christmas movies with a very different take on the holiday season…

Die Hard

Probably the classic alternative Christmas story. An off duty policeman accidentally gets caught up in the action when criminals perform a heist on a Los Angeles skyscraper. For no particular reason, the movie is set on Christmas Eve, and nothing says festive spirit quite like Bruce Willis crawling through broken glass and shooting bad guys. Because how dare those terrorists get between John McClane, his family and some roast turkey.

Lethal Weapon

Not only is it the definitive buddy cop movie, there’s also that famous scene in a Christmas market. Unless you’re getting too old for this shit, you’ve got to love a snowy cocaine deal in front of a background of Christmas trees as a prelude to a bouffant haired Mel Gibson getting involved in an epic winter shootout with the criminals.


We’ve all had some awful Christmas gifts in our time but probably nothing quite as bad as a cute flurry creature which turns into an evil, killer monster if you accidentally get him wet or feed him after midnight. Of course, that’s exactly what happens here, leading to one of the best comedy horror movies ever made. It’s an absolute killer assault on the commercialisation of Christmas but, ironically, everyone wanted a Mogwai after seeing it.


Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last two years, you’ve probably heard of this one. Or, at least, you’ll have endured having ‘Let It Go’ stuck in your head for days on end, in an incessant loop. The modern Disney classic isn’t actually set over Christmas at all, but with all that snowy weather, the catchy songs and the feel-good story, we challenge you not to crack this one out on Christmas Day and sing along to ‘Do You Wanna Build A Snowman?’ Plus there’s a talking snowman and a carrot loving reindeer involved – what’s not to like?

Batman Returns

Not only was there life before Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, there was also a Batman movie set over Xmas, believe it or not. At the time, Tim Burton’s dark, twisted take on the Caped Crusader was probably the best ever seen on the big screen. Set in a wintery, snowy Gotham City, this was a very dark Christmas indeed, with Danny DeVito in his awesome turn as the Penguin out to ruin the holiday season for everyone. Oh, and there’s also Michelle Pfeiffer wearing a tight leather outfit as Catwoman. Enjoy!

Cool Runnings

Again, no relation to Christmas at all in this one, but if you’re not cracking this one out over the holiday season, we’re very disappointed in you. Based on the true story of Jamaica’s first ever Bobsleigh team in the 1988 Winter Olympics, this one is as about as feel-good as it gets, with an overwhelmingly uplifting tone, lots of hijinks and a lucky egg. Plus, we can all sympathise with how badly these guys deal with the cold.

Trading Places

A street hustler, an arrogant yuppie and a prostitute don’t sound like the perfect recipe for a great Christmas story, but this one has a festive setting and an underlying Xmas message. With its festive fable of money not being everything and love and family being the true important gifts, this one’s more Christmas-y than you might expect. Plus, there’s a depressed, drunk, thieving Santa for good measure.

American Psycho

Well we did say alternative! Who needs Christmas cheer when you can have Christian Bale as a wealthy investment banker being a thoroughly awful human being and murderous maniac? Sure, his idea of a perfect Xmas gift might be buying fake boobs for his girlfriend, but there’s also that very famous Christmas party scene, featuring some mistletoe, reindeer antlers, Santa hats, and a pot bellied pig. Plus, he murders someone with an axe after the festivities are over.

Happy holidays everyone!