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Spice Up The Season With These 3 Non-Traditional Holiday Films!

Written by Mike Dolzer. Published: December 16 2023
(Photo: 20th Century Studios)


This may make me sound kind of Scrooge-y, but I get really tired of seeing the same holiday films year after year. There’s only so many times I can watch "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" before I wish I was struck unconscious by Santa’s sleigh as well. I’m not saying that holiday films are bad, but they get a little mundane after being viewed annually, and usually have similar sappy endings or cliché tropes.


To counter the saccharine films adorning our TV screens and streaming websites, here is a small handful of Christmas movies that are famous for being good movies, but aren’t necessarily known for their Yuletide ties!


1.Edward Scissorhands(1990)

This story is a deliciously dark romance tale between the outcast Edward Scissorhands (Johnny Depp), who does in fact have scissors for hands, and Kim (Winona Ryder), the teenage daughter of the Avon saleswoman who takes Edward in. While many may think this is a Halloween film at first glance, this cult classic is actually a Christmas film because it’s framed by the elderly Kim reliving her experiences with her sharp-handed suitor while telling her granddaughter about where snow comes from. For those who don’t think this is good enough justification for the film to be a Christmas movie, parts of the move also take place around the holidays. So there. Stream on Max.


2. Gremlins (1984)

From Steven SpielbergGremlins is a film about a young man with a seemingly great life whose parents give him a mogwai for Christmas (making this a holiday movie). He doesn’t take the rules about their care and feeding as seriously as he should, and soon it’s a veritable s***show of tiny monsters terrorizing the town. While Edward Scissorhands is a masterful blend of darkness and romance, Gremlins is the grandaddy of hilarious horror holiday films. Because nothing says Christmas like homicidal fuzzballs! Stream on Max.


3.Die Hard(1988)

Die Hard is one of the most iconic action movies in Hollywood history, but not many consider it a Christmas classic. The film takes place around the holidays and is sparked by John McClane (Bruce Willis) going to see his estranged wife and family for Christmas when his wife's high-rise office building is taken over by terrorists. While this film may not be appropriate for the whole family, for those of you who have had it “up to here” with your in-laws visiting for the season, watching Bruce Willis knock the mess out of some bad guys may just be the cinema therapy you need. Rent on Prime Video, YouTube, and Apple TV.


These 3 films may not ring with Christmas cheer, but they’re surely different enough to break up your marathon viewing of A Christmas Story!