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The Best "Christmas Adjacent" Movies That Aren't About Christmas

Updated December 2, 2020 1.1k votes 245 voters 8.7k views13 items

List RulesVote up the non-Christmas movies that put you in the holiday spirit.

The holiday season means its time to return to some of the best Christmas movies of all time, including go-tos like Christmas Vacation, Elf, and Love Actually. But what about non-Christmas movies to watch this holiday? Films like The Apartment, Trading Places, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang are some of the best Christmas-adjacent movies, even if their plots aren't exactly all tinsel and cheer (Gremlins is definitely more of a scary Christmas movie).

Like long-established Christmas classics, many of the best non-traditional Christmas movies are about families coming together, involve romance, and follow characters that learn valuable lessons in the spirit of the season. Why aren’t they considered part of the holiday movie canon? Maybe they’ve just yet to find their role. Every year, for instance, fans debate whether Die Hard is a Christmas action movie or not (perhaps it’s the “Yippee-ki-yay” line that turns off some people from associating this film with a nominally religious holiday).

So if you're tired of watching Kevin McCallister dupe Harry and Marv in his house of horrors for the upteenth time in Home Alone, you may want to pop in or stream these greatest holiday movies that aren't about Christmas.

  • Video: YouTube

    This movie is like an extended holiday episode of Mad Men. Jack Lemmon plays a business executive named C.C. Baxter who lets his boss use his apartment for extramarital affairs. Things get complicated when Lemmon's character falls for one of those women (Shirley MacLaine). The whole film is set around the Christmas holiday, which adds to Baxter's loneliness and sadness. While everyone is celebrating and has someone to celebrate Christmas with, he doesn't. The film culminates in a New Year's Eve run-through-the-streets moment to rival Billy Crystal's in When Harry Met Sally.

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      This might be one of your mom's favorite non-Christmas movies to watch this holiday. It involves one amnesiac's (Geena Davis) realization that her life as a homemaker is really a lie. In her previous life, she was an assassin. Of course, she makes this discovery during the Christmas season, when her the pressure is really turned up on her personal life.

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        Can men and women ever be just friends? Can this film ever be considered one of the greatest holiday movies not about Christmas? While the film spans nearly a decade, the most important moments take place during the holiday season. First, Billy Crystal's Harry helps Meg Ryan's Sally as she's hauling in her Christmas tree. Then, the climax involves Harry running to Sally on New Year's Eve to pledge his love to her. What a way to start the new year off right.

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          Jingle All The Way had Arnold Schwarzenegger going to any means to secure a special toy for his son, but imagine if he had just robbed a toy store instead. That's actually how Shane Black's Kiss Kiss Bang Bang opens: with Robert Downey Jr.'s character robbing the store for a toy for his kid (as well as for the money). This film quickly turns into a murder mystery, and features holiday trappings like Santa suits, "Sleigh Ride," and even the less conventional holiday tune "Santa Called Me a Ho."

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