Entertainment
243 voters

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

Updated December 2, 2020 1.2k votes 243 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.

Photo:
  • Video: YouTube

    The Christmastime setting isn't integral to Die Hard's success. In fact, you could probably place the terrorist-hostage plot during anytime of the year and it would still work. But the holiday definitely elevates the crisis. Not only is John McClane (Bruce Willis) trying to save the day, but he's trying to make sure everyone gets home to open their presents on Christmas morning.

    • Actors: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Robert Davi, Kym Malin
    • Released: 1988
    • Directed by: John McTiernan
    127
    25
    Love this movie?

    More Die Hard 

    'Die Hard' Ripoffs, Ranked By How Hard They Die#26 of 370 The Best Movies Based On Books#69 of 549 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

  • Video: YouTube

    Trading Places has kind of the perfect theme for a holiday film. The plot revolves around the switching of two people's places in society (hence the title). Dan Aykroyd's well-educated businessman Winthorpe trades places with Eddie Murphy's street-smart hustler Valentine and hilarity ensues. And isn't being thankful for what you have (or had) and helping those who don't have a lot a lesson in line with the spirit of Christmas?

    • Actors: Eddie Murphy, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dan Aykroyd, Al Franken, Jim Belushi
    • Released: 1983
    • Directed by: John Landis
    110
    25
    Love this movie?

    More Trading Places 

    #218 of 665 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked#134 of 1,506 The Most Rewatchable Movies#9 of 43 30+ Very Preppy Movies with the Preppiest Characters

  • Video: YouTube

    Tim Burton may as well have called this one A Batman Christmas, as the holidays are all throughout this superhero flick. Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) makes a speech in front of a Christmas tree; Batman (Michael Keaton) warns Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) how deadly mistletoe can be. Catwoman even has a tiny Christmas tree in her apartment that you can spot as she's smashing everything with a pan. Gotham City is like a snow globe, with beautiful snow falling as the Bat signal lights up the sky. Batman Returns is one superhero genre film that satisfies fanboys and holiday nuts alike.

    • Actors: Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Danny DeVito, Michael Keaton, Paul Reubens
    • Released: 1992
    • Directed by: Tim Burton
    116
    32
    Love this movie?

    More Batman Returns 

    The Incredible True Story Of How Marlon Wayans Was Almost Robin In 'Batman Returns'#31 of 50 The 50 Highest Grossing '90s Movies, Ranked#61 of 178 The Greatest Comic Book Movies Of All Time

  • 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.

    • Actors: Shirley MacLaine, Jack Lemmon, Fred MacMurray, David White, Edie Adams
    • Released: 1960
    • Directed by: Billy Wilder
    66
    27
    Love this movie?

    More The Apartment 

    #47 of 1,184 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever#121 of 126 The Greatest Date Movies Of All Time#39 of 92 The Very Best Oscar-Winning Movies For Best Picture