What is a non-Christmas Christmas movie, you ask? I’m happy to explain. It’s a story that takes place over the holiday season, but isn’t a Christmas film. The plot isn’t about Santa, reindeer, snowmen, elves, Scroogey Grinches, or magical stockings. Christmas might help the plot along, but these movies stake their tent in the camp of another genre. Savvy? We begin.
Note: most of these movies are DECADES old. So there might be a few spoilers. We’re going to assume you’ve seen most of these. Consider this a Christmas warning, just in case.
Die Hard: This is the main one, the real biggie of non-Christmas Christmas films. Ask around about people’s favorite Christmas movies and someone will happily shout DIE HARD!
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I’m one of those people. This is in the best feel-good holiday tradition that just happens to have a high body count. Bruce Willis was on top of his game, as the only man to stop the Grinch — I mean Gruber — from stealing Christmas. It’s such a successful outing that even Die Hard 2 is set over Christmas (this time it’s “Die Hard in an airport”).
Here are two good scenes in the holiday spirit:
Remember kids, it’s not Christmas until Hans Gruber falls off the Nakatomi building.
Lethal Weapon: This movie is just as great as Die Hard, and just as Christmasy. It slips into the number two spot only because Die Hard is a bit more iconic. Bruce Willis is more fun than Mel Gibson, and Alan Rickman (RIP) can do anything. ANYTHING. He’s Snape, ya’ll. Okay, now I’m sad.
Lethal Weapon is the start of a run of Shane Black films that take place over the Christmas holiday season. It’s not a coincidence. He’s even quoted on it, saying, “Christmas represents a little stutter in the march of days, a hush in which we have a chance to assess and retrospect our lives. I tend to think also that it just informs as a backdrop.”
Here’s the heartwarming holiday end scene:
Iron Man 3: I have trouble remembering which plot is which between Iron Man 2 and 3. The second is the one with Mickey Rourke and the magical whips and the fake Mandarin. The third…um: it has a little boy he befriends (way before he mentors Peter Parker. Sniff), and the many, many Iron Man Mark suits flying around a high-rise construction zone. (I should turn in my geek card, or at least see this again.) Also Tony Stark suffers from PTSD. How much more Christmasy can this be?
I’m going to let this video tell us why Iron Man 3 is a Christmas movie:
Oh, and it’s a Shane Black film.
The Long Kiss Goodnight: The actual plot: a woman who has rebuilt her life after getting amnesia begins to recover her memories, when trouble from her past finds her again. It takes place over Christmas. There’s a Christmas party, Christmas parade, etc. And yes, this too is a Shane Black film.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang: Oh, hello there Shane Black. Nice of you to drop in again. Obsessed much? 🙂
Gremlins: Man, is this ever a strange film. I don’t even know how to describe it, except to firmly and authoritatively tell you to NOT feed your Mogwai after midnight, and never give him water. This movie also taught me what happens when you put an animal in the microwave. It’s set in someone’s nice suburban home, decked out for the holidays. This is kind of a feel-good, feel-weird film.
These Gremlins know how to party on Christmas Eve:
Trading Places: I just saw this. Like, last night. I can’t believe I missed it the first time — it’s corny but excellent, and I laughed a whole lot. I mean, really? The plot of rich people betting on who’s a criminal and who’s a business man?You have to sit back and let the laughs roll in. And speaking of which, this all happens over a few weeks over the Christmas season. The biggest laughs come from Dan Aykroyd, posing as the filthiest, creepiest Santa imaginable, stealing food at a Christmas gala. He hides a whole salmon under his dingy gray beard. It doesn’t get better than this.
I love this whole segment:
Mean Girls: This one requires a bit of fudging, since it takes place over the course of a whole school year. But the Christmas segment is fun and memorable: the Plastics don sexy Santa dresses and sing Jingle Bell Rock. It’s so fetch. You know, I’m going to just give you a link so you can watch it:
There you have it. I know there’s a lot more, like Edward Scissorhands and possibly Batman Returns. Let me know your favorite and what I missed in the comments below. Do you think these qualify as Christmas movies?
I’ll be cuddling onto the couch watching Die Hard and Lethal Weapon for my Christmas Eve double feature. It’s all about tradition. 😉
— RunPee (@RunPee) December 18, 2018
Want to know the favorite Christmas Movies of the members of the RunPee Family? Read about it here, and Happy Holidays from ours to yours. <3
Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)