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.
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!
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.
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:
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 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.
Harry (Robert Downey Jr) goes from scumbag to saint… sort of. He goes from stealing from people to helping them, which is hardly a road to Damascus, so I think the article is saying more about Christmas in LA than Christmas per se.
Oh, hello there, Director Shane Black. Nice of you to drop in again. Obsessed with Christmas much? 🙂
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.
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:
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.
The Princess Bride (And The Deadpool Before Christmas):
The framing story of the sick grandson, whose grandpa reads The Princess Bride to him, is set in a bedroom decorated for Christmas. This might be a bit of a reach as for even qualifying as a Non-Christmas Chrismas film, but as nothing in a movie set is an accident, the director still decided to set the modern day elements over the holidays. This was made more clear when Deadpool 2’s pg-13 version The Deadpool Before Christmas uses the same framing device — down to the tiniest details, and made gave us Deadpool as Santa. Using, of course, a grown-up Fred Savage to reprise the grandson role. It’s a hoot. If you like Deadpool and The Princess Bride, this is a must-see.
This is, to my mind, the best of the Rambo films and it is set at Christmas. The holiday plays absolutely no part in the film and it could take part at any time of the year but there are trees and decorations on show. Maybe the festive season is the reason the body count is low…actually, just one guy who you’re not sorry to see going. Another interesting thing is, I always imagine what it’d be like if Dustin Hoffman had got the part; he was being considered for 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?
— RunPee (movie app/film hub) (@RunPee) December 18, 2018
Last year we ran a poll of “Best Non-Christmas #Christmas” films. #DieHard won handily. But since we could only leave 4 poll options on Twitter, we thought we’d finish the list w other choices for this year. So please pick a NCC movie from these:#diehardisachristmasmovie
— RunPee (movie app/film hub) (@RunPee) December 26, 2019
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
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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.)