5 Best Alternative Christmas Movies

Bad Santa

A sub-genre of alternative Christmas films has spawned over several decades. Festive themes take a backseat, serving as the backdrop rather than as the primary plot device. These are movies that can be enjoyed almost as much in July as in December; it just so happens that by proxy of being set during the Christmas period, the film may better immerse the viewer during the holidays.

Here are our top five picks for movies that fit this category.


5. The Night Before

The most recent entry on this list, The Night Before follows Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) on their last Christmas Eve of drunken shenanigans while trying to locate the elusive Nutcracka Ball. This one’s for fans of Pineapple Express-style comedies and the odd cameo. There are also several subtle references to more traditional Christmas tales to look out for.


4. Bad Santa

Can I fix you a sandwich? This entry goes against the grain by mentioning Santa in the title. But fear not, for this movie brings festive cheer in a very non-traditional manner. Billy Bob Thornton plays a mall santa who, along with his elf partner, rob a different mall each year. His alcoholism reaches its peak however, while the strange boy he befriends might just lead him to see the light.


3. Home Alone

The film where the kid slaps his cheeks in an expression of shock and fright. The reason: Kevin’s (Macaulay Culkin) parents have taken his million-odd siblings on holiday for Christmas and forgotten him. Our young hero believes that his Christmas wish to be left alone has come true and starts having fun, before a couple of criminals try robbing his home, leading to an array of antics of the cartoon violent variety.


2. Gremlins

Don’t expose them to bright light or get them wet, and whatever you do, don’t feed them after midnight! This film perfectly captures small-town America, utlising the same Courthouse Square set at Back To The Future. It’s also extremely relevant for those who enjoyed this year’s Stranger Things season 2 on Netflix, as Dustin’s storyline with D’Artagnan was most certainly based on this movie.


1. Die Hard

‘It’s not Christmas until I see Hans Gruber fall off Nakatomi Plaza,’ reads a popular meme. Bruce Willis’s best film? Probably. He’s John McClane, a cop from New York and he’s in LA, where his estranged wife has recently moved. She’s at her work Christmas do and things get out of hand when a German Professor Snape leads a bunch of terrorists to hijack the building. Yippee ki-yay and Merry Christmas!

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