by Shannon Lintott

While it is true that Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the classic Christmas movies like A Christmas Carol or The Grinch type movies, there are many fantastic Christmas themed movies that everyone can enjoy.

As December 25 approaches and Christmas songs begin playing in the mall, I have been thinking about what my favourite non-Christmas Christmas themed films are.  Sometimes you want to celebrate the holidays without actually having to watch the same five films over and over again. Whether you need a break from the classics or you are looking for a new holiday favourite, here are my top 15 “not so Christmas” Christmas movies (in no particular order):

Top 15 Not So Christmas Movies List

Top 15 Not-So-Christmas Movies

Love Actually (2003, Romantic Comedy)

This isn’t only one of my favourite of favourites Christmas themed films; it’s also one of my favourite all-around movies of all time. With a stellar cast and brilliant characters left, right and maybe all too close and centre, you really can’t let this movie slip by you. The writing is fantastic and everyone can relate to at least one story or one character in this movie, even the kids and even the man folk. I don’t really suggest this as a family film though as there is some slight nakedness and a few sexual slams (aka jokes) but I think it’s very PG-13 worthy. A great laugh and a great heart warmer for all! love actually

The Holiday (2006, Romantic Comedy)

That’s right, another romantic comedy! Who doesn’t feel a little more succumbed to rom coms this time of year? For me nothing makes me want to cuddle on the couch with a cup of tea more than 30 below freezing. Even if you are spared the harshness of winter, there is something about the holidays that makes your heart warm. One of those things may be this movie, The Holiday. If Kate Winslet and Jack Black don’t make you want to watch this already, how about being shocked by how much you will like Jude Law and Cameron Diaz.

I’m not usually a Jude fan but I love him in this role. He makes me grin like an idiot. A big, girly idiot. Jack is fantastic in this movie and really shows you a side of him that I am still stunned by every time I watch this movie. A little more couple-ie than Love Actually but I think the man will be pleased with Jack Black being involved. Once again, not so family-friendly but I’ll leave that to you.

the holiday

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (2005, Family/Fantasy)

Such an amazing story with generally good acting and the animals that steal the show (I love when they do that). Narnia is such an amazing family movie. Everyone loves something about these stories. There’s snow, there are polar bears, there’s good and evil and whatnot, but there’s also something very Christmas like about it all. Plus, Mr. Tumnus. Come on. That’s worth it right there. And there’s a lion. Brilliant. Not super scary but I’m not sure how younger kids would handle this movie. There are quite a bit of tears, some blood and fighting. Once again, I leave that to you.

the chronicles of narnia, best christmas movies

Babes in Toyland (1986, Family/Musical)

This movie is hilarious! It’s one of my all-time favourites. Keanu Reeves and Drew Barrymore when they were really young is amazing enough but overall it’s just a very entertaining movie. It’s got “written for television” all over it. Yet, it’s a quirky adventure flick and a good one to put on while decorating or baking. If all else fails at least it will take you back to those crazy 80s. Family-friendly for sure!

babes in toyland

Planes Trains and Automobiles (1987, Comedy)

A man is trying to get home for Thanksgiving and ends up with the worst travel partner ever. Nothing says the holidays or comedy quite like John Candy. Already you know it’s good. This is another classic John Candy film. So if that isn’t enough incentive: Steve Martin. End. It’s great! Not so family-friendly but it will guarantee to make you giggle.

planes trains and automobiles

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989, Family/Comedy)

I wasn’t sure if this fell along the same classic lines as The Grinch for anyone else so I thought I would put it in here. I love this movie. To me and many others, it is as classic to the holidays as any other Christmas flick but I know it’s sometimes forgotten. Don’t forget. It’s hilarious. It’s entertaining. It’s pretty family-friendly too in my books.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation


Die Hard (1988, Action)

How could I not put this one in here?  Not only is it one of the best action movies of all time but it’s Christmas themed! Win for everyone! I don’t have much else to say about it as I’m sure you’ve all seen it before but you can have some gunfights while still keeping the Christmas spirit alive and warm. Yippee-Ki-yay! I watched this when I was really young but there is some swearing here and there, nothing crazy though.

Die Hard, best movies to watch at christmas,

Lethal Weapon (1987, Action)

If Die Hard wasn’t enough action for you and you’re feeling traditional still why not continue your festivities towards this classic flick. Such a great movie. Not as good as Die Hard (in my books) but it will do. Oh yes, put this movie on and you will remember the good old days…when Mel wasn’t crazy yet. I mean, when you would sit on the couch Christmas Eve with the family and feel the holiday joy. I also watched this when I was young but once again, caution.

Lethal Weapon, best movies to watch at christmas

Edward Scissorhands (1990, Drama/Fantasy)

Such an amazing film and perfect for the holidays. It’s all about family, love, cheerfulness and Johnny Depp. What more is there to life really? I’m sure you’ve seen this but, once again, it is a nice break from the normal Christmas flicks but doesn’t stray too far away to make you feel like you’re skipping the classics on purpose. I think it’s family-friendly but Edward is pretty darn scary as it is so best to judge that for yourself.

Edward Scissorhands, top 15 not so christmas movies, best movies to watch during holidays

The Shining (1990, Horror)

A little Jack Nicholson for the holidays is just what the doctor ordered. Plus, nothing says Christmas like hiding in the arms of someone you love, or maybe just that favourite pillow/blanket on the couch. It’s family-friendly…for a bit. Really though, not a family flick. Something good when you’re enjoying a nightcap though! Bailey’s anyone?

The Shining, best not so christmas movies,


Kiss Kiss, Bang, Bang (2005, Action/Comedy)

If Jack and John aren’t enough to bring the holiday cheer why not add a little Robert to the mix? One of my new favourites and with just enough Christmas in it to make it to my list, the whole thing is hilarious and amazing. Val Kilmer is fantastic in this role and with Robert Downey Jr. added in this movie is a must-see during the holidays. The action is amazing and the comedy is pure. Hear those sleigh bells ringing…

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, best movies to watch at Christmas


Ghostbusters II (1989, Action/Comedy)

Another classic. Man, I love these movies! Plus I think this is my favourite of Ghostbuster series, mainly because it has Sigourney Weaver in it. Win. This movie was definitely part of my traditional Christmas programs while growing up. Pretty hilarious and with some ghost. Think of it as A Christmas Carol but with Bill Murray and a lot more jokes. You just can’t go wrong.

Ghostbusters, best movies to watch at christmas

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004, Drama/Romance)

This is one of my all-time favourite movies. The fact that it has some snow and maybe mentions the holidays and/or Christmas at some point (at least I think it does) was enough to make me put it on this list. It’s wintery for most of it so it counts. Kate Winslet and Jim Carey are fantastically amazing in this movie.

It’s a little heavy and will probably be boring for kids but there isn’t anything too awful in it. It’s not entirely a feel-good movie but it is when you take the time to think about it. It’s a thinking movie, I mean it’s entertaining but it’s more intense than any of the other films on this list. It’s still amazing. A nice change from the other holiday flicks.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind


Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001, Romantic Comedy)

Another of my all-time favourites, these movies make me laugh and laugh and laugh some more. I love Renee Zellweger as Bridget; it’s my favourite role for her. Colin Firth is a deliciously handsome touch and Hugh Grant is tolerable in this role. It suits him, I’ll say that (sorry Hugh fans).

It’s got some Christmas stuff here and there and is all about love and family and isn’t that just what the holidays are all about! Definitely a feel-good flick. Not so much for the whole family but I didn’t think it was that bad. I suppose it has a lot of swearing though. Best to take caution, it’s a good afternoon-while-wrapping-presents kind of film.

Bridget Jones's Diary, best movies to watch at christmas

Happy Feet (2006, Family/Comedy)

You know what they say, save the best for last! I love heart love this movie. I always have. Penguins and dancing and singing. It’s so amazing! A well-done film with such a great story. Robin Williams is hilarious. The cast for this is actually really intense: Elijah Wood, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Hugo Weaving… The list goes on and on. Happy Feet is super awesome for the family. The whole family will love this movie. It will easily be a new holiday favourite if it isn’t already.

Happy Feet, top 15 christmas movies

Well, there you have it. Get some hot chocolate in your favourite Christmas mug and grab a few holiday treats while you snuggle up to some of the best “not so Christmas” Christmas movies! Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all!

What is your favourite not-so-Christmas Christmas movie?


Shannon Lintott

Follow Shannon Lintott on Twitter.


Maria Lianos-Carbone is the author of “Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year”, and publisher of, a leading lifestyle blog for women.

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