Top 10 ‘Non-Christmas’ Christmas films

What makes a Christmas film? Is your favourite Christmas film even a Christmas film? Mine isn’t. Well at least not in the general sense of a festive film. These types of films are the ones that feature Santa, Elves, or other festivities. 

We have the movies that are typically for the holiday season like Santa Clause, Nativity or Home Alone, but there are other films out there. What about the likes of Sound of Music that you find on your screen every Christmas period? 

These are the movies that come to your mind every single Christmas time, you find yourself watching them every single year without change. Yet, these films are not classed as Christmas films. 

Therefore, here are ten films that are Christmas movies but technically are not. 

10. Sound of Music (1965) 

The tenth movie on my list is the Sound of Music. You may ask the question, what is Christmassy about the Von Trapps, I mean when they trek through the Alps there is no snow in sight! But it’s not about the contents of the film, more the versatility of the film. 

Every single year you may watch the Sound of Music during Christmas, whether it be on purpose, or you are simply flicking through channels looking for something to fill the silence. It is a family friendly movie with something for everyone whether a history buff or a musical theatre fanatic. 

Furthermore, ‘My Favourite Things’ is a classic song and manages to slip it’s way to everyone during Christmas. The lyrics ‘”Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes/Silver-white winters that melt into springs’, show off the holiday festivities behind the song. 

The Sound of Music may not be a Christmas film, but the audiences have made it one by watching it every single Christmas. 

9. Serendipity (2001) 

Underrated Christmas film alert! I feel so strongly about this, I’m not going to lie: Serendipity is a Christmas film. Starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale, whose characters both meet late-night Christmas shopping and they both reach for the last pair of black cashmere gloves. 

It’s love at first sight and the pair just click. They spend a night together eating dinner and ice-skating among other things. The pair cannot agree; is it love at first sight or destiny? Therefore, Cusack and Beckinsale come up with a plan: Beckinsale writes her name and number on a copy of Love in a Time of Cholera, so she can sell it in a second-hand bookshop the next day. If Cusack finds the book, it’s meant to be. 

Cusack also writes his name and number on a dollar bill that Beckinsale spends. If she finds the dollar, then it’s also destiny. Low and behold, the pair find each other with some movie magic, but not without obstacles. 

The movie is a Christmas movie without having all the obvious Christmas movie traits, there is no eggnog or roasted chestnuts but there is a beautiful love story in the middle of New York City. If it was not for Christmas then the movie would just never have happened, or would it have. Who knows with destiny? 

8. Mean Girls (2004) 

Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert and Amanda Seyfried all in their Santa outfits performing a colourful rendition of Jingle Bell Rock. If that does not convince then I do not know what will? 

But in all seriousness, the film is more of a Christmas film for the people who do not really enjoy Christmas or Christmas films. I mean if anyone questions the integrity of the film then just remind them of that performance. It is a Christmas film to me and that is so fetch! 

7. While You Are Sleeping (1995) 

Sandra Bullock stars as Lucy Moderatz in this Christmas film. Lucy is forced to work Christmas and ends up saving her crush in a train accident. However, he does end up in a coma and Lucy gets mistaken as the man’s fiancée due to a mishap by the nurse. Coma Man’s family end up convincing Lucy to spend Christmas with them and she falls for Coma Man’s brother and the rest of his charismatic family. 

The movie screams Christmas, again, with the decorations and the family sense which evokes Christmas spirit. In my opinion, it’s a truly underrated Christmas film. You will find me watching this movie over Home Alone any day. I hold this film in the same category as Serendipity. 

6. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001) 

The Harry Potter Series is on repeat during Christmas time. Flicking through the channels, one of the eight are bound to be screening. However, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone feels the most festive out of all of the films in the series. From Harry getting Christmas presents to the decorations in The Great Hall, it just puts you in the Christmas mood. 

Maybe it is the family aspect, or you see Alan Rickman and think Love Actually? Who knows? But there is one thing for certain, this movie is for Christmas. It’s so heartfelt, warming and the perfect movie for everyone in the family to enjoy. 

5. Batman Returns (1992) 

Batman Returns is surely regarded as a Christmas film? The film itself is set during the Christmas time and Christmas plays a massive part in the storyline. The Gotham City Christmas tree, yuletide decorations and Christmas songs flood the screen at every turn. 

The movie also has the infamous line about Mistletoe which allows Bruce and Celine to find out each other’s secret identities. However, this only plays a small part in why this movie is a Christmas film. The main reason is this film forgets all the happy Christmas sentiments and focuses on the people that Christmas forgot about. It challenges what a Christmas movie really is and creates a new genre of Christmas films, a mixture of both the Yuletide festive cheer and the darker Christmas films. 

Batman Returns is one of the most complex Christmas films that you could watch this holiday time. 

4. Little Women (1994) 

The film opens with Christmas, thick snow across Concord, Massachusetts. The beginning is filmed with an earnest, humble Christmas celebration – a performance. But the March family show their Christmas spirit by giving the Hummel Family a big Christmas dinner because they are struggling at this time of year. 

The movie has a strong sense of family whether it is Winona Ryder as Jo or Emma Watson as Meg. The family have such warm hearts and a goodness about them that is inspirational and a true value of Christmas. 

Little Women is the perfect film to watch during the Christmas time, the film has an abundance of warming spirit. 

3. Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) 

A question to speculate: is it a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie? The film itself heavily features both the holidays, Jack Skellington the Pumpkin King of Halloween town, decides he wants a different change to Halloween and has a plan to kidnap Santa Claus to take over Christmas. 

To me, it has a stronger Christmas sense than Halloween. The entire town come together to invest themselves in the Christmas spirit and the discovery of Christmas. This shows a true sense of what Christmas is all about, bringing everyone together in celebration. But this one is still up for debate, it’s yet to be settled. 

2. Meet Me in St Louis (1944) 

Many people pen Meet Me in St Louis as a Christmas Musical, despite the film only having roughly twenty-five minutes of actual Christmas footage. The reason for this is a simple yet heartfelt singing performance between two of the four Smith Sisters- Esther (Judy Garland) and Tootsie (Margaret O’Brien). Their rendition of ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ sings to the hearts of who is listening and makes them feel every word. 

The earnest performance and Garland’s vocals have won over audiences for years and one of the main reasons for this being a Christmas film. The song itself was written for the movie and has become one of greatest Christmas songs of all time. It sends a message of hope and love and to be frank is needed in 2021. But you must only listen to Garland’s version, the best version. 

1. Die Hard (1988) 

Die Hard is THE non-Christmas Christmas film. Not only does it take place in a Christmas office party. John’s wife name is Holly, I mean that’s Christmas in a name. They give out presents to one another. It has snow in it. The soundtrack to the movie is basically a Christmas album, featuring the likes of ‘Let it Snow’ and ‘Ode to Joy’. If this does not make Die Hard a Christmas film then I don’t know what will. 


Why do all Christmas movies have to be warm and nice? Why can’t they be action films? Christmas is for everyone to enjoy, so there should be a Christmas film for everyone. Die Hard might just be that film.

Christmas is about coming home to be together, for sharing laughter and for watching lots of films while eating too much chocolate. I implore you this year to go down the non-traditional route and take a chance on these fantastic Christmas movies that technically aren’t Christmas movies.

Written by Niamh McCabe

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