5 Nontraditional Christmas Movies to Watch This Season

The holiday season is that special time of the year to kick back, bust out the eggnog, and put on your favorite Christmas movie. For the traditionalists out there, that movie can be any number of choices. Maybe you’re into the time travel and Jimmy Stewart yelling at kids that It’s a Wonderful Life brings to the table. Or perhaps seeing a a kid get yelled at by his friends for volunteering to go Christmas tree shopping is more your game — A Charlie Brown Christmas, anyone? Still yet, there are plenty of options for the less conventional fan of the holidays. For the fan of the season looking to spend his or her December watching only the best movies, there’s hope for you yet.

1. Die Hard

Some would argue that the classic action flick starring Bruce Willis circa the not-bald years is the seminal classic the holidays always needed. Helping along the trend of “Christmas movies that get to be categorized this way because the action just so happened to be taking place during the right month,” Die Hard is the pick for any family looking for more explosions and less “Jingle Bells.”

What better way is there really than to spend the holidays with John McClain and his catchy classic cinema catchphrase? Nothing says Christmas like a tank-topped Willis with a sort of full head of hair mowing down baddies. Plus, you get the added bonus of sidelong glances from your family begging you to stop scaring grandma.

2. Gremlins

Imagine waking up on Christmas Day as a child and being given a pet that if you feed at the wrong time, instead of becoming a little whiny for a couple hours, spawns a horrifying brood of demon creatures. Now doesn’t that sound like the family-friendly flick perfect for the holidays?

Gremlins, the comedy-horror crossover you all forgot was a Steve Spielberg film, features classic holiday staples like monsters being microwaved into oblivion and a walking, talking Furby driving a remote control toy car. The sheer entertainment value is undeniable, and it even comes with the memory that Corey Feldman used to be in movies. Despite the unfortunate sequels that followed, there’s no beating the so-campy-it’s-good full circle Gremlins manages to run to perfection.

3. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

Your run-of-the-mill Santa movie usually has holiday cheer, a jovial Tim Allen in a fat suit, and happy children. The Finnish horror-comedy crossover that is Rare Exports has none of the these things. Focusing on the holiday legend that is the anti-Santa, child-stealing demon Krampus, this is anything but your typical Christmas experience.

Follow along with Pietari, a child living below a mountain where Americans have begun an excavation to dig up the real Santa Claus, a creature intent on putting everyone on his naughty list. It features some surprisingly hilarious and entertaining action, including naked bearded men stealing hairdryers, Finnish men holding evil Santa hostage, and more pounds of C4 than a Christmas movie has any business having.

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 89%
  • Where to watch: Netflix streaming on-demand (with subscription)

4. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

The 1964 cult classic that most were able to look past being horrible for the name alone, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is exactly what you think it is. It’s indicative of a simpler time, a time when there were people who would actually green-light a movie about Santa Claus and martians and actually think that this was a movie worth making.

The result was a movie some herald as one of the worst ever to hit the silver screen, which as good a reason as any to add it to your holiday watch list. Just be sure to brace yourself for what was truly a sci-fi and holiday crossover that never should have existed. Hate-watch away, and thank us later.

  • Rotten Tomatoes score: 25%
  • Where to watch: Netflix streaming on-demands (with subscription)

5. Home Alone

On the surface, Home Alone is a heart-warming Christmas tale about a child being reunited with his family after tragically having to spend the holidays alone. In reality, though, the greater implications are much more interesting — and in turn, just a little messed up.

Macaulay Culkin begins (and ends) his film career as Kevin, a boy his family dismisses and resents on such a profound level that when he’s unknowingly left behind for a family vacation, nobody realizes this until the wheels are up and everyone’s on their way to France. Meanwhile, Kevin is forced to defend his house from home invaders with the help of flamethrowers, nail guns, and a frightening propensity for violence. The end product is a Christmas movie that when you watch as an adult, you’re forced to ask yourself why your parents allowed you to watch this every year.

More from Entertainment Cheat Sheet: