Six Of The Best Alternative Christmas Films

Festive cheer, minus the actual Christmas film status


We adore Christmas films, but there’s only so many times you can watch the same five classics without hankering for something a little different. Drunk santas, hyperactive elves and surly scrooges are all well and good, but sometimes you just want the festive feels, sans sleigh bells.
Because different is something we’re big fans of here at Ableforth’s, we’ve broken free from tradition and put together a list of films that are Christmassy without necessarily being actual Christmas films.*

*Except maybe Die Hard - who really knows?

  1. Bridget Jones’s Diary

Often shown at Christmas but not technically a Christmas film, Bridget Jones’s Diary has become a festive favourite, in part down to the ‘ugly jumper scene’. In the 2001 film we see Bridget and Mark Darcy’s first interaction making awkward small talk at a family gathering, each sporting some pretty special knitwear.

In fact, that scene is thought to have sparked the novelty knitwear trend we know and love today.

Jumpers aside, the film also has plenty of other festive cheer - who could forget their *spoiler alert* wintry kiss at the end of the film when they finally get together?

2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

There are few things better than settling down with a mince pie or five and binge-watching the Harry Potter films. Over recent years they’ve become staple Christmas TV listings and even though there’s no FC or reindeer in the mix, there’s still elves, magic and the odd invisibility cloak (aka the best gift ever).

Christmas pops up in every film, but if we had to pick one, it’d be Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. As the very first film it’s the first time we (and H-Potz himself) get a glimpse of Hogwarts looking mega-magical.

There’s the Christmas at Hogwarts Carol, the tree Hagrid lovingly drags through the snowy ground and of course, Ron’s knitted treat from his mum.

3. The Great Escape

Officially one of the most shown films at Christmas time, The Great Escape might not be the obvious choice for festive cheer - after all, it’s set at a Prisoner of War camp, some people die and there’s not a hint of tinsel or turkey in sight.

That said, just the fact that it’s a Christmas staple gives us the warm and fuzzies when we watch it - sitting around with the family on boxing day and watching a classic while pondering alternative ending ideas - what’s not to love?

4. Die Hard

The debate over whether Die Hard is a Christmas film rumbles on, and on, and on - but whether it is, or isn’t, there’s no denying it’s a much-revered classic set at Christmas time.

Sure, there’s more hostages than there is holiday cheer, but regardless of where it sits in the Christmas film status stakes, every year it finds its way onto our screens, and every year the debate continues...

5. Gremlins

Gremlins is a classic tale of when Christmas purchasing goes wrong - only in this case instead of buying the wrong size slippers, a mogwai is bought, given to a child, gets wet and then produces terrifying baby gremlins that wreak havoc across the town.
Like many popular Christmas films, this does indeed have carolling, tinsel and santa hats, but unlike those charming films where cute puppies are unwrapped , this will definitely make you think twice about buying a pet for Christmas (or ever).

6. The Wizard of Oz

There’s no place like home at Christmas, or for Dorothy actually who finds herself in a strange land with some interesting characters, wishing she could be in her own bed...which thinking about it, pretty much sums many a family Christmas.

There’s not a hint of Christmas in The Wizard of Oz, but it’s a popular family favourite around this time, and also good reason to wear ruby slippers - as if we ever needed one.