By Iolee Anagnostopoulou

It’s the same thing every Christmas. You feel the desperate need to snuggle under your fluffy blanket, surrounded by Christmas decorations and watch a proper Christmas movie, as per tradition. But let’s admit it, most Christmas movies are not exactly on the highest-rated list, and while there are some classics, the majority make me wonder who on Earth still invests money in such mediocre films.

You’ve watched Home Alone and Elf around a million times and another Netflix Christmas romance is just not what you’re looking for. Fear not beloved reader! Here are the best under-the-radar Christmas films for your couch season! 

Old and new, funny and sad, popular and hidden gems, let’s dive together into the magic of Christmas movies and discover your next fav!

You’ve Got Mail, 1998

Although listed as a romantic comedy, Christmas plays a big part in You’ve Got Mail. Two business rivals, portrayed by Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, are on a countdown race for establishing their business’ predominance during the pivotal Christmas shopping period. Although they despise each other in real life, their anonymous email correspondence shows that they ‘click’! One loses their business, but they both win in love. 

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, 1989

A classic, American, 80s Christmas comedy to sit back and enjoy. It cracks you up when you least expect it! National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation follows the Griswold family’s Christmas reunion, which is filled with fun, mishaps, tough luck and one long laugh-fest.  

Noel, 2004

Noel features big names, such as Susan Sarandon, Alan Arkin, Penelope Cruz and Paul Walker. Their characters are faced with different challenges during their sentimental search for happiness around Christmas Eve. They are all in need of a miracle as their paths intertwine—and we all know what the best season for miracles is! 

A Christmas Carol, 1984

Charles Dickens has shaped our perception of the Christmas spirit with this beloved tale, which has countless film adaptations. My personal favourite is the 1984 version, as I love the cinematography and it takes me back to my own Christmases past when I watched it as a child. I mean honestly, can you imagine Christmas without it?!  

Last Holiday, 2006

Queen Latifah’s character finds out she has only three weeks left to live/ She does what I would do under these circumstances— sells all her belongings and goes on to spend her Last Holiday as extravagantly as possible. She resides in a posh hotel in Central Europe and shows us exactly how we wish every holiday of ours could be!    

Fatman, 2020

A modern-day, unorthodox Santa Claus is going through an existential and financial crisis while being hunted down by a vengeful, rich kid for putting a lump of coal in his stocking. Fatman offers a bit of everything: action, humour, food for thought andMel Gibson as Santa Claus. 

Krampus, 2015 

A question for thriller enthusiasts—If you had to pick a Christmas horror theme, would you choose:
a. an evil Christmas spirit that punishes non-believers
b. being stuck at home with your obnoxious relatives due to a mysterious blizzard
c. both
If you chose c, Krampus is your movie!
Some scenes will definitely give you the chills, but the happy ending makes up for it.

New Year’s Eve, 2011

Although this story technically takes place a week after Christmas, New Year’s Eve is—for me—a better version of the Christmas cliche-champion Love Actually. Does it have interconnected stories? Yes. Is it still cheesy? Yes. Good cast? Oh, you bet! Funny, sad, romantic, nostalgic—it will keep you amused between Christmas and New Year.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas, 2000  

The Grinch is your distant, alcoholic, bipolar aunt—who got dumped on Christmas and therefore loathes it—portrayed by Jim Carrey. Hilarious lines with adult humour, Christmas consumerism debunked and a heart that grows two sizes bigger with the power of faith. A classic Dr Seuss adaptation. Watch it. Now.

Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993

This Tim Burton classic is everything you need: animation, musical, fantasy and a clash of two favourite holidays—Halloween vs Christmas. It’s the perfect combination of festivity and twistiness, much like Edward Scissorhands, backed with outstanding musical performances. Besides, you can never have enough of Jack Skellington saying ‘Sandy Claws’!

Special Mention 

This last choice might not be explicitly about Christmas, but everything about it makes it perfect for the season: the winter in Paris theme, the costumes, the balls, the love triangle and of course, the unparalleled music. The Phantom Of The Opera is a sheer spectacle for the eyes and a feast for the ears, which is just the type of magic the season requires! 

Now deck the halls and gather the family for a Christmas movie night, with some corn for poppin’, hot chocolate for drinking and the spirit of Christmas in your heart.