Batman
Warner Bros.

11 Christmas Movies You Didn't Know Were Christmas Movies

Dec 22, 2014

For some, the best part of Christmas season is flipping through channels and stumbling upon a Christmas classic like It's A Wonderful Life or Home Alone. But maybe Christmas movies aren't your style. Perhaps your friends made you watch Love Actually one too many times.

That's okay. We're here to help. TIME has gathered together a list of movies that take place during the holidays but don't peddle cheesy Christmas morals. So the next time your family calls you a Scrooge for vetoing the Charlie Brown Christmas Special when you're home for the holidays, you can suggest one of these films as a compromise. Happy holidays!

Die Hard
20th Century Fox

Die Hard

Action movie fans will be delighted to learn that Die Hard qualifies as a Christmas movie. Sure, the Christmas joy ends quickly once the terrorists start taking hostages, but is there a better present than John McLean jumping off exploding buildings? Yippee ki-yay!

Eyes Wide Shut
Warner Bros.

Eyes Wide Shut

Best remembered for that orgy scene, Stanley Kubrick's last film isn't what you would call a family movie. In fact, the sparring between once-married Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman really takes a toll on the holiday spirit. Nevertheless, it is set during Christmas. Yup. It counts.

Batman
Warner Bros.

Batman Returns

Ah, Christmas in Gotham, where ornaments (and sometimes even Christmas trees) are used as weapons in the war against bad guys like the Penguin and Catwoman. With Michael Keaton as a frontrunner in this year's Oscar race for his performance as a washed-up actor who once played the superhero Birdman, it might be the right time to revisit Keaton's origins as Batman.

The Thin Man
MGM

The Thin Man

One of the best murder mystery films ever made, 1934's The Thin Man takes place over the Christmas season and concludes with private detective Nick Charles solving the crime at a holiday dinner. It may even inspire you to take a shot at your Christmas ornaments with a BB gun.

Gremlins
Warner Bros.

Gremlins

For those still looking for the perfect Christmas gift for their loved ones, steer clear of fuzzy creatures called Mogwai. (Hint: That's Cantonese for monsters.) Gremlins delights in skewering the tropes of Christmas time as the Mogwai-turned-Gremlins wreak havoc. One character even tells a story of how her dad got stuck in a chimney and died after dressing up as Santa.

Lethal Weapon
Warner Bros.

Lethal Weapon

Yep — Lethal Weapon is a Christmas movie. The film begins with "Jingle Bell Rock" and ends with a family united around a Christmas tree. But don't worry: Danny Glover and Mel Gibson spare the sentimentality when they're shooting bad guys or griping with one another.

edward scissorhands
20th Century Fox

Edward Scissorhands

Though Tim Burton's movies tend to have a more Halloween-y feel than a Christmas-y one, Edward Scissorhands is a holiday movie at heart. The entire narrative is framed around a grandmother telling her grandchild why it always snows on Christmas.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Warner Bros.

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

It may not look it (thanks to the snow-free L.A. setting), but Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is a holiday movie. After all, it begins with Robert Downey, Jr.'s character robbing a toy store — in part to score one of the toys on his kid's Christmas list.

Trading Places
Paramount

Trading Places

Can a revenge comedy be filled with Christmas cheer? When the men getting punished are two Scrooge-like bigots, then yes it can! This Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd movie also features one of the best Christmas movie images ever: Aykroyd stuffing an entire salmon down the front of his dirty Santa suit.

Rent
Columbia

Rent

Though most know Rent as the musical about impoverished young artists struggling to survive in New York's Alphabet City during the AIDS crisis, many forget that the movie (and play upon which it is based) begins on Christmas Eve and end on Christmas a year later.

Harry Potter
Warner Bros.

The Harry Potter Films

Yes, there's only about one Christmas scene per Harry Potter movie, but there's something delightfully charming about watching British children celebrate Christmas in a snow-covered castle. And don't forget that in the first movie Harry Potter receives the best Christmas present in the history of Christmas presents: the invisibility cloak.

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