It’s that time of year again, where pumpkin spice steps down from the throne and egg nog ascends to its rightful place as the holiday beverage of choice and Christmas music is leeching out of every speaker imaginable. Whether you’re a Grinch or prefer to spend your December rockin’ around the Christmas tree, everyone loves a good holiday-themed flick. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a dime to watch some excellent Christmas and Christmas-adjacent movies. Make some hot chocolate, curl up on the couch and revel in some big-screen holiday magic.
1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
This Christmas classic stars Jimmy Stewart as a family man considering ending it all – until he gets a visit from his guardian angel. There’s a reason virtually everyone knows this film: it’s practically required viewing come Christmas time.
2. Black Christmas (2006)
Fans of the original 1974 version of “Black Christmas” do not hide their disdain for this loose remake. However, 2006’s “Black Christmas” serves up a generous serving of maliciousness and gore. If you find Christmas movies too sentimental, “Black Christmas” is probably right up your alley.
3. Carol (2015)
Featuring subtle, yet powerful performances, Carol is a moving film that explores the bond that develops between two people. If you’re looking for an intimate, romantic film, don’t pass this one up.
4. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)
This Finnish movie jettisons the mainstream idea of jolly old St. Nick for a pagan demigod hellbent on slaughtering reindeer and kidnapping children. Imagine “The Lost Boys” thrown in a blender with “Elf,” and you get this twisted action horror hybrid.
5. Jingle All the Way (1996)
Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as a workaholic dad who inadvertently neglects his young son. To make up for his shortcomings, he sets out to find the year’s hottest toy for Christmas. The only problem is that hundreds of other hapless parents are out to do the same. It’s worth the price of admission just to hear Schwarzenegger declare It’s Turbo time!.
6. Die Hard (1988)
We’re putting this one to rest: Die Hard is a Christmas movie. Watch New York cop John McClane go toe to toe with terrorists in LA’s Nakatomi Plaza on Christmas Eve. Ho ho ho, he even has a machine gun.
7. Die Hard 2 (1990)
Die Hard 2 is inferior to the original in almost every way, but it tries really, really hard. This movie features the unluckiest cop in the world, John McClane, as he battles terrorists (again) at an airport. Everything is cranked to eleven in this flick: the body count, the bullets, the explosions and the Christmas cheer.
8. Better Watch Out (2016)
A funny and smart slasher flick, Better Watch Out features a babysitter trying to outsmart a home intruder and protect the children in her care. However, not everything is as it seems with a brilliantly twisted reveal that you won’t see coming.
9. Black Christmas (1974)
This seminal horror film is regarded as one of the best the genre has to offer. It’s so disturbing that the UK release of the film had to be censored. Black Christmas is a cult classic that features a disturbing, yet memorable antagonist that will haunt you long past Santa’s shimmy down the chimney.
10. Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Tim Burton’s modern-day fairytale centers around a synthetic human named Edward, who, as his name implies, has scissors for hands. He is taken in by a kind family in a picturesque caricature of suburbia. He learns that ignorance and prejudice can exist anywhere, even at Christmas.
11. Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas
“Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” was a musical-comedy TV show that aired on NBC until it was cancelled after 25 episodes. Fortunately for fans, Christmas has come early this year. Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas will pick up where the show left off, so if you were peeved about the loose ends at the end of season two, you have to catch this.
Lifetime Christmas Movies
A bunch of full-length Lifetime original movies are featured on the official Lifetime YouTube Channel. If you’re in the mood for cheesy made-for-TV holiday flicks, head to YouTube to get your fix.
Almost all of the streaming services mentioned above have many, many more Christmas and Christmas-adjacent movies available. If you are a Netflix user, don’t forget to check out some of the best Christmas comedy on Netflix.
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