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The Top Movies Set at Christmas, But Not About Christmas

Updated on November 8, 2016

Films Set At Christmas...That Aren't About Christmas

There is something about a movie set at Christmas that has nothing to do with Christmas that I love.
Maybe it's the idea that all this weird stuff still goes on despite "Peace on Earth and Goodwill To Men".
For crime fighters and monsters, December 25th is just another day.
So here are some movies for your Holiday viewing pleasure that really have nothing to do with the Holidays.
Most of these are not family Christmas movies.
Well, maybe not most families...

Die Hard (1 and 2) 1998 and 1990

Die Hard
Die Hard

NYPD officer John McClane cannot seem to get the hang of Christmas at all.
He gets thrust into life or death situations at Christmas not once, but twice!
First in Los Angeles at the Nakatomi Plaza, then one year later in Washington D.C. at Dulles Airport.
Maybe by Die Hard With a Vengeance he learned to stay home on Christmas.

Trading Places
Trading Places

Trading Places

This 1983 comedy film starred Dan Aykroyd, Eddie Murphy and Jamie Lee Curtis.
This movie would have worked at anytime of the year, but setting it at Christmas makes Randolph and Mortimer Duke's "nature versus nurture" experiment seem that much more evil.



This 1984 comedy/horror film has almost the perfect balance of black comedy and Christmas.
Even though Gremlins was a commercial success, a lot of people didn't know that Joe Dante fought the MPAA because of some scenes they deemed as too violent for a movie aimed at younger audiences.
Christmas trees, Christmas lights and horribly mutated creatures running roughshod over a small town.

Eyes Wide Shut
Eyes Wide Shut

Eyes Wide Shut

Once again, the Christmas setting just throws the movies bizarre themes into contrast. And gives the film even more of a surreal feel.
"How can all this weird stuff be happening at Christmas?"

Lethal Weapon
Lethal Weapon

Lethal Weapon

Again, I love the way they did this as the movie just happens to occur during Christmas, not because of it.
It's hard to have a Silent Night with Murtaugh and Riggs blasting everything in sight.  
Yeah, that rhymed.

Batman Returns
Batman Returns

Batman Returns

The Dark Knight, Tim Burton's Gotham City, the weird mutated Penguin stealing children, the spooky Christopher Walken and Christmas time.
Of course you can throw in Michelle Pfiffer in her homemade Catwoman outfit.
What better holiday combination could you ask for?
 Merry Christmas!

Bell, Book and Candle
Bell, Book and Candle

Bell, Book and Candle

Let's do a movie about a coven of witches in New York city and set it at.....Christmas!
This is one of my old school classics, and how can you go wrong with James Stewart as straight laced publisher Shepherd 'Shep' Henderson and Kim Novak as a witch named Gillian Holroyd?
Well you can't.
But throw in Jack Lemmon, Ernie Kovacs, Hermione Gingold and Elsa Lanchester and you have a lock.
Several people (including myself) think this film and 1942's I Married a Witch were the inspiration for Bewitched.
Bell, Book and Candle and Bewitched were both produced by Columbia.
The film itself is based on a 1950 play that starred Sir Rex Harrison, Lilli Palmer, Jean Adair, and Larry Gates.
Best scenes to me:
Gillian and her cat/familiar, Pyewacket enchanting Shep and Nicky (Jack Lemmon) zapping streetlights in the snow.

Iron Man 3

While arguably not the best Iron man film, or even Marvel film, Iron Man 3 was set at Christmas and weaves the holiday into the story line quite successfully.
Although it's not my favorite superhero film, that one shot of Tony laying there in the damaged Iron Man armor in the gently falling snow was pretty well done.
And it felt kinda Christmasy.

And more...

Then there's Black Christmas and it's remake (1974 and 2006) that have Christmas in the title, but they are far from Christmas movies.
And there's Silent Night, Deadly Night and it's sequels 1 through 5 that literally deck the halls with bowels of victims....
(Too harsh?).
And of course we have Brazil, Rocky IV, Stalag 17 and Look Who's Talking Now.

The Top Movies Set at Christmas, But Not About Christmas Comments

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    • jellydonut25 profile image

      jellydonut25 7 years ago from Buffalo, NY

      I've done a hub that asserts that Gremlins is far more Christmas-y than at first glance.

      I'd recommend checking it out, but suffice to say the movie has a lot of the same lessons (some jokingly so, some honestly) that many classic Christmas tales like "It's a Wonderful Life" and "A Christmas Carol" have.

    • Megavitamin profile image

      Megavitamin 8 years ago

      Great list! Die Hard always comes up on lists of best Christmas movies, even though it's just the setting. Gremlins is a personal favorite of mine!