'Die Hard' to 'Gremlins': 8 alternative Christmas movies to watch this year

Photo of Chris Carr
FILE — As the snowy weather picks up, it may be time to look for indoor activities like watching movies.

FILE — As the snowy weather picks up, it may be time to look for indoor activities like watching movies.

Jim Craigmyle/Getty Images

With the Christmas season brings the same television specials that we've all seen.

With the television schedule being taken over by the likes of "Frosty the Snowman" or "The Grinch," sometimes it's nice to find a movie that you haven't seen for a while or that isn't overtly related to traditional Christmas themes. Here are some alternatives that aren't as steeped in the Christmas imagery, but will still let you get in the holiday spirit.

1. Die Hard

This is the subject of much debate, with half of people arguing that it is a Christmas movie and the other half arguing that it isn’t. Whether or not you’re completely convinced that it is indeed a Christmas movie, "Die Hard" is a fun, action packed experience that is perfect for any time of year. Head on over to Nakatomi Plaza and see how the evening will play out.

2. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang 

Starring Robert Downey Jr. just three years before his Iron Man era, this buddy detective flick provides an excellent source of holiday entertainment. The noir style movie sees RDJ and Val Kilmer teaming up to uncover a murder plot. From the same writer as "Lethal Weapon," this movie is nothing short of a modern unconventional Christmas classic.

3. Shazam!

When it comes to superhero movies set around the holidays, there are a few different options, but this one stands out with as having some of the trademark points of a Christmas movie. Billy Batson tries to find family and keep the world safe from a powerful super villain, all taking place around the holidays. Let us not forget the scene where Santa Claus grabs a reporter’s microphone to comically tell the whole world about the fight he witnessed between villain and hero.

4. Trading Places

This comedy classic is also a holiday classic. Starring Saturday Night Live greats Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd, the movie takes place in Philadelphia around the holiday season and is a modern retelling of the prince and the pauper story. Get in the holiday spirit as you watch Aykroyd dress up as a drunk, unhinged Santa Claus.

5. Gremlins

It all started with a Christmas present. "Gremlins" is a wonderful holiday movie with so much Christmas imagery and the entire movie revolving around a Christmas gift that has taken a turn for the worse. With the prevalence of holiday imagery throughout the movie, this entry is arguably the most worth of the title of "Christmas movie" of any on this list.

6. Just Friends

This holiday-based romantic comedy follows Chris as he comes home for the holidays and becomes reacquainted with his high school crush, Jamie. In a hilarious string of events, Chris uses every trick in his book to win her heart. At the very least, watching the movie is worth it to see Ryan Reynolds perform a comical rendition of “I Swear” by All-4-One.

7. Anna and the Apocalypse

What would happen if "Shaun of the Dead" took place around Christmas and featured more musical numbers? The answer to that question is the holiday movie “Anna and the Apocalypse.” A small town is overrun by zombies at Christmas time and the only answer is to fight your way out and sing about the world falling apart around you.

8. Edward Scissorhands

Tim Burton and Vincent Price are names we tend to associate more with Halloween than Christmas, but “Edward Scissorhands” has a heartwarming message and a Christmas time setting that bump it into contention. The movie has even seen such reception that it is now one of the most popular Christmas movies in the country.