Anything-but-Traditional Holiday Movies We Love

Because you already know to watch It's a Wonderful Life.

Compiled by Damon Beres
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    "Santa Claus: The Movie"

    "I used to be obsessed with this holiday flick that features John Lithgow as an evil toymaker and an emotional elf named Patches. After remembering flashes of random scenes and not recalling the movie title, I hopped online to Google a variation of 'homeless boy falls in love with rich girl on Christmas' and 'scary-looking John Lithgow yells at weeping elf' and luckily dug up the name. If this recommendation hasn't already got you on Hulu, then I give up."—Alison Caporimo, associate editor.

    "Gremlins"

    "It's festive fun with a mean streak—you're bound to appreciate even the worst of holiday gifts just a bit more after viewing because, hey, at least that lame pair of socks can't metamorphose into a blood-thirsty imp that gnashes at you from the Christmas tree, right? Right."—Damon Beres, assistant editor.

    "The Ref"

    "Dennis Leary stars as a burglar who takes a bickering, dysfunctional couple—Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis—hostage in their home. The twist is, the couple ends up driving him crazy."—Andy Simmons, humor editor.

    "Elf"

    "It's both an original and funny fish-out-of-water comedy and a quintessential underdog film—we all want enthusiasm, love of family and friends, and belief in Christmas magic to triumph over busy schedules and cynicism."—Sarah Wharton, copy editor.

    "A Charlie Brown Christmas"

    "Charlie Brown has a couple of Christmas specials, but they're all amazing. I love Snoopy making a bread and popcorn dinner, Linus giving a card to the girl with multiple names, Charlie's sad little tree."—Adrienne Farr, executive assistant to the editor-in-chief.

    "Home Alone"

    "I've watched this and its sequel every Christmas, usually more than once, forever. I'm pretty sure it wasn't an accident that my dad always managed to find both movies playing on multiple channels throughout the day, and since he'd sit there and watch the entire thing, I don't think he chose the programming just for my brother and me. For some reason, they never get old."—Alyssa Jung, assistant research editor.

    "What could possibly beat Home Alone? Funny whether you're 11 or 66, it never fails to put me in a good mood and remind me of the fun spirit of this time of year. And how can you not love all that endearing little boy mischief?—Perri O. Blumberg, assistant editor.

    "Love Actually"

    "This British romantic comedy always brings a smile to my face. Everyone has a Christmas wish, and I enjoy how the four vignettes play out."—Fran Lostys, research manager.

    "Characters experience the loss of a cherished wife, a cheating girlfriend, a troubled marriage, unrequited love, new love realized and young love with all its heartache. It's all here. You laugh, you cry, and you watch the movie again and again."—Ann DiCesare, head librarian.

    "When Harry Met Sally"

    "It's a good year-round film, but the closing scene is the best New Year's moment in any movie."—Rebecca Simpson Steele, photo director.

    "Holiday Inn"

    "Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, and an Irving Berlin score including 'White Christmas'... what's not to love?"—Dawn Raffel, books editor.

    "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!"

    "'You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch, You really arrrrre a heel!' I love that song, and I love this iconic cartoon!"—Adrienne Farr, executive assistant to the editor-in-chief.

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