You clicked, so I’m going to assume that you, like me, like kicking off the season’s festivities early on, and I don’t apologize for that. However, some people hate the “All I Want for Christmas” ring in stores before November 1 and just can’t look at someone or something decked out in red velvet and white trims until at least December.
I am definitely not one of these people, but I live among them. The trade-off is that I’m allowed to watch non-Christmas movies with Christmas vibes before Halloween and Christmas movies after Halloween.
So what do I mean by non-Christmas movies with Christmas vibes, you ask? Well there are two types. The former are films that take place over Christmas, but Noel is not a major player in the plot. An example of this might be Just friends, when all of Ryan Reynolds’ antics to win / embarrass his high school crush happens over winter break, but other than a few great sweaters, it’s not particularly festive. The second type is that of films other than Christmas movies which contain a very Christmas scene. For example, Judy Garland sings the iconic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” in See you in St Louis, which was specially written for the film. However, See you in St Louis takes place over an entire year and is therefore not a Christmas movie
So, now that I have explained by Christmas thesis, but not, let’s go.
You’ve got mail
I pack you here with a very autumnal, but did you know that You’ve got mail is actually a remake of a full-fledged Christmas movie called Shop around the corner with Jimmy Stewart (from It’s a wonderful life) and Margaret Sullivan. Which explains why You’ve got mailThe Christmas scenes are so strong, from awkward conversations at the Christmas party to Kathleen decorating her beloved bookstore one last time. Sparkling festive lights abound, and most of the movie’s major pivotal films take place during this time.
It’s a wonderful life
Now that I’ve mentioned it before, let’s get into It’s a wonderful life. It’s a quintessential Christmas watch, but it’s not really a Christmas movie. George Bailey (Stewart) finds his life wasted when his business loses a large wad of money. One Christmas Eve, George plans to kill himself when he receives a visit from an angel (second class) Clarence, who shows him what his small town would have been like if he had never been born.
Maybe it vaguely has a Christmas message and a really festive closing scene, but I stand by my previous statement, not a Christmas movie.
A Netflix Original from last year, this is a perfectly acceptable straight-to-TV romantic comedy starring Emma Roberts and a very cute Aussie guy. Needing dates to help them spend Christmas and New Years with family and friends, they pledge to be each other’s “vacationers” for now.
Hitting the holiday season but also Valentine’s Day, Easter and many summer weddings, before closing on Christmas, this is a fun but forgettable watch if you’re looking for some minor Christmas vibes.
This one has not aged well (hum The Big Ryan Reynolds Costume) but it’s a fast-paced and very funny comedy as top-flight executive Chris Brander is forced to return home for the holidays for the first time in years, only to experience his A crush in high school, Jamie (played by Amy Smart) still lives in the small town.
Hoping to prove he’s finally good enough for her, Brander tries to make Jamie bad, but is thwarted by a guitar-singing charmer, a psychopathic client / girlfriend, and his younger brother. Christmas backgrounds and music are included, but without any Christmas feeling, it’s a perfect Christmas movie without Christmas.
Listen to me. This movie is coming during Christmas, but Christmas in no way moves the plot. We don’t even have Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. They are right to arrive going on vacation during the Christmas holidays. Pure coincidence as far as I’m concerned and therefore acceptable to watch at any time of the year.
Meet me in St Louis
I mentioned “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Judy Garland, but it’s not the only big jingle in this family musical drama. “The Trolley Song” is another favorite, as is “The Boy Next Door”.
The film in which a young Garland meets her future husband, director Vincente Minnelli, See you in St Louis follows a family’s fate in Louisiana as the city prepares to host the 1904 World’s Fair. Covering a year of their lives as their father plans to move the whole family to New York for his job, it’s a nice humorous Sunday afternoon watch. Although it was originally filmed in black and white, use it in color if you can.
Let it snow
Another that takes place more Christmas but it’s not Christmas, Let it snow is a recent Netflix addition following a collection of teenagers in a snowy town as they weave their way through love and friendships on Christmas Eve.
It’s no wonder but it’s very watchable.
Bridget Jones Diary
Who could forget the ICONIC Christmas sweaters scene? Only Colin Firth could pull off the awkward but austere look. It also ends, a year later, with Bridget running through the snowy, scalloped streets of London in panties. I won’t say more in case you haven’t seen it (HOW can’t you see it ?!)
Similar to See you in St Louis, this movie has a Christmas song that became iconic after its release, in this case it’s “White Christmas”. In fact, it was such a success that the studio made a real Christmas movie about it, titled White christmas (who is a Christmas movie). Holiday Inn however, covers a year in the confused love lives of a popular New York musical act and a promising singer. Jim (Bing Crosby) decides to create a vacation hostel, a musical venue that only opens during the holidays, when the woman he loves starts dating his friend and music partner, Ted (Fred Astaire). Linking two Christmases, it includes other brilliant songs, including “Easter Parade”.
A classic 1980s comedy, you probably don’t think of Christmas when you think of Stock markets, but much of the movie is actually set over Christmas, and you might remember Dan Aykroyd dressed as a lightly soiled and sulky Santa.
A burlesque duet comedy starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy, a wealthy broker and ramshackle street con artist are forced to switch places in an elaborate and at times messy ploy to see how well they will survive.
While you were sleeping
Ah, Sandra Bullock from the 1990s. An underrated romantic comedy, While you were sleeping opens with Lucy (Bulllock) taking the Christmas shift to avoid her own family, only to see the man she wanted quietly assaulted and pushed back onto the tracks. She manages to save him but he remains in a coma and her family, assuming that she is his fiancée, take her under their wing for the holidays.