20 of the Best Non-Christmassy Christmas Movies 

It’s that time of year again when our screens are awash with saccharine-sweet Christmas movies, most of which fall into that same old family-focused format. Whilst this may be relatable to the average family-of-four unit, for those of us without that standard set-up those movies intended to be heart-warming often have the opposite effect and leave us feeling disheartened instead, as they remind us of the life we do not, and often cannot, have. 

Well, not this Christmas, ladies! As soon as one of those cheesy productions pops up uninvited on your screen, turn it off and reach for this list instead. None of that naff clichéd nonsense here! Grab your beverage of choice, prepare yourself a nice turkey sandwich with some pickles on the side (whaddya mean, you don’t like gherkins?!), then turn down the lights and put your feet up. It’s time to hunker down next to your Christmas tree to watch one of these beauties, safe in the knowledge that your viewing won’t be interrupted by any rowdy little rugrats. 

So without further ado, here’s our round-up of our favourite not so family-friendly films for your festive viewing pleasure.  Enjoy!

Violent Night

A 2022 American Christmas action comedy following Santa Claus (David Harbour) as he fights mercenaries who have taken a wealthy family hostage in their home.

Die Hard

The 1988 action film Die Hard is a true classic, starring Bruce Willis as John McClane, a New York City police officer who finds himself caught up in a terrorist takeover of Nakatomi Plaza, a high-rise office building in Los Angeles, while visiting his estranged wife, Holly Gennaro (Bonnie Bedelia), who works there. 

The Night Before

On Christmas Eve, three best friends spend the night in New York City looking for the Holy Grail of Christmas parties. The 2015 film, directed by Jonathan Levine and written by Levine, Evan Goldberg, Kyle Hunter, and Ariel Shaffir, stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, and Anthony Mackie as three childhood besties who get together every year on Christmas Eve in search of the best party in New York City. 

Harold and Kumar

The third film in the series, A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas (2011), saw Harold and Kumar trying to rescue Santa Claus from a group of stoners. The Harold & Kumar films are known for their outrageous humour, absurd situations and lovable characters. 

Last Holiday

Upon learning of a terminal illness, a shy shop assistant decides to sell all her possessions and live it up at a an upmarket European hotel. Romantic comedy-drama starring Queen Latifah. 


A brilliant holiday film intended for an adult audience, packed with some great jokes, lively performances by Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell, catchy musical numbers, and topped off with an emotional ending. 

Bad Santa

Billy Bob Thornton stars as a miserable conman who poses as Santa along with his Little Helper partner as they plot to rob department stores on Christmas Eve. This is a dark, funny, and subversive Christmas movie that is sure to appeal to fans of both black comedy and holiday classics.

Trading Places

This 1983 belter of a film stars Eddie Murphy as Billy Ray Valentine, a street hustler who is given a chance to make good by two wealthy brothers (Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy), who are conducting an experiment to test the power of nature versus nurture. Murphy co-stars with Dan Aykroyd as Louis Winthorpe III, a wealthy commodities trader who is framed by the Duke brothers and left destitute in this American comedy. 

Muppets Christmas Carol 

An absolute classic! Michael Caine plays scrooge as the Muppets present their own rendition of Charles Dickens’ Christmas tale. 

A Christmas Horror Story

A spooky series of four interwoven stories tied together by a framework story featuring William Shatner as a radio DJ. 


A 1988 American Christmas comedy film directed by Richard Donner and written by Mitch Glazer and Michael O’Donoghue, Scrooged stars Bill Murray as Frank Cross, a cynical and greedy television executive who is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve who show him the error of his ways.


This 1984 US comedy-horror film tells the story of Billy Peltzer, a young man who receives a mogwai named Gizmo as a Christmas gift from his father. He is given three rules to care for Gizmo: never expose him to bright light, never get him wet, and never feed him after midnight. When Billy accidentally breaks all three rules, Gizmo transforms into a mischievous gremlin and his offspring wreak havoc on the town of Kingston Falls, New York.


A darkly festive tale of a yuletide ghoul, Krampus makes a refreshing change from the usual chintzy cheeriness of the regular Christmas-by-numbers narrative. When his dysfunctional family clashes over the holidays, Max is disillusioned and turns his back on Christmas. Little does he know, this lack of festive spirit has unleashed the wrath of Krampus: a demonic force of ancient evil intent on punishing non-believers.

Black Christmas

During their Christmas break, a group of sorority girls are stalked by a stranger. 

The Holiday

A pair of newly-single Non-Mums (played by Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet) swap homes in each other’s countries where they each meet a local hunk (Jude Law and Jack Black) and fall head over heels in love. A double-drop of a romcom romp.

Rare Exports

This dark and twisted tale is a 2010 Finnish fantasy action horror about people living near Korvatunturi who discover the secret behind Santa Claus. It’s part-comedy, part-horror, with a serious message as it tackles the issue of corporate greed and the destruction of nature. 

Happiest Season

A groundbreaking holiday romantic comedy that captures the range of emotions tied to wanting your family’s acceptance, being true to yourself, and trying not to ruin Christmas. One of the few LGBTQ+ Christmas films, it stars Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis as a gay couple, a fact unbeknownst to the family members they will be spending Christmas with.  

Single All The Way

Desperate to avoid his family’s judgement about his perpetual single status, Peter convinces his best friend Nick to join him for the holidays and pretend they’re now in a relationship. 


Michael Shannon plays Maynard, a beloved local shopkeeper who is mistaken for the legendary Bigfoot during a drunken romp through town in a makeshift gorilla costume. Brilliant!

Mixed Nuts

The legend that is Steve Martin stars as a suicide prevention hotline manager dealing with a whole catalogue of troubled callers on one crazy night during the Christmas holidays whilst battling his own demons. 

I’d say that’s more than enough material to keep us Non-Mums occupied during the festive season – and not a cheesy storyline in sight! The only cheese you need worry about this Christmas will be the Wensleydale with cranberries on your savoury snack platter 😉