I love Christmas movies as much as the next guy, but you can keep your classics like White Christmas and Miracle on 34th Street. There are much better, much nerdier Christmas movies out there. These are my top 7.
#7: The Polar Express
The Polar Express isn’t notable because it was first a beloved children’s book. It’s not notable because it’s about a cool steam engine, nor because it spurred a Christmas fad of decorating with one single giant jinglebell. It’s not even notable because it gave a fun behind-the-scenes peek into the North Pole’s inner workings of chutes and conveyor belts. The Polar Express is notable because its computer-generated 3d animation chugs right through the Uncanny Valley, making it easily the CREEPIEST Christmas movie made to date.
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#6: The Nightmare Before Christmas
If someone tries to tell you that The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween movie, block them on all social media and cut them out of your life forever. While Jack Skellington and his friends are clearly the typical cast of Halloween, the movie is about doing Christmas your own way. As a man whose most beloved Christmas tree ornament is a 3″ R2D2, I totally get it, man.
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#5: Jingle All The Way
It doesn’t matter if you see him as the governor of California, Kindergarten Cop, or a T-800 Model 101, watching Schwarzenegger throwing down with Sinbad so that he can bring home the Turbo Man action figure to his kid — I mean, really, isn’t this what Linus tells us that Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown? No? Well, Jingle All The Way is still a fun movie, and I’ll watch every time it’s on TBS (which is a lot).
Note: You may like this movie so much that you’ll be tempted to watch Jingle All The Way 2. Don’t.
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#4: Lethal Weapon
You had to know it was coming. While Lethal Weapon is currently getting a lot of attention as a small screen adaptation, there’s no denying that the original is a great Christmas movie. An allegory, even: Murtaugh and Riggs teach us that with spectacular chase scenes and explosions—and some salty dialogue—there’s nobody we can’t get along with. (Hear that, Uncle Wilbur… we’re ready for you this year. We hid the eggnog.)
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#3: Home Alone
This movie single-handedly increased my independence as a kid: If Kevin McAllister could survive solo, I was certain that I could, too. Despite how I must have tempted them, though, my mom and dad never gave me the chance to find out. No matter—this movie gave me ideas for about 6 years worth of boobie traps for Santa. Never did catch that slippery old St. Nick, though. Dad kept setting off my traps by accident.
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#2: Die Hard
I won’t discuss it. Die Hard is a Christmas movie—and one with an important lesson. See, John McClain is like the wise men, and the trials he faced while traversing Nakatomi Tower are just like the challenges the Magi faced as they traveled to see little baby Je—ok, I’m making this up. Doesn’t matter, though. Die Hard is still one of the best holiday movies of all time.
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What’s a Christmas movie without a strong, instructive moral to the story? Gremlins is one of the best because it has just such a moral: giving small, furry things as Christmas gifts to kids always, always, ALWAYS leads to death, destruction, and general mayhem. Hear that, grandparents, aunts, and uncles? If you give my kids a pet for Christmas, people will die, and their blood will be on your hands. ON YOUR HANDS. But Merry Christmas, y’all.
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Those are some of my favorite holiday classics. Head on over to Facebook and tell me what you look forward to watching every December.