During this time of year, it can be second nature to just watch Elf or A Christmas Story — without pause, for an entire 24 days straight (trust me, I do it every year). But sometimes, knowing exactly what happens in a handful of movies can get boring. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 10 underrated and unconventional films with a holiday twist. The list is divided by streaming platform because the holidays are hard enough without spending a ton of time Googling where you can watch something.
Get ready to sip some eggnog, cuddle by the fire, and dive into these holiday flicks!
Nightmare Before Christmas
Is it a Chrismas movie or a Halloween movie? Nobody knows. If you’re bored of the routine of watching It’s a Wonderful Life on repeat this season, Nightmare Before Christmas replaces the norm with clever songs and beautiful animation.
Disney+ has a number of shorts that date back to the beginning. Some of the holiday highlights are Pluto’s Christmas Tree (1952), Santa’s Workshop (1932), and The Hockey Champ (1939.)
Ever wonder how Santa’s Little Helper got his name? The very first episode of The Simpsons — from December 1989 — features Homer trying to keep Christmas from falling apart after all of the family’s savings go to removing Bart’s brand-new tattoo. Watch above to see the characters like you don’t remember them.
The Hebrew Hammer
OK, stay with me. Damian Claus (Andy Dick) just killed his dad to take over the family business, and his first task is to destroy Hanukkah. The only one who can put an end to his tirade is Jewish superman, the Hebrew Hammer (Adam Goldberg). Much like Hanukkah itself, this film flies under the radar but has a lot worth celebrating. Check out the trailer above.
This film is not yet considered a classic since it’s still relatively new, but it has everything we want in a binge-able movie. Beautiful animation captures a heartwarming story about Jesper, son of a powerful postman, and Klaus, a recluse with a home full of handmade toys. Jesper is sent to the town of Smeerensburg — a place where jingle bells are replaced with a fighting bell. Upon meeting Klaus, he concocts a plan to get himself out of the town, and a miracle happens along the way.
El Camino Christmas
Why are so many people in this movie but I’ve still never heard of it? Kurtwood Smith, Dax Shepard, Tim Allen, and Jessica Alba star in this comical movie about a hostage situation on Christmas day in Nevada.
Nailed It! Holiday Special
Sugar Rush, Great British Baking Show, and other shows like them are great, but no one ever watches them and thinks that they can recreate the masterpieces that the contestants on those shows do. On Nailed It!, however, the contestants are all amateur bakers trying to make elaborate sweets. The results are often hilarious, and host Nicole Byer makes it even more laughable. This series has two seasons, so it’s perfect to binge with family.
Anna and the Apocalypse
I was not expecting to love this movie as much as I did. I don’t understand how a Christmas movie about zombies can be so good, but the music is genuinely catchy, and I often found myself laughing unexpectedly.
Anna is a high school senior preoccupied with breaking the news to her father that, after graduation, she’s going to travel to Australia instead of attending college. John is her best friend who is trying to figure out to proclaim his love for her. Mr. Savage is the teacher who hates them all. It’s all very High School Musical until it meets Shaun of the Dead. The Christmas flair is presented with candy-cane weapons and a particularly daring song about Santa.
Watch the video above to see how Anna and John discover that the apocalypse has begun!
The Most Adorable Specials
White Elephant Puppy Party and Kitty Cocktail Party are each around 20 minutes long and are exactly what they sound like. In Puppy Party, dogs run around in pajamas and play with each other in a Christmassy setting. The kittens are a little more high-strung as they chase strings and laser pointers in fancy dresses and bowties. This is the ultimate thing to have playing in the background while unwrapping presents.
Merry Christmas Mr. Bean
Mr. Bean is a classic on its own, but what you may not know is that its available on YouTube for easy streaming. Follow him along as he does some shopping, destroys the toy store, and parties like it’s 1993.
Photo: Hulu, Netflix, Disney