‘Tis the season to be jolly; just not for everyone. While most of us are content to sit back and celebrate the holiday season, there are still others who want to do poo-poo on our good time as much as possible. You know the type. Frown at the idea of gift-giving, turn their noses up at eggnog and fruitcake, wish any beggar types would just die and decrease the surplus population: the ultimate Scrooge.
With so much programming on television and in movies this time of year focused on Christmas and the holiday season, it’s hard to find entertainment for the Scrooges - especially if you’re the type who enjoys the holiday programming. But there’s a way to compromise without asking the curmudgeons to be less… well, Scroogish. There are a good number of movies out there that do include Christmas, or some nod to the holiday season, without actually being Christmas movies. Here’s five of my favorite non-Christmas, Christmas movies to enjoy around your personal Scrooges.
But be sure to throw in a jolly, “Merry Christmas” at some point while you’re watching, just to irritate the Scrooges a little bit.
Die Hard / Die Hard 2
This is the Christmas movie most fans list as their best non-Christmas, Christmas movie. It certainly fits the bill perfectly. The central plot is that John McClane fights terrorists, whether it’s at Nakatomi Plaza or the airport. What puts him in the position to encounter those terrorists in both movies is the fact that it’s Christmas. Sure, reminders of the season are ever-present (“Now I have a machine gun too, Ho Ho Ho”) but there is very little that is actually Christmassy within the movie. Still, be prepared for some complaining from your Scrooges if they don’t get swept away by the impressive adventures of New York’s favorite cop.
If Die Hard
pushes the envelope a little bit, Batman Returns
just might rip it. Again, the movie is set during the holiday season, with problems ensuing during Gotham’s Christmas celebration, but this is not a Christmas movie. There are no Tiny-Tim type revelations or moments of goodwill and cheer. Instead the movie goes even darker than Tim Burton’s first flick, and any idea of Santa or festivity is quickly overshadowed by the gruesome depiction of the Penguin, biting people’s noses and causing mayhem against Batman.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
It’s pretty public knowledge that Narnia
is a Christian allegory, and that’s at its most clear in this first chapter. It’s not typically the story of Christ that bothers Scrooge types, although the presence of Father Christmas for one brief scene might set them into a anti-holiday tirade. We suggest you find an excuse to remove your Scrooge from the room for five or ten minutes when the Pevensies are being pursued across the frozen lake, and then making up an alternate event for how they get their precious gifts that don’t involve anything that might upset your humbug.
When Harry Met Sally
I rarely think of Christmas when I think of this romantic comedy, which centers more around New Years celebrations over Christmas ones - but the holiday is present a few times throughout the film. Scrooges might enjoy that depiction here though, since it’s not always a positive one, with Harry’s life crumbling to a particular low while holiday shopping at one point. Turn it into a drinking game, with shots taken during each of the other couples’ testimonies, and your Scrooge won’t care by the time the Christmas related scenes show - just don’t give them eggnog to shoot.
Man on the Moon
Jim Carrey’s biopic about Andy Kaufman only has one scene to take place during Christmas, and considering Kaufman’s non-traditional approach to a Christmas special (including the appearance of a woman having a heart attack during the show) will probably make most humbugs laugh out loud. If nothing else, this is a great excuse to revisit Man on the Moon
, an underappreciated gem that tends to be far too easily forgotten.
Oh, and Merry Christmas to Josh Tyler and the rest of the Scrooges, like it or not!