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Culture

16 Underrated Christmas Movies To Stream

Because we’ve all seen Elf enough times.

Not to be a total Grinch, but part of the reason the holidays are so exasperating is because we do the same things: watch the same movies, listen to the same music, eat the same food. But Elf isn’t that funny; the live-action Grinch gives me the heebie jeebies, and Home Alone gets old after watching it more than three times. But in the magical time between Christmas and before New Year’s Eve, there’s nothing better than putting than cozying up and watching movies — and that’s where non-Christmas Christmas movies work their magic. They are movies where Christmas isn’t the entree but maybe an appetizer, where there’s a feeling of Christmas without the plot explicitly being about Christmas. Read on for 16 of our favorite underrated Christmas movies to stream over the next week.

Moonstruck (1987)

A boisterous Italian family, relying on the moon to make big emotional decisions, Cher and Nicholas Cage standing in the snow after La Boheme as he confesses his love for her and holds her with his wooden hand?! Be still my heart. (Hulu)

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Metropolitan (1990)

A group of young people sit around and gossip about while wearing fab dresses and tuxes in this comedy of manners that captures the time in New York between Christmas and New Year’s. (HBO Max)

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Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Johnny Depp is everyone’s favorite little weirdo who is most beloved — and useful — at Christmas, in this heartwarming scene where Winona Ryder looks outside and sees him crafting the most beautiful ice sculpture angel you’ve ever seen in your life as she dances in the ice. (Amazon Prime Video)

Batman Returns (1992)

We don’t talk enough about Tim Burton’s Batman, which has Christmas going goth pop in this rendition of a superhero story that thankfully doesn’t take itself as seriously as all the new ones. (HBO Max)

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Jack Frost (1998)

Every time I rewatch this movie I remember how dark it is, but there’s something beautiful about the Christmas miracle of reincarnation in the form of a snowman. Bummer about climate change though. (HBO Max)

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American Psycho (2000)

Risk it all for the Christmas scene where Reese Witherspoon waltzes in with a sprig of mistletoe and a pet Vietnamese potbelly pig?! (Hulu)

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Bridget Jones Diary (2001)

Bridget Jones perfectly captures how soul-draining the endless deluge of questions about what you’re “doing with your life,” and if you’re “seeing anyone special” that comes with Christmas. And also the antidote: partying a lot until you decide to slowly and methodically get your sh*t together! (Paramount+)

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Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

Harry Potter is Christmas-y because I can’t think of anything more Christmas than having a deeply dysfunctional family and drinking butter beer at a British Christmas market. So cozy! (HBO Max)

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The Family Stone (2005)

Can’t say enough good things about this movie: Sarah Jessica Parker is socially inept and even cringier than And Just Like That, Luke Wilson is the older brother who’d definitely smoke you out, Rachel McAdams is a downtrodden 20-something wearing a Dinosaur Jr. shirt, and Diane Keaton has an endless supply of impeccable at-home Christmas fits. (Peacock)

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Just Friends (2005)

For anyone who has ever gone to that one bar in your hometown during Christmas break in hopes of seeing your high school crush! (Hulu)

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

A film noir parody with all the trimmings: crooks, mystery, and Hollywood! (HBO Max)

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Notes On A Scandal (2006)

Dame Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett star in this psychological thriller about a veteran teacher who covers up an art teacher’s affair with a 15-year-old student. Blackmail! Manipulation! Scandal! (Amazon Prime Video)

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The Holiday (2006)

The only movie that does justice to Jack Black as a sexual being, The Holiday remains one of the greatest non-Christmas Christmas movies, where we get to watch Cameron Diaz dance wasted to “Mr. Brightside” and make out with Jude Law while Kate Winslet lives her best life in a Nancy Meyers California dream mansion. (Hulu)

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Tangerine (2015)

Sean Baker’s debut film tells the story of trans sex-workers tearing through L.A. on Christmas Eve searching for gigs and the pimp who broke one of their hearts — a classic American Christmas! (Amazon Prime Video)

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Carol (2015)

Sob to Todd Haynes’ drama starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, about two women who meet in the 1950s at the counter of a Manhattan department store during the holidays and commence a love affair that upends their lives. (Apple TV)

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Krampus (2015)

If you’re feeling down on Christmas, watch Adam Scott and Toni Collette star in this horror comedy about an annoying family who gets trapped in their home and terrorized by a Christmas demon in what looks like the worst Christmas imaginable. (Hulu)

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