Skip to content

Family-Friendly Flicks That Are Secretly Christmas Movies in Disguise!

If it’s set during Christmas, it’s a Christmas movie. That’s the rule!

Jack Shepherd

Iron Man 3

Christmas is pretty much right around the corner now, which means that we are all legally bound to only watch films that are Christmas-themed or Christmas-adjacent. That’s just the law — it’s a tough law, but it’s the reason that society hasn’t devolved into total chaos, so it’s important that we follow it.

That said, even the Christmasiest (I promise that’s a word) amongst us wants something in our movie diet that isn’t just Santa and reindeer and jingle bells and mistletoe. That’s where this list comes in. Here are a bunch of great movies that nobody (or maybe everybody?) knows are Christmas movies in disguise!

Batman Returns

Batman Returns

An underrated superhero classic, directed by the dark king of surprising, offbeat Christmas movies, Tim Burton. How’s this for a Christmas story: Batman’s got to confront a criminal mastermind who was raised by penguins in the sewers of Gotham city while a lady dressed as a cat gets in his way. Along the way, a bunch of gang members jump out of oversized Christmas presents and The Penguin gives a speech in front of a giant Christmas tree. Why? Because it’s Christmas! (HBOMax.)

Edward Scissorhands

Edward Scissorhands

Wait a second. It’s Tim Burton again!!! This guy obviously loves Christmas. This is that most classic of Christmas tales: An artificial man with scissors for hands becomes a surprisingly gifted topiarist and tries his luck with ice sculptures when Yuletide rolls around. (Disney+)

You’ve Got Mail

Youve Got Mail

You know that unique sound you hear when a new piece of electronic mail hits your AOL inbox? No, most people don’t. It’s … from the past. But this is a classic movie that’s about that very thing and it’s got Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in it AND it is SET AT CHRISTMAS. Why are you not watching this right at this very moment? (HBOMax)

While You Were Sleeping

While You Were Sleeping

There are three types of classic Christmas story: 1) The kind where Santa Claus has to overcome obstacles to get everyone their presents in time. 2) The kind where a local man says he’s Santa Claus but no one believes him. And 3) The kind where a man is in a coma after falling onto some train tracks, so Sandra Bullock thinks she’s in love with him and pretends to his family that they’re dating. This one’s of the latter variety. (Disney+)

Hook

Hook

Here’s a secret that they never tell you about the classic Robin Williams vehicle, Hook: It’s kind of the same basic story as A Christmas Carol! By which I mean it’s set at Christmastime and it’s about an older man who has forgotten the childish wonder that makes life meaningful and needs to rediscover it through magic. Except, you know, with Peter Pan instead of Scrooge. (Available to rent on Amazon, AppleTV, YouTube, or Google Play)

Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3

Ho Ho Ho! A shadowy supervillain called “The Mandarin” is wreaking havoc throughout the world and seems to have a particular vendetta against an armored hero who also happens to be the CEO of a multinational arms manufacturer and technology conglomerate. And yes, it’s set at Christmas. Roast some chestnuts on an open fire, snuggle up warm with some delicious eggnog, and enjoy this Christmas classic about Tony Stark and his robot suits. (Disney+)

The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride

Honestly, every day is a good day to watch The Princess Bride. It’s one of the best, most rewatchable movies ever made, and if you haven’t seen it, or haven’t seen it in a long time, it’s a guaranteed winner for the whole family. And, what people don’t remember is that the interstitial scenes where Fred Savage is being read to by his grandfather are all set during Christmas, which means you can use the “Christmas Movie Clause” to overrule the rest of the family and put it on tonight. (Disney+)

Jumanji

Jumanji

What are your favorite Christmas traditions? Opening one present from a stocking on Christmas Eve? Singing Christmas carols with the family? Playing a supernatural board game that traps you inside a world where dangerous jungle creatures attack you until you find a man who’s been trapped in the game for decades and try to help him escape? If it’s the latter, you’re going to really enjoy this great movie that happens to have a number of crucial scenes during Christmas. (Netflix)

Little Women

Little Women

Honestly, there’s so much Christmas in this classic novel that’s been recently adapted into a fantastic film that it’s not even really secretly a Christmas movie. It’s infused with the Christmas spirit of hope and joy and family and it’s heartwarming and lovely, even if it is just the tiniest bit sad at times. (Amazon Prime, Hulu)