Dear Crabby, What are my Exciting, Non-Sappy Christmas Movie options?

Dear Crabby,

As we get closer to Christmas, my wife wants to watch more Christmas movies together. The problem is all the movies she picks are either boring or cheesy. Do you have any suggestions for any unconventional Christmas movies I won’t fall asleep watching?


Wes Bandit

Dear Wes Bandit,

Boy, do I feel you on this subject. Last year I talked about how Mrs. Crabby LOVES those dang Hallmark Christmas Movies. This year there are 41 NEW movies and they started rolling them out in October! Essentially, they’re all the same movie. The setting may change, but you can be darn sure there’s going to be a big city single gal, a tiny town in trouble, and a shy, drop-dead handsome guy who knows how to build a ski lodge with twigs he found in the woods. Something along those lines. I’m convinced the Hallmark big wigs sit in front of a big board with a dozen plot points and just move them around until they have enough ideas.

Dear Crabby sits infront of his laptop

Of course, then there are the movies that are considered holiday traditions, such as It’s a Wonderful Life and White Christmas. I’ve watched both movies hundreds of times. And that’s the problem. I could probably recite the lines in my sleep. So, you want to know about movies that might not be considered Christmas movies but have enough elements of Christmas to be alternatives to all the mush? Well, you’re in luck. I have a handful of suggestions up my sleeve. Whether or not your missus will agree is a whole other story. Here we go!

Die Hard – Fans of this OG in the Bruce Willis franchise are adamant that it’s a Christmas movie. The evidence? There’s Santa, Christmas music, and takes place during a Christmas party.

Gremlins – This movie serves as a cautionary tale about Christmas presents. Just because something is cute and fuzzy doesn’t mean it won’t make your life hell later.

Krampus – Since this film is considered horror, it’s not anything I’d watch, but what makes it Christmas is the title character – Krampus. This frightening creature comes from Central and Eastern Alpine folklore and appears during the Christmas season to scare children who have misbehaved. Hmmm. Maybe someone should make a ‘Krampus on the Shelf,’ instead of an Elf.

The Nightmare Before Christmas – This is another movie people love to debate about. Is it a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie? I say it can be whatever you want it to be. Either way, I’ve never understood how Tim Burton’s mind works.

Office Christmas Party – Remember out-of-control Christmas parties? Since a lot of people are working remotely these days, this movie could be an option instead of experiencing all the crazy shenanigans (and hangovers) in person.

Trading Places – Ya gotta love the ‘80s. In my opinion, it’s when Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy were at their funniest. Aykroyd plays an upper-class commodities broker, while Murphy is a poor street hustler. Two bored, wealthy old brothers make an elaborate bet with each other to see how Aykroyd and Murphy would fare if their lives were switched. Spoiler alert: things get crazy.

Good luck convincing your wife to watch one of these. If you find yourself stuck watching Hallmark, I’ll send you my bingo card. It makes enduring that syrupy schmaltz a little more entertaining.

Dear Crabby

About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at


  1. Good list, Crabby.
    I would add “Scrooged,” starring Bill Murray.
    And, yes, Hallmark sucks.

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