We all know the holly jolly classics of yuletide movie canon: Rudolph, the Grinch, and even more recent additions like Elf.


But in recent years some less obviously contenders have been gunning for the title of “Christmas movie,” and the debate over what does and does not qualify has been getting as heated as a yule log. Time to examine some of the most controversial would-be Winter classics.





The king of the Christmas conundrums and the one has inspired the most passionate debate, John McClane’s shoeless showdown, while not exactly festive, does technically take place on Christmas Eve.


The running, gunning, and general grit may drive away Christmas purists, but each December the Die Hard diehards say “Yippee Ki Yay, Kris Kringle!”


Still not convinced? Maybe the re-cut Christmas-themed Die Hard trailer will have you singing a different carol. Check it out by clicking “Trailer” here.


The Nightmare Before Christmas



Ghouls, ghosts, and goblins galore don’t exactly scream December 25th, but how can a movie with Santa, elves, reindeer, and a sleigh NOT be a Christmas movie?


Torn between two seemingly opposite holidays, Jack Skellington and company prove that you don’t have to pick just one; blending our favorite festivities can produce a magical movie greater than the sum of its parts.





An ensemble romcom that just so happens to take place around the holidays? The all-time most romantic (at least by the numbers) Christmas movie?


Love Actually actually defies classification, perfect to get you in the post-Thanksgiving holiday spirit or as a sickly-sweet treat year-round. The cult classic’s best (and worst) storylines is a whole different debate…





Hang a left at Bad Santa, drive on past A Nightmare Before Christmas, and if you hit Krampus you may have gone too far (at least for some Christmas movie fans).


The terrifying tale of the kruel and kreepy Kristmas demon may not be traditional holiday fare, but for horror fans and those seeking something different it’s the perfect spice in the cider of feel-good family films.





The caped crusader may not be the mysterious do-gooder we’re accustomed to seeing this time of year, but in between battling The Penguin and Catwoman, Batman does manage to squeeze some festive fisticuffs into this comic book classic.


It may not end with a turkey dinner or a rousing round of carols, but Batman Returns is just Christmas-y enough to get even the most Scrooge-like fan in the spirit.