The holiday season brings with it the familiar jingle of festive tunes, the warmth of twinkling lights, and the joy of gathering with loved ones. While classics like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol” often take center stage, there exists a treasure trove of lesser-known Christmas movies that exude charm and holiday magic.
Here’s a list of the most underrated Christmas movies that deserve a spot on your festive watchlist.
- “The Ref” (1994)
A dark comedy starring Denis Leary, “The Ref” offers a unique take on Christmas chaos when a cat burglar, played by Leary, unwittingly becomes a mediator for a dysfunctional family held hostage on Christmas Eve. Its sharp humor and unconventional narrative make it a hidden gem in the Christmas movie genre.
- “The Family Stone” (2005)
This heartfelt ensemble dramedy, featuring an all-star cast including Sarah Jessica Parker, Diane Keaton, and Rachel McAdams, explores the dynamics of a family gathering during the holidays. With its blend of humor, emotion, and a touch of romance, “The Family Stone” is a poignant and underrated Christmas film.
- “Mixed Nuts” (1994)
Directed by Nora Ephron, this quirky comedy follows the chaotic events at a crisis hotline on Christmas Eve. Starring Steve Martin, Rita Wilson, and Madeline Kahn, “Mixed Nuts” delivers offbeat humor and unexpected twists, providing a refreshing departure from traditional holiday fare.
- “The Polar Express” (2004)
While “The Polar Express” has gained recognition, it often stands in the shadow of other animated Christmas classics. This visually stunning film, based on the beloved book by Chris Van Allsburg, takes viewers on a magical train journey to the North Pole, emphasizing the spirit of belief and wonder.
- “Arthur Christmas” (2011)
A delightful animated film that imagines Santa’s operation as a high-tech mission, “Arthur Christmas” follows the clumsy but endearing Arthur as he sets out to ensure a little girl’s Christmas wish is fulfilled. This modern take on the Santa Claus tale is a heartwarming addition to the holiday movie lineup.
- “The Holiday” (2006)
Although appreciated by many, “The Holiday” often doesn’t receive the recognition it deserves. This romantic comedy, directed by Nancy Meyers, features Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet as two women who exchange homes for the holidays, leading to unexpected love and self-discovery.
- “Joyeux Noël” (2005)
For those seeking a unique and thought-provoking Christmas film, “Joyeux Noël” offers a compelling experience. Based on a true story, the movie depicts the spontaneous truce between soldiers on the Western Front during World War I on Christmas Eve. It explores themes of humanity, unity, and the power of peace.
As you prepare to deck the halls and settle in for a cozy movie night, consider adding these underrated films to your watchlist. They may not have the same level of recognition as the classics, but their charm, humor, and heartwarming stories make them hidden gems that can truly brighten your holiday season.