7 unconventional holiday movies for an unconventional holiday season

Dina Barrish

Whether you’re watching on the couch with your family or virtually with your friends, it’s time to skip “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and check out some less common holiday movies. 

Grab some popcorn: Here are seven unconventional Christmas features you won’t want to miss. 

“Little Women” 
Available on Hulu and Amazon Prime with Starz add-on
Though not technically about Christmas, anyone can recognize the holiday themes of family, love, loyalty and togetherness. Follow the March sisters — Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy — as they pursue their dreams and feel inspired to conquer your resolutions come New Year’s. Come for Greta Gerwig, stay for Timothée Chalamet.  

Available on Hulu and Amazon Prime with Starz add-on
Speaking of New Year’s, few people know that this musical-turned-movie spans the entire holiday season. The story of struggling artists and musicians in New York City starts on Christmas Eve and wraps up on Christmas the following year. Sip some hot chocolate as you watch Mark, Roger, Mimi, Angel, Collins and Maureen live “La Vie Bohème.” 

“Happiest Season” 
Available on Hulu
Released on Nov. 25, this contemporary Christmas classic brings to light the LGBTQ+ holiday experience. At her family’s Christmas party, a woman planning to propose to her girlfriend finds out that not only do her girlfriend’s conservative parents not know about their partnership, but also that she hasn’t even come out to them. It’s a refreshing spin on the holiday romance trope we all know too well. 

“The Search for Santa Paws”
Available on Hulu and Amazon Prime with HBO add-on or on HBO Max
Thirty-three percent of Americans have considered getting a pet during the COVID-19 pandemic. Spread the holiday cheer to your furry friends with this lighthearted Christmas movie about a homeless dog whose heroic feats and rescues earn him the title of “Santa Paws.” It’s the ulti-”mutt” feel-good feature. 

“Rocky IV”
Available to rent on Amazon and iTunes
Set in Soviet Russia, “Rocky IV” is often referred to as the Cold War Rocky movie. Rocky Balboa fights Ivan Drago on Dec. 25, and Rocky’s entire training montage takes place in a snowy log cabin. Plus, the whole movie centers around fighting — an inevitable holiday hallmark. 

“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” 
Available to rent on Amazon and iTunes
Wizardry isn’t the only magic in the air — besides leading Hogwarts in a defense mission against new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor Dolores Umbridge, Harry Potter kisses Cho Chang under the mistletoe. Talk about Christmas spirit. 

“Let it Snow” 
Available on Netflix
Adapted from the novel by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle, this holiday rom-com features a group of high schoolers who connect during a snowstorm on Christmas Eve. Watch heartbreak, friendship and love transform the characters come Christmas morning.