Five Alternative Festive Films

So it’s finally December and I can indulge guilt free in some seasonal movie watching. Disclaimer: I’ve never been big on Xmas but this year I’m feeling warm and fuzzy. Also please note, some of these aren’t technically ‘Christmas movies’ in the truest sense they just get me in the mood- go figure.

1-Scrooged –  Of course everybody’s list will have some version of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol on it, that’s practically a given. So this is mine. Unabashedly 80’s featuring Bill Murray at the height of his fame doing his best arrogant but somehow lovable A-hole routine with Indie’s girlfriend. I am particularly fond of the cameo’s in this movie, especially the ‘ghosts’- Carol Kane & John Forsythe!! I’m partial to the song at the end of the movie too. What’s not to like here? Bill Murray + ghosts = winning combo every time. But this is one I remember from my own childhood, so I might be sentimental.

scrooged-bill murray-1988

2-Stardust – A bit slow for an ‘adventure movie’, its none the less a sweet, slightly meandering fantasy with a good heart. I like to think of this one as Neil Gaiman does pantomime, replete with pantomime dame ( Robert De Niro’s wonderful cross-dressing pirate- my favourite role of his) , wicked witch (an ageless Michelle Pfeiffer on her goat drawn chariot) and beautiful princess (Claire Danes, who also happens to be a star), and lots of fun cameos from the UK comedy actors. There’s even a unicorn. It’s freaking lovely. As with Scrooged, I’ll even admit to liking the song at the end.

stardust-michelle pfieffer-2007

3-Rare Exports- Ok want something really different that’ll make a horror lover happy? (Apart from Gremlins, of course ?!) Then I give you Rare Exports.  It’s basically the opposite of anything Hollywood would come up with and it WORKS. In arctic Finland something mysterious is unearthed in an archaeological dig on Christmas eve. Could this dirty old man be the real Santa Claus?  Little boy Pietari (Onni Tommila who totally carries this film) is deeply suspicious and concerned for his own safety, and perhaps rightly so. Full of wonderfully dark humour, it certainly is grim up north!


4-The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo– Primarily the 2009 Swedish original, (because Noomi Rapace IS Lisbeth Salander) but I’ll allow the US remake for truth to source and the haunting, wintery score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Yes, this movie is a thriller, it’s not Christmas heart warmer but, there is a lot of snow! It’s also very atmospheric and there is something very satisfying to the revenge plot and to how the mystery pans out. A perfect combination of firey hot passion and rage versus cold-blooded, calm and calculating.  It just seems to belong to this time of year.


5- Elf– Probably the most traditionally christmassy film on my list but this winning combination of silly and smart-arsed warms the cockles of this cynic’s heart. Buddy is  a ‘real boy’ but has grown up as one of Santa’s elves. Now a grown man, will his birth parents believe him? It doesn’t take itself too seriously and It’s probably my favourite Will Ferrell role (I guess the innocent man-child act is appropriate for Xmas). Elf includes the over the top fantasy stuff of 80’s christmas movies (like santa’s workshop) but does it in a deft, light handed way with a wry wink to the adults throughout. And I’d be lying if I said it were lost on me that Zooey Deschannel is the surly love interest.

Elf- Will Ferrell & Zooey Deschanel 2003

 So there you have it, five festive films that get me in the mood 😉 What’s on your Christmas watch list?



  1. Renee Russell · · Reply

    “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” That’s my email tagline this season. It makes me smile just to say it.


    1. HA HA! And it sounds so terrible out of context too- hope your friends all know the movie Renee! 😀


      1. Renee Russell · ·

        I actually made it my tagline at work. The company I work for was purchased and I am losing my job sometime in January. Our plant in Kentucky is remaining open, but everybody in our Portland, OR office is losing their job. Most people will be done at the end of the year. I just couldn’t resist quoting Buddy from “Elf.” I love the movie, especially the part where he starts singing “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with Jovie while she is in the shower. Love it!


      2. Aw Renee, I’m so sorry. And I really truly know how you feel. Being made redundant is horrible. I’m gutted for you. But proud of you for keeping a chin up with Elf. I hope you don’t mind but I made this for you-
        It’s a free embroidery pattern. That’s my favourite scene in the movie too. B.x


      3. Renee Russell · ·

        I love it and I love that you made it for me; an early Christmas present!

        You know, Bridgeen, it’s all okay. I am tired of working for someone else, so I am going to take the plunge and fulfill a lifelong dream! I just registered for classes at the Floral Design Institute ( I am going to become a Certified Floral Designer and open my own shop. I have wanted to be florist since I was about 14 and I think I’ve waited long enough. I am not sure of every tiny detail yet of how I am going to make it all happen, but I will. I have had so many friends and family respond to me with offers of love and support; it’s been truly awe-inspiring and I feel humbled. I will be done with floral classes around the first of May. I am also taking some small business/entrepreneurship classes offered by one of our local community colleges (for free). I hope to have my shop up and running by next year at this time, if not sooner.

        When life closes a door, it really does open a window.

        All my love, my girl for your Christmas and a very Happy and Prosperous New Year to you!


  2. Renee Russell · · Reply

    Bridgeen, when I go to click on the image, it just takes me to the next image in your flickr feed. It doesn’t actually let me download the image. Just thought you might want to know. I’ve tried it in a couple of different browsers.


    1. Hey Renee, sorry bout that. Turns out you need to click the download button on the bottom right hand corner of the page- and it will load this page where you can choose what size to download. Try this –


  3. […] Watching Xmas movies – some of my fave films are unconventional see favourites here. […]


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