Christmas movies really are a different breed of film. Not only can Christmas movies be objectively awful and still be widely enjoyed, but they can also become relative classics simply because they’re… well, Christmassy. With the entire festive season so heavily steeped in tradition, many movies have entered the seasonal rotation – but some of them don’t really belong there, strictly speaking.
Of all the things that tend to define Christmas movies – like dysfunctional festive families, excessive snow, and the general spirit of giving – one of the most important is that they’re actually about Christmas. At the very least, Christmas movies should heavily feature the holiday in question, right? Well, wrong, apparently – there are plenty of Christmas flicks that don’t really concern the season of giving whatsoever.
Whether they’re movies with broad appeal that just happen to be set at Christmas time, films marketed as festive fare that don’t bother to use their own seasonal gimmick, or just movies that have somehow worked themselves into the average Christmas rotation for some inexplicable or bizarre reason, there are plenty of Christmas movies that aren’t about Christmas. That isn’t to say that they can’t be considered Christmas classics, just that it’s a little strange that they’re associated with a season that they don’t necessarily embrace as much as other movies. Regardless, here are eight “Christmas” movies that aren’t actually about Christmas at all.
8. Lethal Weapon (1987)
Well over three decades after its release, there’s still no sign that Lethal Weapon is “too old for this s**t“. It’s one of the 1980s’ most iconic action movies, combining the talents of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover to mark the beginnings of one of the most well-loved action franchises of all time. In some circles, it’s also considered something of a Christmas movie.
Though its Christmas connection isn’t always considered, there is a healthy contingent of fans who include it in their seasonal rotation. This is primarily because Lethal Weapon is set at Christmastime, and features a number of Christmas songs. However, it’s also set in Los Angeles, so there’s no snow or even particularly cold weather on display, making its status as a Christmas movie tenuous at best.
While there are plenty of Christmas decorations on display throughout the background of the film, nothing about its story really relies upon its festive setting. It’s acknowledged by characters a few times during the movie, but its story primarily concerns Riggs and Murtaugh getting to know one another while busting a huge drug ring run by former-Spec Ops mercenaries. It doesn’t really deliver those festive feels, but some still consider it a Christmas movie regardless.