If the Christmas movie formula is getting too old for you, there are still plenty of winter films that are true gems you may have forgotten which doesn’t include Die Hard or Jingle All the Way. On a side note, I really wanted to put Mermaids on this list, but I thought it would be pushing it just for a scene-stealing New Year’s scene. Why I still have never seen anyone dress up as Cher as a mermaid is still beyond us, best fancy dress costume ever! There are so many winter gems like Eternal Sunshine and the Spotless Mind Here that was definitely on our list but didn’t make the final cut, but that’s okay, we can always save them as Valentine’s Alternatives!

So here it is, we have rounded up some of our favorites from traditional, funny, to Christmas creepy, the season is also a reminder of climate change, but most of all, full of inspirational sweaters and lots of alternative hygge!

20. I, Tonya
I don’t remember watching the Olympic winter games earlier this year, but I clearly remember being little and having Tonya Harding all over the news. I think this follows the ongoing winter theme of class struggles and mishaps.

19. Coming to America
If Christmas movies are about princes looking for their princesses, then this is the ultimate fairytale Christmas classic.

18. The Good Son
The Good Son is a good very bad movie and a good Macaulay Culkin alternative if you can’t do another year of Home Alone. If you weren’t around in the 90s, this movie was 100% clickbait that saw Home Alone fans walk in as families for this viewing that could be described as some sort of Fatal Attraction for kids.

17. Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
Also known as Furyo, this cult classic is also where I first discovered Takeshi Kitano and the theme song from Ryuichi Sakamota is always a staple on my Christmas playlist right up with Mariah. While Christmas isn’t the setting or plot of the movie, it is a reminder of the horrors of war which is easy to forget while we are busy unwrapping gifts from under the tree and that when we wish for Peace on Earth that we actually mean it.

16. Bitter Moon
We could easily make a list of the top Hugh Grant holiday movies (Love Actually, Bridget Jones Diary, About a Boy, Paddington 2), somehow he always find himself in a joyous alternative universe, but barely do we ever see a mention of this forgotten film. Bitter Moon gave us our first peek at Grant’s holiday potential and the darkness he can easily guard.

15. Snowpiercer
Now that Boon Joon-ho is a household name and a producer on the series, it may time to watch the film before the series returns with Season 4. While the movie and the series very much follow two different stories, both explore the intersectionality of class and climate change without sounding too preachy and the masked men are dressed very on trend, but who isn’t in an apocalyptic film. What the movie has that the series doesn’t are screen stealers Tilda Swinton and Octavia Spencer. If you want you want to continue a winter theme binge with these two stars, follow up with Suspira (2018) and the Shape of Water (2017).

14. Strange Days
I was thinking about how New Years movies rarely make lists. Strange Days is tied up there with Waiting to Exhale, can we just making Angela Bassett the queen of New Year’s movies? If Y2K is your look, then you can’t miss this Kathryn Bigelow cult classic. While made in 1995, it is not the only unconventional holiday movie that year as also had the classic 12 Monkeys set to a Christmas-like background. If you want to continue a 90s binge make sure to include David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ.

13. Trading Places
Every Christmas I have to watch Trading Places, maybe because my Christmas wish every year is to see all of the white collar criminals go to jail or maybe because this holiday classic is still socially relevant and if you are looking for a movie to show that obnoxious family member that still doesn’t believe or understand institutional racism, its time to make Trading Places a holiday classic in your family.

12. Dan in Real Life
Ever watched too much of The Office and can’t quite validate your Michael Scott crush? Thankfully you can get your Steve Carell kick in this romantic comedy that you can easily watch with your mom. It was actually my mom who introduced me to this film and saw Michael, I mean Dan, I mean Steve, in a whole new light.

11. Children of Men
Like Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, Children of Men isn’t exactly a Christmas movie, but in so many ways it is. I would also recommend this to The Handmaid’s Tale’s fans out there as both stories are the results in a world that, in addition to the mysterious drought of pregnancies, is being torn apart by war, climate change, disease and genocide.. But what makes it feel like Christmas is the miraculous pregnancy which makes it reminiscent of the Biblical naivety story.

10. Antichrist
I completely loved hated this movie when it came out, but there is something about Lars von Trier from The Kingdom, to Nymphomaniac to The House That Jack Built that just carries an unconventional holiday mood. This portrait of grief can easily be seen as misogynistic, I have go back and forth on subject each time I see it, but I tend to find anything that hinges on the dark whether its Exorcist or Gremlins is best viewed during the holidays because at the end of the day, the holiday cheer will cheer you up after a fright.

9. Peter’s Friends
It’s a Sin was the best TV show I’ve seen in years and will be watching again this winter, but since this is a movie list, I’ve put down Peter’s Friends as it was the first film that introduced me to Stephen Fry and opened up the doors to so many more stories exploring lead gay characters.

8. Batman Returns
If we didn’t have Tim Burton’s Batman Returns, I don’t know if he would have furthered his winter wonderworlds like in Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Sweeny Todd. If you weren’t around then, you wouldn’t know how he pretty much invented the dark winter aesthetic. What makes Batman Returns so special, is that it doesn’t focus on being with family during Christmas, but being alone.

7. Silent Night
There have been several end-of-the-world movies on the list, but somehow this one is on the lighter side full of dark humor and with a cast that can bring out the bright side of the bleakest story.

6. Prometheus
I don’t know if Idris Elba decorating a Christmas tree is enough to make this a Christmas movie, but I see both the Alien and Blade Runner franchises to be fitting for Christmas. Perhaps its because of the questions or origins, reproduction, creation, and souls. However, HBO Max singled out Prometheus as the perfect Christmas story making the case that it deals with “relevant themes of faith, touches upon a story that’s told around the world and is technically about “wise men” following a star”, can’t argue with that.

5. Fargo
Fargo usually appears on Best Movies Ever lists but rarely holiday movies. I’m adding it, because it’s full of parkas, boots, sweaters, and turtlenecks, not to mention you can watch it way past the holidays easily into early spring. Watch the trailer for a new spin on the classic story!

4. Rent
Who doesn’t love a holiday musical whether its Sound of Music, Chicago, or White Christmas! Rent covers everything from gentrification to the AIDS epidemic. If you don’t like musicals, please don’t give it ago, I had a boyfriend who dumped me for taking him to see it in the West End, yes, some people really don’t find the musicals as the appropriate place to sing about such heavy subjects, but if that’s not you, then you can find the holiday joy in song!

3. Eyes Wide Shut
There are some wonderful holiday montages/scenes where you least expect them like in Boogie Nights and Showgirls, but nothing quite carries the full holiday hygge into a psychosexual adventure quite like Eyes Wide Shut. If you haven’t seen it yet, this holiday season you might just find yourself falling down the rabbit hole.

2. City of the Lost Children
City of the Lost Children is a real fairy tale not for children. It has replaced Brazil as the most dark Christmas fantasy movie and directors Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet did such a good job at creating the cozy but haunting Christmas atmosphere that everything they have done since still carries a holiday feel-not-so-good mood for me. As if the aesthetics weren’t strong enough, Jean-Paul Gaultier also did the costume. If you want to continue a JPG binge follow up with a watching of The Cook The Thief His Wife and Her Lover which also has enough red velevet for the holiday season.

I wanted to put The Shining on the list, but that would make two Kubrick films and two Stephen King novels. At the end of the day Misery is the best antidote to any Hallmark production. Its full of snow, New England, flannels, along with everything that Hallmarks leaves on the cutting room floor from psychosis, bipolar disorder, personality disorder, to the delusions of grandiosity.