HomeFilmAlternative Christmas Films for the 2022 festive season

Alternative Christmas Films for the 2022 festive season

Following on from last year’s list of 11 alternative Christmas films, Mark Searby returns with some more festive films that are not your usual viewing selection at this time of year.

Expect popular blockbusters, a few classics and some hidden gems! Keep reading to find out which films you should be adding to your watchlist this month…

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Some might suggest this isn’t a Christmas film at all. However, the end of the film see’s Spider-Man swing through the streets of New York at Christmas time. He even swings past the iconic Christmas tree outside 30 Rockefeller Plaza before heading directly into the camera and the film finishing.

A Sesame Street Christmas Carol

A Sesame Street version of Charles Dickens classic Christmas tale with Oscar the Grouch (who else?) in the Ebenezer Scrooge role. Split into five chapters and released direct to DVD back in 2006. This adaptation pulls a strange movie in having the ghosts that visit Oscar all CG animated rather than being actual muppets. The film ends with Oscar realising that there are things to enjoy about Christmas Day.


Another horror film at Christmas? Well, they are big business. However, this one is made up of 24 short films from different directors including Ruggero Deodato, Lucky McKee and Sam Wineman amongst others. This anthology has a few duds, however there are plenty of good-to-great shorts on offer especially the one about an angry Christmas shopping having a punch-up in-store.

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer

With a title like this you’d expect it to be a horror film. Quite the opposite. It’s an animated comedy fantasy musical film ending up as a courtroom drama. Yep, it’s all those and a few more bits. Adapted from an original song written by Randy Brooks and sung by Elmo and Patsy Trigg Shropshire back in 1979. The film was released in 2000. It doesn’t outstay it’s welcome with its fifty-one-minute runtime and is actually quite an enjoyable watch.

Home For the Holidays

A made-for-TV slasher flick from 1972 that starred Sally Field and Jessica Walter. Rarely spoken about when Christmas slasher flicks come up and that’s mainly to do with its soap opera-ness of acting and story-telling. But it’s no surprise as the film was exec-produced by Mr American Soap Opera himself Aaron Spelling. Any respectable horror film fan will be able to pick out the killer within 15 minutes of the film starting.

The Ice Harvest

John Cusack plays a mob lawyer who tries to flee town on Christmas Eve after stealing money from his mobster boss. But icy roads put paid to his plan and he has to sit tight in town until the roads thaw out. This neo-noir black comedy is an enjoyable watch. Cusack is in entertaining form and plays off partner-in-crime Billy Bob Thornton very well. Directed with zip and bags of humour by Harold Ramis, this is an underrated comedy crime Christmas caper.

Christmas In Tatter Town

Creator/writer/animator Ralph Bakshi originally planned this film as a pilot for a TV show. Sadly that show never happened and all we are left with is this twenty-nine-minute animated feature where things that are discarded come alive. Yes, it’s a bit like ‘Toy Story’. But twisted and weird and adult, as to be expected with most of Bakshi’s work.

Santa Camp

A brand-new documentary for 2022. It follows the hundreds of people who descend on a campsite in New Hampshire every summer to learn the tricks of the trade to be the best professional Santa Clause. The documentary proves enlightened viewing as it gives a detailed history lesson on the camp and many of its members. The doc does focus mainly on three unconventional budding Santa Clauses – one Black, one trans and one with a disability. This is to help shine a light on how the camp are trying to bring about more diversity to the character of Santa. It’s an engrossing and heart-warming documentary.

The Ghost of Greville Lodge

Youngster James Greville is invited to spend Christmas with his Great-Uncle at his manor house – Greville Lodge. While there, James finds himself being transported back to Christmas 1939 and experiencing everything that went with Christmas at war time. Billed as a “traditional ghost story for the whole family”, this time-travel film lacks any scares or frights and the mystery isn’t that intriguing. In fact, the only thing it has going for it is the teaming of George Cole and Prunella Scales, who ham it up very well.

Fanny & Alexander

Ingmar Bergman’s period drama opens on Christmas Eve with a lavish party that would be a show-stopper at any time of year. However, the film is much more than just it’s opening. It’s a story about family and love and home and comfort and overindulgence. In fact, there are so many things this film hits with its themes and messages that it possibly covers ever film genre… just about. Released in 1982 with a runtime of 182 minutes, it was then expanded onto TV for a runtime of 312 minutes, and if you ask most F&A fans which version they prefer then they will likely go for the 5+ hour one. It’s debatable whether this is Bergman’s best film. One thing that can be said is that this much-loved Christmas film follows a very different path than your usual festive favourites.

Mark Searby
Mark Searby
Film critic for BBC Local Radio. Author of Al Pacino: The Movies Behind The Man. Addict of The Wire. Long-suffering supporter of NFFC.

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