Every year, the holiday cycle repeats itself in a near-identical fashion–Halloween passes, November arrives and winter music and decorations hit the shelves before one can say the word ‘Thanksgiving.’ Although the hustle and bustle of the holidays isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, the films that come with the season can be. With some students struggling to contain their excitement for winter break, streaming sites are a student’s best friend in the final weeks of the semester. While household name favorites include Elf and The Santa Clause, the following six films are alternative holiday films that may not be the first a student thinks to stream once December hits.
- Unaccompanied Minors
While this may not be of the highest acting caliber, Unaccompanied Minors fell just short of becoming a holiday household movie name. A film about children lost in an airport, discovering the ‘true meaning’ of Christmas, it follows the long-running coattails of Home Alone, a modern tradition in many homes throughout the season. The movie isn’t available on streaming sites like Netflix or Hulu, but it can be rented from the Amazon Video store for as low as $2.99.
- New Year’s Eve
Ensemble casts aren’t well-known for taking the cinematic cake, but the sort-of-sequel to 2010’s Valentine’s Day almost proved critics wrong. With a connected-by-fate nature between each character, the film is designed to create empathy for each relationship, even crossing over to the real-life Rockin’ Eve special in Times Square. This lesser-known holiday film might be one to hit students’ radars this month, but they won’t find it for less than $3.99 on iTunes and Amazon Video.
- Four Christmases
Vince Vaughn is a comedy favorite, best known for films like Wedding Crashers and Dodgeball, so this movie on the list is definitely not the first that movie watchers remember of Vaughn’s filmography. Alongside Reese Witherspoon, the film follows a couple who must visit each of their parents individually before the season ends. Relatable to those with in-laws, students might recall a little piece of home. This title is available on both iTunes and Amazon Video for a $3.99 rental fee.
- Christmas with the Kranks
This movie made homes all over the country desire honey ham more than ever before, yet it is one of the most underrated holiday films. Very similarly-natured to titles like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, the film documents a fictional married couple’s preparation for a Christmas at home–with the entire family. Slapstick and adult humor flow through this film, which is readily available for streaming on Hulu, as well as Amazon Video for $3.99.
While this film is commonly considered a cinematic classic of the last several decades, very few consider it a typical holiday film; in fact, many forget that it is holiday-esque at all. Cute, furry animals roam and play in the daytime, but don’t feed them after midnight–that’s where the trouble begins for one teenager. This sci-fi fantasy film about the consequences to accidental actions is a family favorite, and it all starts with an innocently-given Christmas gift. The film is available on the popular streaming site, Netflix, but is available for rental on Amazon Video and iTunes as well.
- The Holiday
The director of The Holiday is the same individual who brought Something’s Gotta Give, so it’s quite a puzzler that it never gained true mainstream success. One of Kate Winslet’s only romance films after Titanic, the story follows two young women who embark on holiday vacations after struggling with men at home, where they meet locals in their holiday countries and fall in love. Commonly considered a ‘chick flick,’ this romantic comedy has fallen short of many lists of memorable holiday films, but it is generally considered to be one of the most underrated of the holiday films. The Holiday can be streamed on Hulu, so there’s little reason for students not to form their own opinion on this title, as well as the five others on this list.