A Reminder on What Is and Is Not A Christmas Movie

On Christmas Eve, Jordan Peel claimed "Get Out" qualified as a Christmas movie. As the article I linked to points out, he clearly wasn't entirely serious, and I found his arguments entertaining. But since this isn't the only time this year I saw a movie somewhat haphazardly labeled a Christmas movie, I thought I'd take a minute and revisit the concept.

Here at Mainlining Christmas, we have rather extensive criteria for determining whether a movie qualifies, but that's not what I'm talking about today. I want to look at a more straightforward definition.

When people call movies like Get Out Christmas movies, what they really mean is that they're movies that can be watched at Christmas. But that's literally any movie.

I'd argue a better litmus test would be this: is the movie better watched at Christmas than at other times of the year? Or, to put it another way:

Is it worse when seen at times that aren't Christmas?

If there aren't elements (music, setting, characters) whose presence is less effective outside of Christmas, there's no reason to call it a Christmas movie. If you love the movie and want to watch it at Christmas (either as a tradition or just because you feel like it), go ahead. There's no law against that - not even here.

I've seen Get Out. While it does contain a few elements tangentially related to Christmas (and, with a few changes to the script, could have been set at Christmas), nothing directly connects it to the holiday. As such, nothing would be diminished by watching it any other time of the year. The same isn't true of Die Hard (for example). The music, the themes, and the setting resonate more strongly during the holidays than other times of the year - Die Hard IS a Christmas movie.

Oh, and just so there's no confusion, while Get Out isn't a Christmas movie, it's an absolutely phenomenal achievement in cinema that everyone should watch, regardless of when they get around to it. It's one of the year's best movies, and I honestly wish it was set at Christmas, so I'd have an excuse to review it here.