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Who's the biggest criminal in your favourite Christmas film?

The Grinch stealing a Christmas present

It’s December. We know the drill: the halls are decked, George Michael is on rotation and we’re watching our favourite festive classics, a plate of mince pies resting on our bellies.

And look, we don’t want to burst anyone’s bubbles here, but some of the so-called heroes in our favourite films skirt dangerously close to criminal activity when you really take a look at what they get up to.

We don’t need to tell you Kevin McAllister is a pint-sized psychopath, but what about all these other Christmas classics?

These are some of the biggest criminals from Christmas films.

The Santa Clause

A fun 90s Christmas film in which Tim Allen, a divorced father of a 6-year-old son, turns into Santa Clause. Right? Sure, except for the fact that the entire premise rests on Allen’s character, Scott Calvin, literally murdering Santa Clause right at the start of the film. And then he’s forced—legally, forced—into taking on the job himself. First of all, this brings up some tricky issues around retribution (the killer gets the job? Where’s the justice for Old Saint Nick?).

Then there’s the coercion angle: the rapid enforced weight gain, the sprouting white beard, the annual Christmas rush he’s going to have to spend away from his loving son. Well, he is a murderer, after all! Maybe it’s a fitting punishment. But does this mean Father Christmas is nothing but a long line of ever-changing Santa-killers? Keep him away from my chimney.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

All right, all right: the Grinch is not supposed to be a ‘good guy’. Hating Christmas is baked right into his character description. He just wants to live a life of solitude and quiet (not unlike, some may argue, Ted Kaczynski). It’s not his fault: he was neglected as a child—something we know has been linked to serial killers.

Plus, there’s the whole medical issue of a shrunken heart that is arguably beyond his control. If anything, the Grinch is a victim. Still, does this excuse him trying to steal Christmas from innocent children? It does not. Break the cycle of abuse.

The Holiday

Things we know about Jude Law’s character in The Holiday. He is the father of two little girls. He is a widower. He has a cow. He is at the pub every single night. Who are those children with while he’s spending his evenings boozing and wooing Cameron Diaz? At the very least, there’s some child neglect going on here.

The Snowman

Child abduction.

Jingle All the Way

Christmas? Try crime-fest. Sinbad’s character, Myron, kicks things off by choking a woman. Things don’t get much better from there as he is the arch-nemesis of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character, Howard, as they fight to find the must-have toy.

There follows criminal damage on a police motorbike, a Christmas crime ring comprised of Santas who Arnie then takes on in one of Jingle All The Way's many violent scenes and a whole ‘postman with a bomb’ episode.

Plus, there’s everything that goes on at the Christmas parade, with both characters crashing it before Myron grabs Howard’s son Jamie and almost kills him.

And who could forget Howard breaking into his neighbour’s home to steal a child’s present, almost setting it on fire, lobbing a flaming ball through the window at the waiting Christmas carollers and then physically assaulting a reindeer? The 90s: they were a different time.


The film in which Martin Freeman harasses his ex-girlfriend, with endless calls and messages, before turning up at her place of work. Not cute.


Father Christmas himself kicks off the crime in this family classic when he kidnaps Buddy from an orphanage and takes him to the North Pole. Accidentally, yes, but does he return him? He does not.

Buddy continues the capers when he sets himself up in a department store. Sure, he makes the children’s department a winter wonderland but is that how the NYPD would see things? Trespassing is more like it.

A Muppet Christmas Carol

Scrooge violates so many workplace laws, here. Bah humbug is right.

Nightmare Before Christmas

We know: the clue is in the title. But look, that Jack Skellington is a menace. Not content with scaring the people in the ‘real world’, he had to go after Christmas Town and take over the festive season, as well. He had Halloween, didn’t he? Wasn’t that enough? Apparently not, because he then proceeds to kidnap Santa and put him at mortal risk with Oogie Boogie, who gambles freely with Santa’s life. Truly a Christmas nightmare


They’re hairy little terrorists.