The Best Christmas Movies to Stream on Netflix
Get in the holiday spirit.
December: a time for cheer, a time for festivities, a time for awful "Netflix and chill" jokes (because it's cold outside—get it?). OK, it's just a time for Netflix. With the season upon us, we wrapped the best Christmas movies currently streaming on the platform and placed them under your tree.
If these somehow aren't enough to sate your holiday movie appetite, we also compiled a list of EVERY holiday movie and special coming to Netflix this year. Prepare to have a happy holiday.
Alien Xmas (2020)An all-new stop-motion Christmas special, Alien Xmas is like a throwback to beloved claymation holiday movies like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and The Nightmare Before Christmas. It is set at the North Pole, but this movie from renowned special effects artists the Chiodo Brothers (who worked on the stop-motion sequence in Elf) has a sci-fi twist when aliens try to steal Earth's gravity until one klepto, little grey guy gets the Cindy Lou Who-Grinch treatment when he meets a spirited elf. The animation is inspired, and you know you've seen the Rankin-Bass specials more times than you can count, so you owe it to yourself to try something new and blast off into this holiday movie that's even more out-of-this-world than you're used to.
Black Mirror's "White Christmas" (Season 2, Episode 14)Charlie Brooker's 73-minute Christmas special interweaves three tales of techno-paranoia to tackle the future of dating, hiring personal assistants, and blocking people. Though Jon Hamm's megawatt power can be distracting at times, he's the linchpin of this still-potent 2014 Black Mirror gem, which ends with a resounding WUT?! Fans frequently cite this gripping entry as one of their favorites—if not favorite—and rightfully so. Just be sure to leave your optimism at the door.
The Christmas Chronicles and The Christmas Chronicles 2 (2018; 2020)Kurt Russell is Santa Claus! Repeat: Kurt Russell is Santa Claus! And he proves it's a role he was born to play, making the jolly old guy cool again. In this series, directed by industry veteran Chris Columbus (Home Alone and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone), you get to watch Kurt do his thing as a gruff Santa daddy whose sleigh crashes thanks to some meddling kids, and then team up with those kiddos and Mrs. Claus (played by his real-life wife Goldie Hawn) save the North Pole altogether. Will Christmas be saved? Only one way to find out!
A Christmas Prince (2017)A Christmas Prince is the first title in what has become Netflix's favorite holiday franchise, and the streamer's original release that signaled their intention to outdo Hallmark's annual packed calendar of originals. Following a journalist sent to profile a prince as he prepares to become king around the holidays, it's the ideal kind of movie to settle into if you're eager to embrace an over-the-top holiday tale. Things get pretty royally ridiculous as sparks start to fly between writer and subject, but their chemistry and the palace setting makes this movie reign over other TV movies of the same vein.
Fireplace for Your Home (2013)An experimental film about the decaying phases of a roaring fire. OK, no, it’s a frickin’ yule log. But enjoy its endless crackling!
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)There's no topping Chuck Jones's 1966 TV adaptation of Dr. Seuss' classic kids book, but if anyone could breathe whimsical, wicked life into The Grinch, it's the elastic man himself, Jim Carrey. The lavish production recreates every nook and cranny of Whoville and cakes Carrey in 10 tons of prosthetics; over the course of two zany hours, both the mean, green, Christmas-hating fiend and his targets, the hyper-materialistic Whos, learn a thing or two about being human.
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020)Until Jingle Jangle came along, it had been some time since a massive, star-studded Christmas musical dropped. But with original songs written in part by John Legend, along came Jingle Jangle to ring in another glorious entry to the classic holiday genre. About an inventive toy maker (Forest Whitaker) who was betrayed by his apprentice (Keegan-Michael Key) years ago and embarks on an adventure to reclaim his legacy when his granddaughter shows up at his doorstep, this is a children's movie that's as full of yuletide as Santa's belly is with cookies. At times this one is a bit overwhelming, but replicating holiday classics from yesteryear with a mega-scale, elaborate production and catchy songs, soon enough it'll make you cry tears of joy even if you don't quite understand why.
Klaus (2019)By returning to 2D, hand-drawn animation, writer/director Sergio Pablos (Despicable Me, Smallfoot) creates a contemporary holiday marvel in Klaus. The gorgeous film gives an origin story to Santa and the tradition of children writing him letters by telling the story of a postal service worker named Jesper (Jason Schwartzman) sent to work on a desolate, wintery isle where he eventually meets a reclusive toy maker named Klaus (J.K. Simmons). Rashida Jones and Joan Cusack join an A+ cast that brings their charm, but it's the detailed backdrop of the endearing Nordic-inspired art that gives this movie all the whimsical joy needed to warm your heart around the holidays. We wouldn't be surprised if this goes on to become a new Christmas classic.
A Knight Before Christmas (2019)For some reason, Christmas movies have an affinity of throwing a prince into the mix, whether he's a time-traveling medieval gent or the regal ruler of a fictional European country. Christmas movies—specifically Netflix Christmas movies—also have an affinity for Vanessa Hudgens, making this movie about a knight (Josh Whitehouse) who inexplicably ends up in a modern day where he meets an American high school science teacher (Hudgens) is the thing of Hallmark-ian, sugar plum dreams. So, yes, it's very silly and set at Christmastime solely for the magical vibes (plus that catchy title), but that just adds to the romance, which has the power to make you want to go horseback riding with a man in armor, too!
Let It Snow (2019)Based on a novel co-written by beloved YA authors John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle, Let It Snow is the makings for a holiday teenage dream. It's a rather humble movie, though, following a number of high schoolers—played by an ensemble of charming young actors, including the likes of Shameik Moore, Kiernan Shipka, and Odeya Rush—in a small Illinois town as they sort out their feelings and wishes for the new year as a snowstorm brings them together on Christmas Eve. It's by no means Love Actually, and has a clichéd, over-the-top plot point of a pop star passing through town who takes a detour with a local gal, but it has that lovely Christmas movie quality to make you appreciate the simple things.
Neo Yokio: Pink Christmas (2018)While fans of the Ezra Koenig-helmed, Jaden Smith-voiced anime Neo Yokio have yet to hear news of a Season 2 release date, the series did get a Christmas special. In the flick, Smith's Kaz finds himself overwhelmed with all of the joy and festivities around him, from Secret Santa to family visits, and ultimately is forced to face off with his nemesis, Arcangelo (Jason Schwartzman), who's celebrating the holiday on his own terms. If you want your Christmas with a dash of ironic, self-aware jokes about original content, Pink Christmas is your jam.
Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special (1988)Where can you see Little Richard ice skate, Charo perform a musical number, and Magic Johnson go sledding? At Pee-Wee's Playhouse, and only Pee-Wee's Playhouse, of course! Those stars and so many more swing by Pee-Wee Herman's for a very festive rendition of the variety show that makes the average holiday special seem dull. Put it on, pour out a glass of eggnog, and see if you can name every guest star in this extremely '80s holiday special.
The Princess Switch and The Princess Switch: Switched Again (2018; 2020)Disney meets Hallmark in The Princess Switch, a Netflix original that throws familiarity and all-things merry and bright into a mixing bowl for a formulaic but confectionary family movie. A modern telling of The Prince and the Pauper, we get double the Vanessa Hudgens as she plays the duchess of the fictional Montenaro who gets her chance at experiencing regular life with an American accent when she miraculously meets a baker in Chicago who happens to look exactly like her. It's set during Christmas for extra-magical coincidences, and of course sparks fly for the both of the women while on their respective adventures. Sometimes Christmas movies are the most watchable (even if they're technically bad) when they've got just enough suspension of reality to whisk away your heart. If you thought that two Vanessa Hudgenses were simply not enough, there's a sequel where a third lookalike (and maybe the best one of the franchise!) crashes the party.
A Very Murray Christmas (2015)"We've got food, we've got booze, we've got attractive people"—this is a real line from this Bill Murray-led holiday romp. Also, a bit of an understatement. George Clooney, Chris Rock, Miley Cyrus, Amy Poehler, Jason Schwartzman, Michael Cera, Maya Rudolph, Rashida Jones, and Paul Shaffer are all on hand to argue, laugh, and make your Christmas Eve feel a little like a star-studded night of karaoke. Clocking in at less than an hour, the Sofia Coppola-helmed special is well worth a watch if any of the names above make you smile.
White Christmas (1954)Sometimes the most comforting choice is the best choice. Elevated by joyful performances from Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen, this warm Snuggie of a movie doesn't push against any conventions of the holiday season, subvert any Yuletide tropes, or even make that much sense. But none of that matters when you've got scenes like the above.
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