Best. Christmas. Ever!
Image: Scott Everett White/Netflix"Best. Christmas. Ever!"

The best Christmas movies on Netflix to watch this season

Netflix is your streaming home for the holidays, complete with classics and new gems.

Written by: Danielle Valente
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When the weather outside is frightful, nothing warms the soul better than the glow of the television set. Over the last few years, many networks and streamers have muscled in on the Hallmark Channel’s corner of the corny Christmas movie market, but none have churned out the veritable avalanche of holiday cheer like Netflix. Every season for the past decade or so, the platform has produced masses of winkingly cheesy, unabashedly saccharine yuletide content, to the point where its catalogue is currently bulging like an overstuffed stocking. 

But not all Christmas movies are created equal. Sure, the stories may be awfully similar, but the quality can vary wildly. Ideally, you want something that hits that spot between sweet and silly, striking a good balance between romcom absurdity and a genuine expression of seasonal joy. So let us help you sort the proverbial shiny new bikes from the lumps of coal. Here are the best Christmas movies to stream on Netflix this year. 

Recommended:

🎅 The 50 best Christmas movies of all-time
🎄 The best kids Christmas movies to watch this year
🤶 The best Disney Christmas movies to stream for the holidays
😱 The 18 best scary Christmas horror movies

Christmas movies on Netflix

Playwright David E Talbert enters the Christmas canon with this Netflix original starring Forest Whitaker as an aloof toymaker tasked with caring for his estranged granddaughter on Christmas. An old-school musical fantasy brought to life through new-school VFX and cutting-edge choreography, the film is extremely busy and a little unfocused – not that most viewers would notice. They’ll be too busy being dazzled by the explosive visuals and genuine heart at the core of the film. Rated PG.

2. A Boy Called Christmas (2021)

Or perhaps it should be called ‘A Portrait of Santa Claus as a Young Man’. In this British film, Jolly Old St Nick is just Nickolas, a boy with a talking mouse for a friend setting out on an adventure across a wintry landscape in search of his father, who ends up becoming a legend. Wide-eyed and imaginative, it’ll leave the young ones in the family with their mouths agape.

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3. Single All the Way (2021)

Hulu beat Netflix in the race to release a queer-themed holiday romcom with the Kristen Stewart-Aubrey Plaza vehicle Happiest Season, but its reluctance to fully embrace the clichés of its genre relegated the movie to ‘passing seasonal buzz’ status. Single All the Way has no such problem, and as a result endures as the better option for an evergreen holiday watch. Peter (Michael Urie) and Nick (Philemon Chambers) are best friends who pretend to be a couple to appease the former’s family.. but would you believe they eventually start to develop real romantic feelings for each other? Get out of town!

4. Best. Christmas. Ever! (2023)

Netflix’s annual B-list holiday original for 2023 pits Heather Graham against Brandy Norwood in a passive-aggressive war of yuletide glee. When the two former college buddies serendipitously reunite over the holidays, the former sets out to prove that the latter’s life isn’t as perfect as her obnoxious yearly Christmas letters make it out to be. It doesn’t quite have the intrigue of last year’s Lindsay Lohan comeback vehicle, Falling For Christmas, but Graham and Brandy sounds like an onscreen pairing we never knew we needed until now.

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5. Klaus (2019)

This oddball origin story of Santa Klaus is the first animated feature from Netflix, and features Klaus (Oscar-winner J. K. Simmons), a large, bearded man with a knack for toymaking but who doesn't have much interest in children, Jesper (Jason Schwartzman), the worst postal carrier ever and Alva (Rashida Jones), a cynical teacher. They live in Smeerensburg, the unhappiest place on Earth. If it sounds like a grump-fest, well yes, that's the setup. But don't worry: Icy hearts melt, and even Smeerensburg can find joy. Rated PG. 
 

6. The Christmas Chronicles (2018)

What’s better than getting Kurt Russell to play Santa in a tale about two modern-age kids obsessed with capturing the Jolly Ol’ Fat Man on film? Getting Goldie Hawn to play Mrs Claus in the 2020 sequel, of course. These films are the heirs apparent to The Santa Clause, stripped of those films’ cynical trappings and offering a jolt of comfort and joy. Rated PG.

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7. Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square (2020)

In this modern flip of the Christmas Carol formula, Christine Baranski is a Scroogey real estate developer planning to pave over her hometown and put up a shopping mall, until she’s visited by an apparition of Dolly Parton who uses the power of music to convince her to change her ways. Hey, if Dolly can’t do it, nothing will! You may think you’ve seen this all before, but c’mon: it’s Dolly Parton. You’ll watch it and love it, you old curmudgeon!

  • Film
White Christmas (1954)
White Christmas (1954)

When Clark Griswold famously promised the ‘hap-hap-happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny (expletive deleted) Kaye,’ he was talking about this gloriously old-fashioned musical about two World War II vets who become famous stage performers. Expect snow, old-fashioned romance and a whole lot of cheer in one of the season’s most enduring confections packed with holiday classics by Irving Berlin. Not rated

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9. Falling For Christmas (2022)

It seems that every year the streaming gods gift us with a delicious cheese-log of a holiday romance starring an actor whose name alone makes you think, ‘Well, I gotta watch that.’ This season, it’s a Lindsay Lohan comeback vehicle about an amnesiac hotel heiress falling for a handsome outdoorsman, played by Glee star Chord Overstreet, aka ‘Great Value Chris Hemsworth’. Just the kind of inessential fluff Christmas is made for.

10. The Princess Switch (2018)

Part Prince and the Pauper, part The Parent Trap, this rom-com features Vanessa Hudgens as a humble baker who swaps places with the princess of a vaguely European country just in time for the holidays. A threequel debuts November 18, making this an enduring holiday series that will likely continue for as long as royalty remains unable to detect American accents and traces of flour and baking powder on gowns. Rated PG.

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11. Angela's Christmas (2017)

Irish author Frank McCourt’s bleak Angela’s Ashes doesn’t exactly scream holiday cheer, but this adaptation of the author’s unlikely children’s book Angela and the Baby Jesus proves that the holidays can brighten even the saddest of real-life tales. Told via animation that exudes a hearth-like radiance, it’s a tale of familial love’s ability to warm even the coldest of winters. The unlikely charmer was cheery enough to garner a sequel, Angela’s Christmas Wish, which is also available and worth a watch. Rated G.

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