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Photograph: Gareth Gatrell, courtesy of NetflixJingle Jangle

The best Christmas movies on Netflix

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

Written by
Andy Kryza
Written by
Danielle Valente

Watch out, Hallmark: Netflix is making a play to steal Christmas courtesy of a dozen brand-new holiday offerings. But while the verdict is still out on whether Grumpy Christmas will become a classic to stand alongside It’s A Wonderful Life and Christmas Vacation (not to be all ‘bah humbug!’, but… probably not), the streamer’s roster of holiday fare is already pretty stacked. 

Playing the role of good little elves, we scoured its catalogue to separate the diamonds from the coal. Among the cinematic gifts are Netflix originals, animated gems, certified classics and enough festive cheese to fill a platter. Grab some eggnog and nestle up to the fire (or the Yule Log… also available to stream for hours on end!): These are the best Christmas movies on Netflix.

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.

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. 

A Very Murray Christmas (2015)
Photograph: Ali Goldstein, courtesy of Netflix

4. A Very Murray Christmas (2015)

Perhaps the best way to introduce children to the wonders of Bill Murray without scaring them witless by putting on Scrooged (or Garfield, for that matter), this old-school variety show-style special finds the Ghostbusters star snowed-in for the holidays. Luckily, he’s stuck with bartender/New York Dolls frontman David Johansen, plus guest stars Miley Cyrus, George Clooney, Michael Cera, Rashida Jones, Chris Rock, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Paul Shaffer and others. Sofia Coppola directs, obviously, in a musical comedy showcase that is guaranteed to please adults and kids alike. Rated PG.


Santa experiences a slight fender bender during his annual holiday pilgrimage. Whoops! He elicits the help of a father and son to ensure that the holiday will go on and the toys will be delivered to their rightful owners. Rated PG. 

White Christmas (1954)
  • Film

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


Is there anything better than Christmas break and a week off from school? Kids look forward to the holiday every year, but what happens when one little girl gets stuck in school? She bursts into superhero mode and protects her institution when the janitor is held hostage. Not your typical seasonal tale, that's for sure! Rated TV-PG. 

The Princess Switch (2018)
Photograph: Gabriel Hennessey, courtesy of Netflix

8. 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.

Angela's Christmas (2017)
Image: Netflix

9. 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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