- The best Christmas movies on Netflix in 2019
- Christmas Break-in
- Arthur Christmas
- Bad Moms: A Bad Moms Christmas
- Bad Santa 2
- The definitive ranking of Netflix Christmas movies
- 14. El Camino Christmas
- 13. Holiday in the Wild
- 12. A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby
- 11. The Holiday Calendar
- 9. The Knight Before Christmas
- 8. Holiday Rush
- 7. Christmas Inheritance
- 6. Let It Snow
- 5. The Christmas Chronicles
- 4. A Christmas Prince
- 3. The Princess Switch
- 2. Klaus
- 1. A Very Murray Christmas
- Films for Ages 3 to 4
- All the Christmas movies you can watch right now
- Every Christmas movie, show, and special on Netflix
- If you just want to watch It’s a Wonderful Life
- If you just want to watch Die Hard
- What time every other Christmas special is on TV
- Christmas movies and specials on Disney Plus
- The Christmas movies in theaters
- Emergency yule log options
- A great to movie to watch if you don’t need a Christmas movie
- 5 seriously cheesy Christmas movies on Netflix perfect for Sunday viewing
- Tis the season…
- 1. Christmas Inheritance
- 2. A Christmas Prince
- 3. Once Upon a Holiday
- 4. Angel of Christmas
- 5. A Wish For Christmas
- Peter Boylan joins us on Girls With Goals this week to talk about his new book
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- Halloween isn’t even here yet, but Netflix wants you excited about all these cheesy Christmas rom-coms
- The best of the holiday movies and TV shows coming to Netflix
- “Holiday in the Wild” (available November 1)
- “Let It Snow” (available November 8)
- “The Great British Baking Show: Holidays” (available November 8)
- “Klaus” (available November 15)
- “The Knight Before Christmas” (available November 21)
- “Nailed It! Holiday!” (available November 22)
- “Holiday Rush” (available November 28)
- “Merry Happy Whatever” (available November 28)
- “Sugar Rush Christmas” (available November 29)
- ‘A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby’ is the highlight movie of the holiday rom-com season
- Home Alone (1990)
- The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
- Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983)
- Noelle (2019)
- The Santa Clause (1994)
- A Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
- Klaus (2019)
- Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (2018)
- The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (2000)
- A Very Murray Christmas (2015)
- White Christmas (1954)
- Christmas With the Kranks (2004)
- Home for the Holidays (1995)
- I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown! (2003)
- Into the Dark: A Nasty Piece of Work (2019)
- Saturday Night Live Christmas Special (2016)
- Amazon Prime
- Bad Santa (2003)
- Holiday Inn (1942)
- It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
- The Miracle on 34th Street (1955)
The best Christmas movies on Netflix in 2019
Anthony Hopkins provides the narration for this timeless tale of alienation, spite and the redemptive power of Christmas.
Taking the classic Home Alone formula – a wily kid pitted against blundering crooks – this seasonal movie moves the action to a school. Izzy (Cameron Seely) is a precocious schoolgirl who must save the school janitor (Danny Glover) when he is taken hostage by intruders.
Don’t expect things to get too intense, though – this is family-friendly fare all the way. Read more about Christmas Break-in.
Watch on Netflix
Aardman Animations are responsible for some of the finest British animation in recent memory, and Arthur Christmas is no exception. This warmly received Christmas fable tells the story of Father Christmas’s hapless son, Arthur, as he embarks on a mission to save the holiday by hand-delivering a present to one special little girl.
The genial voice cast includes Hugh Laurie, James McAvoy and Jim Broadbent.
Watch on Netflix
In this affable family comedy, The Office’s Martin Freeman plays Paul Maddens, primary school teacher who, when tasked with directing his school’s nativity play, spreads the lie that the performance will be watched by Hollywood producers.
As the ruse deepens and Christmas rapidly approaches, Paul turns to his teaching aide, the eccentric Mr Poppy (Paul Wootton) for help.
Watch on Netflix
Bad Moms: A Bad Moms Christmas
2016’s raucous comedy Bad Moms made light of conventional depictions of motherhood, as three over-worked moms (Kristin Bell, Kathryn Hahn and Mila Kunis) started to embrace their wild sides.
In this raunchy Christmas-set sequel, the moms are back, and must deal with the prospect of their own mothers visiting for the holiday season. Read more about Bad Moms: A Bad Moms Christmas.
Bad Santa 2
Terry Zwigoff’s dark 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a modern classic, telling the story of an alcoholic, dysfunctional department-store Santa who carries out elaborate mall burglaries every year.
This amusing sequel brings back Billy Bob-Thornton in the lead, and Tony Cox as his Elf sidekick – but the absences of Bernie Mac and John Ritter, both of whom passed away in the interim between the two films, are keenly felt.
It’s fair to say, though, that the sequel is no more a family film than the original.
Watch on Netflix
The definitive ranking of Netflix Christmas movies
The holidays are upon us, which means new Netflix Christmas movies are upon us, too. We’ve taken a look through to see which of the streaming service’s original films are better than just watching a Yule log video, but we also have to ask: which of the original Netflix Christmas movies is the best of the best?
Is it A Christmas Prince, or either of its sequels? Is it the animated Klaus? Or maybe the “Santa is Daddy now” hit The Christmas Chronicles? The experts on Polygon’s staff have banded together to figure it out, and we proudly present: the definitive ranking of original Christmas movies on Netflix.
No, this movie is not related to the Breaking Bad movie El Camino. Photo: Netflix
14. El Camino Christmas
The nicest thing I can say about El Camino Christmas is that it is technically a movie. Even Vincent D’Onofrio, who is very good at committing to supporting roles, is only giving about 40 percent here. (To be fair, D’Onofrio’s 40 percent is better than Tim Allen’s 115 percent.) —Emily Heller
More elephants, please. Photo: Netflix
13. Holiday in the Wild
I have concocted a conspiracy theory that Holiday in the Wild, a movie that’s 80 percent just shots of Rob Lowe and/or baby elephants, was specifically designed to make rich white ladies donate all their money to elephant sanctuaries. In which case, it’s a brilliant film. —EH
Three Christmas Princes, one royal baby on the way. Photo: Cos Aelenei/Netflix
12. A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby
The third film in the Christmas Prince saga introduces both a fake Asian ally for the Christmas Princeiverse’s fake European country, and a magical curse. You see, Aldovia and Penglia signed a treaty of friendship 700 years ago, and every century, the countries’ kings renew their agreement in a formal ceremony. Journalist-turned-queen Amber thinks the queens should get to sign too, but the tradition-minded Queen Ming of Penglia disagrees. The treaty goes missing (possibly triggering a curse?), so the two queens bond over motherhood (Amber is pregnant, hence the subtitle) and other queen things while they wait for it to be located. When the treaty is found, of course, the queens end up signing it as well, and then Amber goes into labor. Watered-down feminism that ends up just being kinda racist? Sounds familiar (cough Holiday in the Wild cough). —EH
Can we get a wink at the camera? Photo: Netflix
11. The Holiday Calendar
The magical Christmas realism that warmed our hearts with classics like A Christmas Carol and It’s A Wonderful Life gets the Netflix treatment with The Holiday Calendar. The plot is wonderfully silly: Abby’s grandfather (played by This Is Us grandpa Ron Cephas Jones) gives her a magic advent calendar that cryptically predicts the future. It seems to be pointing her toward romance with a handsome, charming single dad, but (spoiler alert!) Abby ends up with her handsome, charming best friend instead. My only complaint is that I wanted more actual magic. Santa doesn’t even show up to wink at the camera once. —EH
A wedding! At Christmas! Photo: Netflix
If you’re going to watch this film, you might as well also watch Jenny Nicholson’s powerful video essay on the dark side of the Christmas Prince universe. If you don’t want to ponder the implications of a fake nation state, you’re better off sticking with the original Christmas Prince. —Brian David Gilbert
Love blossoms through time. Photo: Netflix/Brooke Palmer
9. The Knight Before Christmas
In The Knight Before Christmas, a medieval knight is zapped into the present, right into the life of recently single schoolteacher Vanessa Hudgens. She doesn’t believe in true love or time travel, but her literal knight in shining armor may be about to change that. What’s nice about the movie is that nobody’s mean or trying to get in the way of the protagonists falling in love, and the knight is already perfect. He doesn’t have to learn to be considerate or less arrogant, and he hasn’t been turned into a beast for his transgressions. That said, the only part of the movie that really has to do with Christmas is a subplot. —Karen Han
Cheers to Christmas! Photo: Netflix
8. Holiday Rush
Holiday Rush proves that hiring funny, talented actors can elevate generic material. The plot is standard feel-good Christmas-movie fare: Radio DJ and single dad Rush Williams (Romany Malco) loses his job right before Christmas. To make ends meet, he and his four spoiled kids move in with his Aunt Jo, played by the incomparable Darlene Love. He and his producer, Roxy (Sonequa Martin-Green), decide to buy the radio station where they got their start in broadcasting. Hijinks and romance ensue. But Malco and Martin-Green have great chemistry, and Darlene Love sings “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” which is really all you need from a Christmas movie. —EH
Time to head to Snow Falls. Photo: Netflix
7. Christmas Inheritance
Christmas Inheritance was overshadowed by The Christmas Prince (they both premiered in 2017), which is unfortunate, because Christmas Inheritance rules. Netflix’s attempt to ape the pinnacle of the form — the Hallmark Christmas movie — nails the tone. It’s a classic “Big City Grinch meets Christmas Hunk” tale: Ellen is a rich heiress to a “gift business” who must hand-deliver a Christmas card to her dad’s reclusive business partner in the village of Snow Falls (one of the best quaint movie Christmas town names of all time) without spending any money or letting anyone in Snow Falls know who she is. Even though she has a mean fiancé back home, Ellen falls for Snow Falls’ hunky-but-jaded innkeeper, played by Obvious Child’s Jake Lacy, after he teaches her how to demonstrate basic human empathy. Also, Andie MacDowell is in it!! —EH
What says “Christmas” like a tiny pig? Photo: Netflix/Steve Wilkie
6. Let It Snow
Let It Snow is an ensemble piece about a group of teens in rural Illinois coming together for a kegger at the local Waffle House. It stars Dora the Explorer and Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Joan Cusack as played by Ted Kaczynski. All jokes aside, it’s a thoroughly modern take on upscaled Hallmark classics like The Holiday and Love Actually. The star of the show here is actor Liv Hewson, whose portrayal of the lovelorn Dorrie adds a heartwarming queer storyline to the Netflix holiday pantheon. —CH
Unfortunately, I do love this. Photo: Michael Gibson/Netflix
5. The Christmas Chronicles
The Christmas Chronicles imagines a world where Santa Claus isn’t just a jolly, happy old elf. Sure, he’s got grey hair and a beard on his chinny chin chin, but Kurt Russell’s depiction of Father Christmas is much more virile. He’s hip, borderline naughty, and filled with an almost uncomfortable sexuality. That doesn’t stop him from helping siblings Kate and Teddy Pierce, who lost their heroic father some years ago, to rediscover the magic of the season. —Charlie Hall
That’s right, it’s Christmas, and there will be a prince. Photo: Netflix
4. A Christmas Prince
An American journalist sent to write a hit piece on a foreign prince accidentally falls in love with him, but here’s where it gets wild: it is also Christmastime. Even if you haven’t seen this film, you can probably predict every major plot point. That doesn’t make it bad; it makes it easily digestible. —BDG
Who’s who? Photo: Netflix
3. The Princess Switch
In a Christmas-y twist on The Prince and the Pauper, Vanessa Hudgens gets to show off her acting chops by playing both an American baker and the Duchess of a land whose inhabitants apparently speak in a so-so British accent. —BDG
An animated take on Santa. Photo: Netflix
Klaus, Netflix’s first feature animation, pushes the bounds of traditional animation. Volumetric lighting and texture make the movie feel like it’s directly out of a picture book. A Santa origin story that roots the tale in the real, Klaus follows a spoiled postal worker named Jesper who’s sent to the desolate northern town of Smerensberg to set up a post office. When he arrives, the town is embroiled in a bitter feud — they barely talk to one another, let alone send letters. Jesper teams up with lonely woodcutter Klaus and starts a toy delivery system. Klaus is warm and gooey, and the lush art style really makes it feel like a cozy mug of cocoa on a cold day. —Petrana Radulovic
A very “Murray” Christmas. Get it? Like “merry” Christmas, but it’s Bill Murray? Photo: Netflix
1. A Very Murray Christmas
A Very Murray Christmas is like a holiday party with close friends, if those friends happen to be incredibly famous, wealthy, and talented. Here are just a few of the guests at the film’s glitzy, snowed-in Manhattan hotel: George Clooney, Miley Cyrus, Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, and Jason Schwartzman. Small roles are filled by big talents, like Jenny Lewis serving drinks and David Johansen tending bar. The film also reunites Bill Murray with Lost in Translation director Sofia Coppola. After weeks of family-friend holiday treats, A Very Murray Christmas is cinematic ibuprofen. —Chris Plante
Films for Ages 3 to 4
- Holiday in the Wild
- Trolls Holiday Special
- The Princess Switch
- Nativity 2: Danger in the Manger
- A Bad Moms Christmas
- The Christmas Chronicles
- Arthur Christmas
- A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish
- A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby
- Sugar Rush Christmas
- Nailed It! Holiday!
- Angela’s Christmas
- A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding
- Fireplace 4K: Crackling Birchwood from Fireplace for Your Home
- A Christmas Prince
- Let It Snow
- DreamWorks Happy Holidays from Madagascar
- A Family Reunion Christmas
- DreamWorks Shrek Stories
- Free Rein: The Twelve Neighs of Christmas
- Home for Christmas
- The Royle Family: Christmas 2008
- New Year’s Eve
- Fireplace 4K: Classic Crackling Fireplace from Fireplace for Your Home
- Merry Happy Whatever
- My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: Best Gift Ever
- Chill with Bob Ross
- The Knight Before Christmas
- Spirit Riding Free: Spirit of Christmas
- Jeff Dunham’s Very Special Christmas Special
- Puppy Star Christmas
- Three Days of Christmas
- Christmas Wedding Planner
- The Royle Family: Christmas 2000
- Christmas With A View
- Christmas Inheritance
- Elliot the Littlest Reindeer
- Bad Santa 2
- Black Adder’s A Christmas Carol
- True: Winter Wishes
- Get Santa
- DreamWorks Holiday Classics
- This Christmas
- A Wish for Christmas
- Santa Claws
- Holiday Rush
- The Holiday Calendar
- RuPaul’s Drag Race Holi-Slay Spectacular
- I’ll Be Home for Christmas
- Super Monsters and the Wish Star
- Holiday Secrets
- 48 Christmas Wishes
- The Man Who Invented Christmas
- DreamWorks Home: For the Holidays
- Super Monsters Save Christmas
- Santa Girl
- A StoryBots Christmas
- Magic Snowflake
- The Christmas Trap
- 5 Star Christmas
- BoJack Horseman Christmas Special: Sabrina’s Christmas Wish
- Power Rangers Super Samurai: Stuck on Christmas
- Bob’s Broken Sleigh
- Oddbods: The Festive Menace
- Da Kath & Kim Code
- All I Want for Christmas
- Santa Pac’s Merry Berry Day
- Prince of Peoria: A Christmas Moose Miracle
- Pettersson and Findus 2
- Santa’s Apprentice
- Aggretsuko: We Wish You a Metal Christmas
- Mariah Carey’s Merriest Christmas
All the Christmas movies you can watch right now
’Tis the season to be jolly — as long as you find the right movie, TV marathon or holiday special to satisfy everyone in your family.
With TV listings stuffed with Christmas classics and streaming services fully loaded with old a new options, finding the perfect thing to watch on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or into the Christmas aftermath has never been more difficult. Having sifted through Netflix, Amazon, Disney Plus, and more for the best options, and watched enough to make some concrete calls, we’ve compiled a list that should help any type of holiday viewer.
Every Christmas movie, show, and special on Netflix
Having announced plans in November to dominate the holiday season, Netflix has steadily rolled out new Christmas content all through the month. You can read the full list here, but we’d call your attention to Let It Snow, starring Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’s Shameik Moore, or the 2D-animated Klaus, which finds magic in a grounded approach to the Santa myth. Director Sergio Pablos told Polygon about his idea for the film earlier this year:
I love a story that has a bit of a cynical element to it to begin with, but it leads unexpectedly to an honest truth. I really liked the idea of removing all magic from all these little snippets of origin stories of Santa Claus and saying, well how fun could it be if all the things you expect to just be there because of magic actually had a grounded, somewhat cynical origin story that actually led to some truth. I always say that I always find the story when I find the irony. These ideas could be floating around waiting for an angle until I go, well what if all that’s good about Santa came about through the actions of the worst human being I can conceive of. That would make it interesting. The irony is something that I look for all the time.
Klaus Image: Netflix
If you just want to watch It’s a Wonderful Life
Amazon Prime has a gluttony of Hallmark-adjacent Christmas TV movies — please let us know if Snowed-Inn Christmas, The 12 Dogs of Christmas, and A Baby for Christmas are worth watching and recommending — but the service does have Frank Capra’s holiday classic on demand whenever you need a blast of George Bailey’s moral awakening. The film will also play on NBC at 8pm EST on Christmas Eve.
If you just want to watch Die Hard
For the crowd that embarks on the “but it is a Christmas movie” argument every year, cut to the chase and just watch John McTiernan’s action masterpiece. The movie’s available to rent on every platform (iTunes, Amazon, etc), you can stream it for free on Sony’s Crackle platform, and it’s playing through the holiday on TV. The Pop network will air Bruce Willis’ Christmas shoot-em-up at 4pm, 7pm, and 10pm EST on Dec. 24, while Paramount will marathon the movie on Dec. 25 starting at 8am EST. Yippee-ki-yay.
Elf Photo: New Line Cinema
What time every other Christmas special is on TV
Speaking of live television, here’s a quick breakdown of what you may actually want to watch in the next 48 hours. (All times listed are EST.)
TV highlights on Dec. 24
AMC, 3:45: The Year Without a Santa Claus
Sundance, 4pm and 7pm: White Christmas
TCM, 4pm: It Happened on Fifth Avenue
MTV, 5pm: Bad Santa
TCM, 6:15pm: Holiday Affair
ABC, 8pm: Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town
Fox, 8pm: A Christmas Story Live!
AMC, 8pm: Elf
BET, 8pm: One Crazy Christmas
FX, 8pm: A Christmas Carol (a new one from the people who brought you Peaky Blinders!)
TBS, 8pm: A Christmas Story
TCM, 8pm: The Bishop’s Wife
TV highlights on Dec. 25
Christmas movies and specials on Disney Plus
The recently launched Disney-specific platform is an immediate haven for nostalgic Christmas movies and TV specials. If you’re looking for something fresh, there’s the new movie Noelle starring Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader. But as our own Karen Han put it in her review, the movie comes together like “gloppy Christmas porridge.” Read before you gulp down.
But if you’re looking an old favorite, you’re probably in luck. The Nightmare Before Christmas? Check. The Santa Clause? Check. Mickey’s various Christmas specials? Got ‘em. And A Muppet Christmas Carol, easily the best version of Dickens tale … ever? … is ready to stream, too. Here’s the full list of Christmas movies to save you from endless scrolling.
Little Women Photo: Wilson Webb/Sony Pictures
The Christmas movies in theaters
If your couch only holds so many people, consider going to an actual movie theater to see Christmas-adjacent entertainment. We can’t endorse The Rise of Skywalker this Life Day, but there are other options.
Having been released all the way back at the top of November, Last Christmas adapts the romantic vibes of George Michael’s holiday hit into a rom-com starring the dreamy pair of Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding. Here’s what we said in our full review:
As far as rom-coms go, Last Christmas is a safe, straightforward bet. Feig doesn’t attempt any subversions of genre or gender expectations, à la Bridesmaids or Spy — Kate’s messiness is sometimes unappealing, which is rare for blockbuster heroines, but not for Feig’s characters. Even a major late-film twist isn’t enough to set the movie apart from other romantic comedies. But Last Christmas does the job when it comes to creating a pleasant haze of warm feelings, offering a momentary respite from the cold, cynical world outside the movie theater.
While not as overtly “Christmas,” the best movie you can see this holiday season is far and away Greta Gerwig’s Little Women (which technically takes place around the holiday seasons, in case you’re worried about not seeing Christmas decorations on the big screen). From our review of Little Women earlier this month:
The film doesn’t strike a single false note. It carries viewers through the lives of four very different women without picking any one to be the “right” way of doing things. The cast is uniformly wonderful as well, with Pugh in particular perfectly embodying the way fits of youthful pique can get the better of us when we are denied the things we want. That degree of earnestness — and love for both the joyful and bittersweet parts of life — makes Little Women a pure joy.
Emergency yule log options
Beware of dead air. If the debate is raging on, we urge you to at least flip on a yule log to pass the time before someone hijacks the TV. And you’re in luck: we have the ultimate list of themed yule logs, which includes everything from Marvel- to Doctor Who- to Hearthstone-skinned fireplaces.
A great to movie to watch if you don’t need a Christmas movie
Not every post-Christmas dinner crowd requires a tinsel-wrapped movie or special. Sometimes quality is the perfect gift. So we compiled the best movies streaming for every type of audience, whether you need a three-and-a-half-hour Martin Scorsese-directed crime saga or a swift injection of Tom Cruise hanging from a helicopter. Merry Christmas, everyone.
5 seriously cheesy Christmas movies on Netflix perfect for Sunday viewing
Tis the season…
If Sundays are good for one thing it’s binge-watching.
Yes, our Netflix activity peeks on the last day of our weekend, with all the latest releases getting their chance to be added to our viewed list.
Well, with just over a week to go until Christmas Day, we’re knee-deep in festive films and today’s binge-athon is certainly no different.
Yes, if you find yourself at home, on the couch, by the fire and looking to find the perfect holiday film on Netflix (or just the latter) then we’ve got just what you need.
While all the classics should be saved for evenings with family or friends, there are plenty of cheesy Christmas films out there that are best-enjoyed solo.
We’re talking the terribly soppy movies that are usually reserved for Christmas24 but have now made their way to Netflix.
Yes, if cheesy Christmas flicks are your thing, then you’re in luck.
Here are five of the best on Netflix right now.
1. Christmas Inheritance
Plot: To inherit her father’s company, socialite Ellen must first visit his small hometown, where she learns the value of hard work and helping others.
2. A Christmas Prince
Plot: Christmas comes early for an aspiring young journalist when she’s sent abroad to get the scoop on a dashing prince who’s poised to be king.
3. Once Upon a Holiday
Plot: A princess runs away from her royal duties during a Christmas visit to a big city and meets a nice guy who shows her the joys of living a normal life.
4. Angel of Christmas
Plot: While researching a family heirloom, a jilted news staffer uncovers the ornament’s magical past and meets someone special, perhaps not by coincidence.
5. A Wish For Christmas
Plot: After Sara’s boss steals her bright idea, she asks Santa for the courage to stand up for herself. But can 48 hours of magic make a lasting difference?
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Halloween isn’t even here yet, but Netflix wants you excited about all these cheesy Christmas rom-coms
- Netflix has several new holiday and Christmas-themed shows and movies premiering on its streaming service starting November 1.
- Folks can look forward to “A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby,” and “The Knight Before Christmas.”
- Plus new holiday episodes of fan-favorites “The Great British Baking Show” and “Nailed It.”
- Keep reading for a list of all the best holiday offerings.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
We’re only halfway through October, but that isn’t stopping Netflix from rolling out new trailers and teaser photos for the coming Christmas and holiday-themed movies and TV shows in the works.
Not only will we get a third “Christmas Prince” movie (this time all about the coming royal baby) but there’s also a new Vanessa Hudgens rom-com about a literal knight who accidentally time-travels into modern times.
Let’s take a look at the holiday offerings, and when they’ll be available to stream.
The best of the holiday movies and TV shows coming to Netflix
“Holiday in the Wild” (available November 1)
In a newly released trailer for “Holiday in the Wild,” we see stars Kristin Davis (best known for her role as Charlotte on “Sex and the City”) and Rob Lowe (“Parks and Recreation”) falling in love during a safari vacation in Zambia.
“Let It Snow” (available November 8)
This is a new movie set in a small Midwestern town on Christmas Eve. It’s based on a New York Times bestselling book by the same name by authors John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle.
“A group of high school seniors find their friendships and love lives colliding thanks to a stranded pop star, a stolen keg, a squad of competitive dancers, a mysterious woman covered in tin foil, and an epic party at the local Waffle Town,” Netflix’s synopsis reads.
“The Great British Baking Show: Holidays” (available November 8)
Paul, Prue, Noel, and Sandy all on the coming season of “The Great British Baking Show Holidays.” Netflix
This is the second season of “The Great British Baking Show: Holidays” that will be available for Netflix viewers in the US. Instead of the typically weekly competition with new contestants, this mini-season brings back fan favorites from older seasons and has them make a few holiday-themed desserts.
“Klaus” (available November 15)
This is a new original animated movie from Netflix, which reimagines the story of Santa Clause’s origin. A post office worker gets stationed “on a frozen island above the Arctic Circle” where he meets a carpenter who makes his own toys.
“The Knight Before Christmas” (available November 21)
Starring Vanessa Hudgens and Josh Whitehouse, “The Knight Before Christmas” tells the story of a medieval knight who is transported to 2019 where he befriends a woman named Brooke.
The official poster for “The Knight Before Christmas.” Netflix
“Nailed It! Holiday!” (available November 22)
This is also the second season for the holiday themed “Nailed It!” episodes. New challengers will try (and fail) to make elaborate desserts for guest judges, including Maya Rudolph, Jillian Bell, Bridget Everett, Jason Mantzoukas and Ron Ben Israel.
“Holiday Rush” (available November 28)
Yet another new Christmas movie from Netflix, “Holiday” stars Romany Malco and Sonequa Martin-Green. A New York radio DJ named Rush Williams reconnects with his children around the holidays after struggling with the loss of his wife and hardships at work.
“Merry Happy Whatever” (available November 28)
This is a new Netflix comedy show set in the days before and after Christmas. Dennis Quaid stars as the father of a “close-knit but eclectic family. “Merry Happy Whatever” was created by Tucker Cawley (“Everybody Loves Raymond”), and looks like it follows a similar sitcom format.
“Sugar Rush Christmas” (available November 29)
And here is yet another baking-competition series with a holiday spin for its Christmas episodes.
‘A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby’ is the highlight movie of the holiday rom-com season
Ben Lamb and Rose McIver star in the “Christmas Prince” trilogy. Netflix
“A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby” premieres on December 5.
This is the third installment in what Netflix is referring to as “The Christmas Prince” series. First we had the movie where Amber and Prince Richard fell in love. Then they got married. So now the new king and queen have a baby on the way.
The synopsis for this movie takes a wild turn, though:
“Queen Amber and King Richard are getting ready to take some time off to prepare for their first child’s arrival, but first they have to host King Tai and Queen Ming of Penglia to renew a 600-year-old sacred truce. But when the priceless treaty goes missing, peace is jeopardized and an ancient curse looms. Amber will have to figure out who the thief is before the clock strikes midnight on Christmas Eve, for the safety of her family and the kingdom.”
You can see new footage of all the holiday shows and movies, including “A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby,” in the video below.
Hark! The Muppet Christmas Carol is on Disney+. Photo: Buena Vista Pictures
It’s the most wonderful, streaming-est time of the year! Holiday movies are everywhere this season, including new, original films on Disney+, Netflix, and Hulu to go along with some of your family’s favorites. That’s the good news. The bad news is that a lot of the classic holiday movies that you know and love by heart aren’t available for your subscription fee. You can go to services like Amazon or iTunes and pay to rent films like Elf, A Christmas Story, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, The Polar Express, and even Die Hard — but you won’t find any of them included for free on your favorite streaming service. But there are still great Christmas movies to be found! We’ve put together a guide to the 20 best holiday movies and specials across the four major streaming services for you to watch. Pick your favorites, make some eggnog, and settle in.
It shouldn’t be too surprising that Disney+, the streaming service aimed squarely at families, would have the best selection of holiday movies. Sure, they don’t have the seemingly endless supply of Hallmark/Lifetime movies as their competitors, but they do have some modern classics, and even a new title that’s kind of cute.
Home Alone (1990)
No one could have expected the adventures of 8-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) to become the worldwide phenomenon that is Home Alone, a family holiday comedy that’s still beloved and consistently referenced almost three decades later. The film’s physical comedy is what really made it such a phenomenon, but there’s a nice emotional undercurrent here too, reminding young viewers that what really matters around Christmas is being with your family and being kind to your fellow man. Well, that and Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern almost being killed by a child.
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
The first film to be developed after the death of Jim Henson proved that the legacy of the Muppets could still be powerful in the hands of Jim’s son Brian. The fourth Muppet movie is one of the most beloved, casting puppets we know and love as characters that have been a part of the international conscious for generations. Kermit plays Bob Cratchit, Gonzo voices Dickens himself, and Michael Caine is wonderful as one of the best variations on Ebenezer Scrooge the big or small screen has ever seen.
Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983)
This may be a short film, but it’s a major one in Disney history. This was the first time that Mickey was in a production like this in three decades, as the short premiered in Christmas 1983 with the rerelease of The Rescuers, although most people have probably seen it in one of its many television airings over the years. Of course, Scrooge McDuck plays his namesake, but it’s seeing the rest of the Disney icons like Mickey as Bob Cratchit, Goofy as Jacob Marley’s ghost, and Jiminy Cricket as the Ghost of Christmas Past that make this such a memorable holiday experience for Disney fans.
Bill Hader and Anna Kendrick star in a film that will always hold a special place in history as one of the launch-day original titles for Disney+. The two immensely likable actors play the children of Santa Claus. In this variation on the legendary big red guy, Saint Nick passes his powers and duties down to his first-born son (Hader), although it appears that his daughter (Kendrick) may be better suited to the job. It’s a little slight (most holiday comedies are) but it’s got a big heart, and Kendrick admirably gives it her all, finding the right degree of holiday cheer without making her character too saccharine.
The Santa Clause (1994)
Toy Story isn’t the only franchise that Tim Allen helped create, and all three films in this series are sitting right there on Disney+ for your holiday viewing pleasure. The first is easily the best, starring Allen as Scott Calvin, a regular dude who basically falls into becoming Santa Claus after the big red guy falls off his roof. The physical comedy here is funny, but the charm is really the message that we should all be a bit more like Santa in our normal lives, especially when it comes to keeping the magic of Christmas alive for our kids.
A Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
Tim Burton’s 1993 stop-motion classic is the only movie we can put on both Halloween and Christmas lists. Most people forget that it only did modest box office when it was released in 1993, but the story of Jack Skellington has become more popular in the quarter-century since its release. Don’t believe us? Go look at the amount of Nightmare merchandise out there from toys to games to clothes. Even Burton couldn’t have guessed the extent that people would pass this film down from generation to generation. It’s a modern holiday classic.
The ugly truth is that Netflix likes to fill their catalogue with things that you can watch while you’re doing other activities like playing with your phone. And so, a lot of their holiday movies are disposable background noise, most of them having aired on basic cable in the past few years. No offense to people who dig the melodramatic variation on the holiday movie, but those are largely interchangeable. Just pick one and go. These are for when you’re trying to be a little more discerning.
Sergio Pablos directs this year’s best new Netflix holiday film, a hand-drawn affair that looks more like the classics of our youth than what gets released today. (It’s no coincidence that Pablos worked on ’90s hand-drawn films like The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, and Tarzan.) Jason Schwartzman voices a young man forced to establish a post office in one of the northernmost towns in the world, in this reimagining of the legend of Santa Claus. He meets a hermit toy-maker there and encourages kids in town to write him letters to get him to make more toys for good behavior. Great voice work and even better visuals make this one of the more memorable modern holiday films in a long time.
Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (2018)
We can’t get enough of Dr. Seuss’s most iconic creation, already adapted into a Jim Carrey vehicle, and more recently, as this Illumination animated hit. Benedict Cumberbatch voices the Grinch, who lives above Whoville, annoyed by the Christmas cheer in the town below. He hatches a plan to ruin Christmas for them forever, but eventually finds his heart growing three sizes that day. While this isn’t anyone’s favorite version, it’s got that modern look that a lot of kids like, and it made over $500 million worldwide last holiday season. People seemed to take to it. Every generation needs its own Grinch.
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (2000)
Ron Howard directed this 2000 blockbuster version of the Dr. Seuss classic starring a heavily made-up Jim Carrey as the title character. This was actually the first Seuss book to be adapted into a full-length film, and the movie made a few variations on the relatively short source material. (The biggest artistic license: making Cindy Lou Who a bigger character.) Some of the humor and visuals haven’t aged well, but Carrey’s performance carries it with his go-for-broke energy.
A Very Murray Christmas (2015)
Sofia Coppola directed this original Netflix special that landed on the streaming service way back in 2015 and remains like nothing else you could watch this holiday season. Bill Murray and Coppola are working from an old-fashioned “get the gang together” template like Bob Hope used to employ for holiday specials. The gang in this case includes George Clooney, Amy Poehler, Michael Cera, Maya Rudolph, Rashida Jones, and Miley Cyrus. Sounds like a memorable holiday party to us.
White Christmas (1954)
There aren’t many classic films on Netflix in general, but they do have one holiday gem, Michael Curtiz’s 1954 film starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Vera-Ellen, and Rosemary Clooney. Here’s some trivia for your holiday party: The song “White Christmas” isn’t original to this movie — it actually originates from a different Crosby film, 1942’s Holiday Inn (which you’ll also find further down this guide). After World War II, a pair of veterans become successful artists and producers in New York City before falling for a pair of sisters with dreams of Broadway themselves. The music by Irving Berlin keeps the film catchy and light.
Christmas With the Kranks (2004)
They can’t all be comedy masterpieces. Sometimes you just want to unwind with some goofy humor, and Tim Allen, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Dan Aykroyd provide exactly that in this 2004 hit that was based on a John Grisham novel. Allen and Curtis decide not to celebrate Christmas one year when their daughter is gone — but their neighbors don’t take too kindly to that, forcing holiday cheer upon them. Most critics absolutely hated this movie more than a kid getting coal in their stocking, but it did well at the box office and has developed something of a cult following over the years.
Maybe the best way to use Hulu for your holiday needs is to go digging for the Christmas episodes of your favorite shows. For example, great holiday episodes of The Simpsons and Bob’s Burgers are there waiting to be rewatched when you’re done decorating the tree. If you’re looking for a movie instead, the selection is a little slight, but we found a few worth highlighting.
Home for the Holidays (1995)
Jodie Foster’s sophomore directorial effort is this wonderfully cast dramedy starring Holly Hunter as a woman in the midst of a midlife crisis who comes home to spend the holidays with her deeply dysfunctional family. The reason this movie works and has a legion of die-hard fans is its remarkable ensemble, including Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Anne Bancroft, Charles Durning, Dylan McDermott, Geraldine Chaplin, Steve Guttenberg, and a young Claire Danes. It made almost nothing in theaters, but fans have watched it every holiday season since.
I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown! (2003)
There are generations that grew up on the classic Peanuts holiday specials — this isn’t exactly that, but it’s a fun, clever, sweet holiday adventure with Charlie Brown and Snoopy. Originally airing on ABC back in 2003, it tells the story of Rerun van Pelt, brother to Lucy and Linus, and how badly he wants a puppy for Christmas. The modern Peanuts specials may not have the timeless quality of the originals, but it really doesn’t feel like the holidays until someone plays “Christmas Time Is Here.”
Into the Dark: A Nasty Piece of Work (2019)
Those who aren’t horror fans may not know that Blumhouse and Hulu have produced a series of original films based on the holiday of the month in which they’ve been released. This being the second season of Into the Dark means we’ve had two Christmas horror movies, 2018’s Pooka! and this just-released horror-comedy from Charles Hood. Julian Sands stars as a boss who doesn’t give his employees Christmas bonuses, choosing to pit them against each other on one long crazy night at his house instead. It’s kind of like Christmas Vacation meets The Game. Yeah, you know you want to see that.
Saturday Night Live Christmas Special (2016)
Some of the funniest sketches in the history of Saturday Night Live have come around the holiday season. Once you’ve wrapped all the Christmas presents and are ready for the big day, why not pop this on and sing along to “Dick in a Box” or “Hanukkah Song”?
Amazon Prime has a great interface to rent all your favorite holiday movies that aren’t available on Netflix or Disney+, but their selection of free-with-subscription holiday flicks is pretty dire. We’ll do our best.
Bad Santa (2003)
There aren’t enough adult comedies around the holiday season. Need a break from the sickly sweet taste in your mouth from all the decorations, carols, and general holiday cheer? Check out this Billy Bob Thornton comedy classic on Amazon Prime. Thornton is fearless in this still-very-funny movie, and you’ll even get a little bit of holiday poignancy by enjoying the truly missed Bernie Mac and John Ritter, both great in supporting roles.
Holiday Inn (1942)
Irving Berlin handled story and music duties for this 1942 musical starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, which gave the world the song “White Christmas,” one of the season’s most beloved tunes (and an Oscar winner for Best Original Song). Crosby plays a retired performer who wants to open a holiday-themed entertainment venue on his farm. More than just a Christmas movie, this one features songs and scenes about Valentine’s Day, Easter, and even Lincoln’s birthday. You can watch it all year long!
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Any list of the most beloved holiday films of all time has to include Frank Capra’s all-time classic about the man who wished he was never born. Jimmy Stewart plays George Bailey, who is saved from suicide by his guardian angel, showing him the impact he has had on the world around him. Why do we return to this movie every single year? We all want to believe that we’ve made the world a better place, and Stewart’s performance here is one of the best from the acting legend. You don’t need us to tell you this is a great movie for any time of the year.
The Miracle on 34th Street (1955)
The original 1947 version of a little girl who believes in Santa Claus again after meeting a department-store big red guy who claims to be the real thing is one of the first titles people think of when they hear the words “holiday movie.” This is not that movie. You can rent the original for only two bucks on Amazon or just watch this 1955 TV adaptation of it for free on Prime. Often included on the physical releases of the original, this is a shortened version of the classic that still carries the heart of a movie people rewatch every holiday season.