‘Tis the season to watch Christmas movies, and Netflix has a great selection of new additions and recent favourites, including family fare, engaging animations, teen rom-coms, sugary romances and risqué comedies…
It’s Christmas – but not as you know it. In this feel-good romance, Kate Conrad (Kristin Davis) ends up taking a second honeymoon by herself when her husband leaves her. Travelling around the plains of Africa, Kate meets a handsome pilot (Rob Lowe), and re-discovers her lust for life – and for love. Read more about Holiday in the Wild.
Jason Schwartzman, Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreation) and Oscar-winner JK Simmons provide the voices for this charming Christmas animation about Jesper, a spoilt young postman stationed above the Arctic circle.
When Jesper meets a kindly old toy-maker, he starts to discover his seasonal cheer in this Netflix original movie – one of the streaming service’s first forays into feature-length animation. Read more about Klaus.
A Christmas Eve snowstorm is the pretext for romance in this sweet-hearted teen rom-com. Adapted from the YA novel by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle, Let it Snow features a talented ensemble cast of young stars, including Mad Men’s Kiernan Shipka and Isabella Moner (Dora & the Lost City of Gold), along with some accomplished actors such as Joan Cusack and D’Arcy Carden (The Good Place). Read more about Let it Snow.
Back in 2017, Netflix’s schmaltzy festive romance A Christmas Prince was a surprise hit for the streaming service. The story of a journalist (Rose McIver) who is swept off her feet by a charming Prince (Ben Lamb) proved so popular that they quickly greenlit a sequel – and A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding was born. An upcoming third instalment sees the royal couple awaiting a visit from the Christmas stork. Read more about A Christmas Prince.
This high-concept spin on the Father Christmas legend shifts the spotlight to Santa’s daughter, who runs away from the family business and attends a semester of college in the ‘real world’.
Jennifer Stone (Wizards of Waverly Place) plays Cassie Claus, while Barry Bostwick (The Rocky Horror Picture Show) is her overbearing father. Read more about Santa Girl.
Santa gets a good-looking, charismatic re-boot in this yuletide romp. Kurt Russell stars as jolly old’ Saint Nick himself, who enlists the help of two children to save Christmas after his sleigh is knocked off course. Never taking itself too seriously, the Netflix original film features everything from fun CGI reindeer to a jailhouse musical number and a lovely last-minute cameo. Read more about The Christmas Chronicles.
Abbey (Kat Graham) is a struggling photographer who comes into possession of a magic advent calendar in this Hallmark-esque Netflix original. Quincy Brown plays Josh, Abbey’s best friend who just might be the person she’s been looking for her whole life. Read more about The Holiday Calendar.
Christmas with the Kranks
There is comic pedigree galore in this festive comedy flick, though critics failed to see the funny side. Luther and Nora Krank are dealing with empty nest syndrome and decide not to celebrate Christmas one year – much to the consternation of their meddling neighbours.
Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis star in this 2004 adaptation of John Grisham’s comic novel, alongside a supporting cast that includes Dan Aykroyd and Felicity Huffman.
Erstwhile Disney Channel starlet Vanessa Hudgens stars in this winningly saccharine Prince-and-the-Pauper rom-com, playing hardworking baker Stacy DeNovo, and her wealthy doppelganger, Duchess Margaret Delacourt, with whom she switches places.
Probably the closest any of Netflix’s originals have come to matching the specific vibe of the Hallmark Channel, The Princess Switch already has a sequel confirmed – which adds a third, hard-partying lookalike, also played by Hudgens. Read more about The Princess Switch.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Jim Carrey apparently had to be trained by CIA torture specialists in order to endure the filming of this Christmas comedy – which saw the Ace Ventura star encased in thick green makeup to portray Dr Seuss’s iconic villain, who steals all the holiday presents from the residents of a small town.
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.
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.
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.
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.