The 20 Best Christmas Movies on Netflix – December 2018
When it comes to watching holiday films during the final month of the year, there’s no shortage of options to get into the holiday spirit. Many choose to spend their time catching up on films through Hallmark or Lifetime, which offer charming romantic-comedies throughout the season. Freeform offers their 25 Days of Christmas throughout the entire holiday season, making it easy to watch some Christmas favorites like The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Santa Clause, and many more. And of course, most of us own at least a few holiday films on DVD.
If you’re looking to dive into the world of Christmas classics, we can’t recommend Netflix’s mix of undiscovered treasures, classic TV movies, made-for-Netflix romances, and major motion pictures that bring forth all sorts of feels to get you in the Christmas spirit. The world’s most popular streaming service offers hundreds of Christmas flicks for you to choose from. Here are 20 of the best Christmas movies currently streaming on Netflix for December 2018, in no particular order.
One of the newest original films from Netflix, The Christmas Chronicles follows two siblings on Christmas Eve. When their single mother leaves them home alone for the night, Kate and Teddy Pierce hatch a scheme to capture Santa Claus to prove his existence using a camera. When they manage to capture footage of his sleigh, the two try to land in his sleigh, only to meet the man himself (played by Kurt Russell). The film is a wild adventure through Chicago as the trio attempts to save Christmas, and while we won’t argue the film is high art in any way, Kurt Russell’s performance makes this all the more merrier. Definitely check this one out.
The directorial debut of Richard Curtis (best known for his scripts throughout the 1990s, including Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, and Bridget Jones’ Diary), Love Actually tells nine full stories of people intertwined with each other through the emotion of love. From the newly-elected British prime minister who falls for a junior staffer to a graphic designer who takes care of her brother, the stories tell of love, lust, romance, and the complicated feelings surrounding all three. Featuring performances from Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Bill Nighy, Martin Freeman, and many, many more, the film was a major commercial success, though critical reception was more mixed.
Retired World War II army soldiers Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) choose to live their post-war life touring as a successful duet, becoming producers and even mounting a successful musical on Broadway. When they meet two sisters named Betty and Judy performing, the two find themselves smitten with each of the girls. As they follow the women to a bed and breakfast in rural Vermont, they meet their commander from World War II, General Waverly, who has found himself in difficult financial times as his inn begins to fail. The four decide to put on a musical at the inn to help attract an audience of people to stay at the business, and end up falling in love along the way.
In this live-action retelling of the children’s classic, Ron Howard directs Jim Carrey in the highest-grossing film of 2000. How the Grinch Stole Christmas expands fully on the 1960s special, giving the Grinch an origin story and expanding on the tales of the Whos down in Whoville. As the story goes, the Whos love Christmas, considering it the most special time of year. However, the Grinch, who lives up on Mount Crumpit above town, does not. As the Grinch goes about figuring out how to steal the holiday from the Whos once and for all, a single Who, Cindy Lou Who, will try her best to inspire the Christmas spirit in both the Grinch and the consumerist-filled town altogether.
Christmas films are typically either family fare or romantic comedies and dramas, often falling somewhere between the two. It comes with the territory for the season, so it only makes sense that a black comedy following the exploits of one bad Santa would find major blockbuster status in 2003. A raunchy, dark comedy, Bad Santa follows Willie T. Stokes and his partner (Tony Cox), who get together once a year to pose as a mall Santa and elf in order to rip off shopping outlets during Christmas Eve. More than ever, Willie finds himself despondent this Christmas, depressed and addicted to alcohol. When his behavior catches the eye of a mall security guard (played by the late Bernie Mac), Willie turns to a young boy to help bring out the charm in his life
Christmas variety shows don’t really exist anymore, which made it all the more special when Netflix released this brand-new, Bill Murray-starring variety hour in 2015. Directed by Sofia Coppola (The Bling Ring, the Murray-starring Lost in Translation), the film follows Bill Murray as he gets stuck in his apartment in New York City with a snowstorm outside. As most of his guests for his live variety show cancel, he decides to go on with the show, albeit with minimal crew. As the show continues, Murray flees, finds himself in the hotel bar, stuck without much of a choice on what to do. Featuring a full cast of actors including Michael Cera, Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Jason Schwartzman, Miley Cyrus, Chris Rock, and many, many more, A Very Murray Christmas is the best holiday tradition you don’t know about.
The romantic-comedy that seemed to swallow the internet whole in 2017, A Christmas Prince is basically the plot of Fifty Shades of Grey, if you replaced all of the adult content with Christmas magic and made the male lead a member of the royal family. When Amber (Rose McIver, iZombie), an aspiring American journalist, is sent to the nation of Aldovia to follow the crowning of Prince Richard, she hopes her reporting in Aldovia will lead to a big break in her career. As she heads to the royal family’s palace for the press conference, the prince fails to appear, frustrating the assembled journalists. Amber decides to snoop around the palace and while doing so is mistaken for young Princess Emily’s new tutor. Using this as an opportunity, Amber decides to snoop around the palace for her story, all while falling for her prince in the process.
Another brand-new Netflix original for the 2018 holiday season, The Princess Switch follows Stacy De Novo (Vanessa Hudgens), a young baker who is in charge of a pastry shop in Chicago with her friend and single father Kevin. Before Christmas, Stacy learns from Kevin that their business was entered in a pastry competition in the Kingdom of Belgravia, which sends her flying to a brand-new country. As she goes sightseeing in the new place, she happens to meet Lady Margaret Delacourt (also Hudgens), who looks identical to Stacy. At the request of the princess herself, the two girls switch lives for a few days in order to see things through a different perspective.
Abby is working a dead-end job that seems to keep pushing her hobbies to the back burner as she continues to try to push to make money to keep herself fed. Though her family has gone on to do mostly-successful things, her passion for photography has kept her unable to get a job that pays well. However, when Abby gets her hands on an antique holiday advent calendar that seems to predict her future, everything changes when backpacker Josh comes into her life. Netflix’s most Hallmark-like film yet, The Holiday Calendar will impress anyone who enjoys the usual annual slate of Christmas films on cable.
This year’s sequel to A Christmas Prince sets up a dramatic following to the conclusion of the last film. After Amber successfully blogged about Richard’s true self and managed to win his heart, she’s living in Aldonia and preparing herself for the marriage of a lifetime, with Richard finally set to get the crown that’s rightfully his. The wedding will be set on Christmas, and for a bit, everything seems right. That is, until Amber realizes that her time of being a blogger and an aspiring journalist is likely limited. Finding herself split between loving her job and her fiance, she begins to rethink the wedding—and whether she’s cut out to be the queen of an entire nation.
One of Netflix’s 2017 holiday releases, Christmas Inheritance follows Ellen (Eliza Taylor, The 100), an heiress who is unable to inherit her father’s business before delivering a Christmas card to her dad’s former partner in the small town of Snow Falls. As often happens around Christmas, Ellen finds herself stuck in Snow Falls when a snowstorm hits the area. In the process, she’s befriended by Jake (Jake Lacy, The Office), who runs the local inn in the area. As Ellen works at the inn to afford rent when she’s out of cash, she learns Jake’s wife left him during Christmastime. The two find hope in each other, and despite the setbacks from Ellen’s weather troubles, discover just what Christmas is all about.
A Disney classic (and the first of three Mickey-themed specials on this list), Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas is an annual tradition for many. Telling multiple stories over its runtime, the film follows three stories either original or based on a classic work of literature. In the first, Donald Duck’s nephews Huey, Luey, and Dewey wake up on Christmas to wish that it was Christmas every single day for the rest of their lives, only to get their wish in the worst way. In the second, Goofy and his son Max send a letter to Santa, only for Max to become concerned that Santa doesn’t exist. As Goofy tries to prove to Max that Santa is real, he only trips up more and more in his efforts. Finally, the third story retells The Gift of the Magi, with Mickey and Minnie rushing to give each other the best Christmas gifts they can without much cash.
In the sequel to Once Upon a Christmas, Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas follows in the shoes of its predecessor by telling five new stories, this time all original to the world of Disney. Over five shorts, viewers will witness the stories of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Max, and many more as they celebrate yet another Christmas. The animation here switches to CGI animation, an unfortunate outcome, as the film looks noticeably more dated than its traditional cousin. Still, for those fans of the first film, Twice Upon a Christmas represents a solid take on new stories.
It seems remarkable that Air Bud, an unassuming film that received mixed reviews but made plenty of money on a small budget of just $3 million. Though it only spawned one theatrical sequel, the series kept churning out sequels thanks to the market for straight-to-DVD films, with five traditional Air Bud sequels before switching over to seven more Air Buddies sequels from 2006 to 2013. Though mainly meant for children, Santa Buddies is one of the better of these Air Buddies films, thanks to its inclusion of holiday cheer. In fact, Santa Buddies was able to spawn two sequels of its own: The Search for Santa Paws and Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups.
Black Mirror has gone from an underground hit to a full-blown classic on Netflix, with a fifth season reportedly coming before the end of 2018. Until then, it’s a great time to check out Black Mirror‘s Christmas special, the final episode that aired before the show was picked up by Netflix for the third and fourth seasons. White Christmas is notable for starring Jon Hamm, along with Rafe Spall. The two men play Matt and Joe, respectively, who are stationed at a remote outpost in the middle of a snow-covered forest. While trying to pass the time, they tell each other stories of their lives that eventually point to how the men got where they are.
The third and final Christmas special from Mickey and his friends, Mickey’s Magical Christmas is based on the House of Mouse television series that aired on ABC during Saturday mornings. Released following Once Upon a Time but prior to its sequel, the story takes place within the plot of House of Mouse, and focuses more on the plot of the show than the other two specials. The special begins after a successful Christmas Eve show held at the House of Mouse, when a snowstorm blocks the exists and prevents them from leaving. With Donald having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit, the gang decides to get together to play different cartoons to help him get into the right mood.
In this live-action adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s fantastical ballet, young Marie awakens to find that toys and mice have grown much larger, and a villainous rodent ruler begins to torment her. Coming to Marie’s aid, however, is the Nutcracker Prince, who protects her from the evil mouse amidst lively dance sequences. Also inhabiting this dreamy realm is the Sugarplum Fairy (Darci Kistler) and her dashing cavalier. Featuring an all-star cast, including a young Macaulay Culkin as the Nutcracker Prince himself, this recording of the stage show is a must-see for any ballet fans.
In this long-delayed sequel to Bad Santa, Willie is back at his usual antics following a missed opportunity at a happy ending. Drunk, angry, and deeper in depression than ever, Willie once again teams up with Marcus to rob a Chicago charity on Christmas Eve. Accompanying them is Thurman Merman, the kid from the first film who helped Willie find his way. When Willie’s mother Sunny comes along to try to steal more cash, the group decides to continue the plot. The film wasn’t quite as accepted or critically-acclaimed as the original, but since it’s streaming on Netflix, there’s no reason not to give it a shot. Billy Bob Thornton, after all, remains as fun as ever.
The quality of this particular film is mixed to say the least, but in some ways, we have to give this a shoutout if only for how crazy it is. Pottersville features an all-star cast of performers, including Michael Shannon, Judy Greer, Ron Perlman, Tom Lennon, Christina Hendricks—the list goes on and on. The film follows Maynard Griefer, a general store owner in Pottersville. When Maynard discovers his wife having a kink-fueled affair with the sheriff of the town, Maynard begins dressing up in a gorilla costume until he’s identified as Bigfood. Continuing the lie, Maynard begins to milk the situation for as much cash as possible, all well set to the backdrop of Christmas. It’s not very good, but it is absolutely wild.
When young Tom find Santa himself crashed in his garden shed, St. Nick is forced to ask Tom and his dad Steve (Rafe Spall) for help. With just a few days before Christmas arrives, the trio have just hours to gather up the reindeer running rampant through the streets of London. While Steve tries to deal with his parole officer, having recently been released from jail for his work as a getaway driver, he’ll have to bend the rules of the law to save the day once and for all. It’s a charming British holiday flick, perfect for this time of the year. Oh, and Jim Broadbent (Harry Potter, Paddington) plays Santa Claus. What other reason could you need?