Best Christmas movies and TV shows
Welcome to TechRadar's ultimate guide to the best Christmas movies on Netflix, as well as brilliant TV specials to watch, too!
Christmas, the time of year when it's always snowing, mulled wine is on tap and we are all so lovely to each other... okay, maybe that's not the case but at least you can live out that dream through TechRadar's best Christmas movies and TV shows on Netflix list.
Don't worry, if you aren't yet full of Christmas cheer, it's not because you are dead inside, it's just that you haven't yet begun watching Christmas movies!
We have trawled through the Netflix archives and found the best Christmas movies and TV shows on Netflix - completely updated to make sure there are no turkeys on the list.
We haven't just compiled the movies that will get you in the spirit, but also ones that use the theme of Christmas in interesting ways - whether it's a couple of slasher flicks or an indie rom-com.
We have also added in the TV specials that are the creme of the Christmas crop - including A Very Murray Christmas which stars Bill Murray, obviously.
There are a ton of Krampus movies out there, but this 2015 movie is the best one. Starring Adam Scott and Toni Collette, a family is terrorised by a demon over the Christmas break - all because they start to lose their Christmas spirit. A nice mixture of dark humour and all-out scares makes this holiday fright fest one to watch.
The League of Gentlemen Christmas Special
If this list is anything to go by, it looks like horror and Christmas are truly combined. And none more so than in the Christmas special from The League of Gentlemen. This terrifying slice of TV sees Reverend Bernice haunted by Christmas, because it was the time of the year Papa Lazarou disguised as Santa Claus carried off her mother. Three tales entwine - with all the League's characters you know and love - to make one of the best Xmas specials ever made.
Deck The Halls
The best thing about Deck The Halls is the cast. It's great to see Matthew Broderick back in a movie and the fact he is joined by Danny DeVito, the superb Alia Shawkat and Kristen Davis is a bonus. The plot is slight: a new neighbour comes to town with the plan to put as many lights on his house as possible, not because it's festive but because he wants the lights to be seen from space. Partial hilarity ensues.
Royle Family: Christmas Special 2000
There is nothing better at Christmas than sitting down to a festive episode of the Royle Family. In this special, the Royles are joined by Emma's father, who annoys the hell out of Jim because of his continuous boasting. Oh, and it's also the one when Jim gets his ultimate present. Hint: it's something to do with television.
A Christmas Horror Story
Well, this is much better than it should be. A Christmas Horror Story is an anthology horror show that stars the one and only William Shatner. The stories are varied, but all have one thing in common: gore. As for Shatner, he's the tinsel that ties the whole thing together. He's a DJ that pretty much introduces all of the stories. Yes it's schlocky but it's also a lot of fun, a throwback to the likes of Creepshow, but with a lovely Xmas flavour.
Peter Mullen is fantastic in this movie that shouldn't be filled with festive cheer - it's about a homeless person trying to reconnect with his family - but it really is a heartwarming film. The supporting cast are great, too, with Him & Her's Sarah Solemani shining as always and a decent turn from Keith Allen. But this is Mullen's flick, and he's full of warmth throughout.
A Very Murray Christmas
A Very Murray Christmas is a concept that seems to good to be true. It's a variety show exclusive to Netflix that's hosted by the brilliantly barmy Bill Murray. The premise is slight: Murray is set to host a live Christmas special but New York is snowed in and the audience doesn't turn up. This doesn't stop him trying to put on the show of his life, which ends in a heady mix of comedy and singalong tunes. It's not perfect but it's got enough charm to whip up the Festive spirit in even the Scroogiest of Scrooges.
With a stellar voice line-up (James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent and Hugh Laurie are just a few A listers who lend their dulcet tones), great animation and a Christmas feel-good story that doesn't suck, Arthur Christmas ticks all the right boxes for a Christmas movie.
Plot-wise, Santa has missed off someone on his list so it's down to his goofy son to deliver the goods. Cue 97 minutes of mishap and mayhem, the kind Aardman Animations do best.
Black Mirror: White Christmas
Black Mirror has been given a new lease of life on Netflix, thanks to a new six-episode series that mines the latest technology trends for nightmare scenarios. This feature-length episode was released in 2014 and stars John Hamm and Rafe Spall. The episode consisted of three mini stories that combined to unleash all manner of psychological terror that just so happens to occur over the Christmas period.
There's some nice references to previous Black Mirror episodes, which makes this special even more mind-bending, given its one episode of a show that consists of the three mini stories that each hint at other Black Mirror stories within their storytelling. Our heads hurt just thinking about it.
Black Adder's A Christmas Carol
This one-off episode of the brilliantly British Blackadder sees the entire cast of the show ported into a grotesque Dickensian world. Rowan Atkinson plays Ebenezer Blackadder, owner of a moustache shop who, spinning the tale on its head, is someone who is nice to everyone. This soon changes when a ghost shows him the world where bad guys have all the fun and turns Blackadder into a horrible person.
Bojack Horseman Christmas Special
Bojack goes meta in this Christmas special, which centres around BoJack and Todd watching a Christmas edition of Horsin Around, the show BoJack used to star in. It's best to catch up with this brilliant cartoon before delving into this Christmas special, although it does stand up well on its own as a perfect sendup of all those cheesy '80s sitcoms.
The Christmas movie gets an indie makeover with Happy Christmas. Directed by Joe Swanberg and starring Anna Kendrick, Lena Dunham and Melanie Lynskey, the festive season is a backdrop to a story that focuses on Jenny (Kendrick) moving in with her older brother after a bad breakup. If you like your Christmas flicks to be a lot more real - booze is drunk, arguments are had, flirtations with pot dealers and plentiful - then Happy Christmas is for you.
Jingle All The Way
Little known fact for you: Jingle All The Way stars both the Terminator and Darth Vader. Well, Jake Lloyd who played the young Anakin in the Phantom Menace but, hey, it's a fact that stops me writing about Jingle All The Way. That's the thing with this movie - it's pretty bad. Like, really bad. But if you put it on, you can't help but watch it. Arnie is a bad dad that needs to buy his son a Turbo-Man toy to satiate his guilt that he never sees his family. But a man called Sinbad gets in his way.
Knowing Me, Knowing Yule
Now 20 years old, this Alan Partridge special is worth it for possibly the funniest ever Christmas TV moment. We won't give it away but it features a giant flaming cracker that's "five foot high, the height of a large cow, and 23 ft long. That's about the length of a small Chinese restaurant." Wonderful stuff.
Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol has been subject to many a film interpretation but Scrooged is one of the best. Set in the '80s where greed and opulence was rife, Bill Murray plays a cynical TV executive who is haunted by three ghosts. Murray's laconic humour steals the show, while Richard Donner's direction breathes life into the age-old tale.
Silent Night, Deadly Night
When it was first released in 1984, Silent Night, Deadly Night caused a boatload of controversy as it was a film that sullied the idea of Christmas. This was because the movie, which centres on a killer who dons a Santa Suit to murder his victims, was released around the Christmas period. This created the ultimate PR storm that resulted in angry families picketing the movie and it getting pulled from cinemas. While this splatter movie doesn't warrant all the furore surrounding its original release, it's a decent watch for those who want to turn all this Christmas cheer into jeer.
Now, we would have like to have put It's A Wonderful Life in here - that Christmas movies that pummels your emotions all the way up to its beautiful finale. But due to Netflix's short-term rights issues, it fell off Netflix sometime earlier in the year. So, instead here's Fireplace 4K - a loop of a log fire burning bright in glorious 4K, the perfect accompaniment to any tech-savvy house this Christmas.