It's impossible to avoid the feeling in the air right now. It's the holiday season! Everyone's prepping for end of year celebrations, which means plenty of parties, hangouts, and a gluttony of sweet treats on every available surface. But what to do when you're all tuckered out and in need of warm, cozy couch time? Easy. Hunker down with one of our picks of great Christmas movies on Netflix.
Our choices offer something for every cinematic palette and for every type of occasion (though don't forget our list of the best Netflix movies if you want a broader non-Xmas palette). Whether you’re watching solo, or gathered around the TV with your nearest and dearest, there’s something here for everyone. Happy Binge- I mean, Holidays!
Runtime: 97 mins
Director: Sergio Pablos
Age rating: PG
It’s hard to cook up new takes on Christmas tales, but writer-director Sergio Pablos accomplishes it with aplomb in Klaus. An alternate approach to Santa Claus’ origin story, this warm, funny movie sees young postman Jasper, voiced by Jason Schwarztman, stationed by his father in an isolated town of Smeerenburg. While he’s tasked with generating a postal service, it’s impossible as the townsfolk pride themselves on bickering and fighting.
That is until Jasper and a local toy maker Klaus, voiced by JK Simmons, become friends and vow to dispense kindness on the local children. Traditional animation brings this sweet tale beautifully to life, in a manner that's at times is both breathtaking and simple. By the time the credits roll, the movie's central message of goodwill will have you smiling from ear to ear. It's entered the Christmas movie canon for most people who've seen it.
The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
Runtime: 103 mins
Director: Clay Kaytis
Age rating: PG
Since he first appeared in the snowy wilds of the Antarctic as MacReady in The Thing, Kurt Russell's frosty visage and grumpy mood made him a perfect match for Santa. Granted, in that 1982 horror flick, he's not quite as cheery as he is in this modern Christmas pic, but hey. This 2018 Netflix original delves into the idea that countless kiddos have pondered for decades; what would you do if you caught Santa on film?
The Christmas Chronicles brings this to life as siblings Kate and Teddy cling to it as their Christmas wish. The duo's plan to capture Saint Nick takes them onto a winter wonderland adventure that hits mostly predictable beats, but offers a familiar, cozy denouement. But what makes this most appealing is Russell, of course, who absolutely steals the show as the gruff man of the season, cementing his version into cinematic history as one of the best Santas ever.
Single All The Way (2021)
Runtime: 101 mins
Director: Michael Mayer
Age rating: PG
Recent years have found the holiday rom-com finally dragging itself into modern times with LGBTQ stories that are no longer relegated to supporting characters. Single All The Way is one such flick that finds social media manager Peter (Michael Urie) returning home for Christmas without a boyfriend. Keen to quash his family's constant barrage of love-life questions, he brings his best friend Nick (Philemon Chambers), but his fake-boyfriend ruse is derailed before it begins when his mom sets him up on a blind date with her hunky instructor (Luke Macfarlane).
As rom-com fans know, you're only as good as the supporting cast, and luckily Single All The Way provides an engaging ensemble in the form of Schitt's Creek's Jennifer Robertson as Peter's sister Lisa, Kathy Najimy as his mom Carole, and Jennifer Coolidge as his wacky Aunt Sandy. The charming turn from Urie who struggles to notice what's in front of him sells this romance which has a happy ending that's just the right side of sweet.
Falling For Christmas (2022)
Runtime: 93 mins
Director: Janeen Damian
Age rating: PG
Lindsay Lohan was always destined to return to the world of romantic comedies. This Netflix original is as warm and fuzzy as your favorite Christmas sweater and that’s all down to Lohan’s charm and wit. The Mean Girls star plays Sierra Belmont, an Aspen heiress who days before Christmas falls from a cliff in an engagement/skiing accident and wakes with amnesia.
When she comes to, she's nestled in the cozy lodge of Jake Russell (Glee's Chord Overstreet), who hours earlier had attempted to sell his business to Sierra's father. While the premise sounds very Hallmark movie, it avoids diving head-on into obvious cliches due to its fun, spiky script (from the writer behind cult-classic horror sequel Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II, we kid you not) that includes great gags (Lohan's honorary title working for her father is 'vice president of atmosphere') and a tender turn from Lohan, as the rich snob-turned-sweetheart.
Let It Snow (2019)
Runtime: 93 mins
Director: Luke Snellin
Age rating: PG-13
A Christmas movie for teens that's a contender for most underseen festive flick in recent years, Let It Snow wraps together three stories that all take place in the town of Laurel, Illinois. Think of it as a YA version of Love Actually with a hint of Go and you're in the vicinity of Luke Snellin's movie which adapts stories by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle. The movie takes place on Christmas Eve as a snowstorm hits town, throwing its group of teenagers into a tizzy.
Let It Snow packs its runtime with likeable characters and somewhat-believable storylines in a beautiful setting that captures the frantic anxieties of teen worry along with the romance of what the future holds. The stakes feel genuine and realistic, thanks to its fresh script by Kay Cannon (Pitch Perfect), and Laura Solon (Office Christmas Party) and the starry cast of up-and-comers that includes Shameik Moore, Liv Hewson, Kiernan Shipka, Mason Gooding, Isabela Merced, and Jacob Batalon. It's frankly an outrage that this movie isn't on more best Christmas movie lists– so add it to yours.
White Christmas (1954)
Runtime: 120 mins
Director: Michael Curtiz
Age rating: G
Michael Curtiz's 1954 flick makes it hard not to smile and embrace the festive season. This musical extravaganza stars Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye as friends Bob and Phil, a couple of World War II comrades who turn their friendship into a musical act. Writing enough showstopping tunes for a musical, their adventures find them crossing paths with sisters Betty and Judy, played by Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen.
The foursome wind up at a Vermont lodge at Christmas where the two vets win over the women through song and dance, and everyone waits for snow. This is the movie that transformed Bing Crosby's crooning classic into a well-loved smash hit, and also earned the Best Original Song Oscar back in 1942 (it originally appeared in Holiday Inn). What better way to spend the holiday than with this heart-warming wintry classic that evokes all the traditions of Christmas?
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Gem Seddon is a Seattle-based freelance entertainment writer with bylines at Vulture, Digital Spy, TechRadar, GamesRadar+, Total Film, What to Watch, and Certified Forgotten. Librarian by day, scribbler by night, Gem loves 90-minute movies, time travel romance, single-camera comedy shows, all things queer, all things horror, and queer horror. Alien and Scream are tied as her all-time favourite movie. She won't stop raving about Better Things.