Best Christmas movies and TV shows
Welcome to TechRadar's ultimate guide to the best Christmas movies on Netflix, as well as all the brilliant TV specials worth watching.
Christmas, the time of year when it's always snowing, mulled wine is on tap, and all our problems are forgotten... okay, maybe it's not that simple, but at least you can live out that dream through TechRadar's best Christmas movies and TV shows on Netflix list. From 4K fireplaces and modern comedies to grainier classics, we've got everything you could need.
Don't worry, if you aren't yet full of Christmas cheer, this guide if sure to help amend that. We've 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 in the list.
We have also added in the TV specials that are the creme of the Christmas crop – including A Very Murray Christmas starring Bill Murray, obviously.
A Very Murray Christmas (4K Ultra HD)
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. Available to play in 4K, and even 5.1 surround sound to get the most out of Murray's crooning vocals.
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.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina may have been the talk of Halloween – helped by its plentiful use of witches, demons, and the occult – but it's been given a Christmas special to tide things over until the second season arrives in 2019.
Hammy, but grippingly fun, there are worse ways to spend your Christmas than catching up on Sabrina's latest magical misfortunes.
League of Gentleman 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.
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.
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.
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.
Bojack Horseman Christmas Special
BoJack Horseman 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.
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.
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.
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.
The Christmas Chronicles: a new Netflix Christmas movie featuring Kurt Russell as the famous Santa Claus, as he enlists two youngsters to help him save Christmas. Cue plenty of chasing reindeer, absent parents, CGI elves, and festive in-jokes. Russell's the spitting image of ol' Saint Nick, and this would make a fun diversion for all the family.