It’s no secret that Netflix is seeking world domination, or at least it is when it comes to the world of film and television. So as the streaming service continues its foray into unscripted fare, animation, sci-fi, cooking shows and everything in between, let’s not forget that it’s making a solid play at Christmas movies, too.
Since 2017, Netflix has been increasing its Christmas content, unrolling more and more titles (and sequels) in order to compete with the behemoth that is Hallmark while using those old algorithms to give the people what they truly want: a feel-good holiday.
Whether you’re in the mood for a weird stop-motion story of an alien in the North Pole, a romantic story with a royal setting, or a bright musical written for the whole family, here are 16 of the best Christmas movies currently available to stream on Netflix.
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1. El Camino Christmas (2017)
BEST CHRISTMAS ALTERNATIVE
If dark comedies are in your Christmas wheelhouse, you’ll probably appreciate the nuances of this star-studded robbery flick. Dubbed “the Christmas no one wanted,” it revolves around a man who takes people hostage in a liquor mart and the police who attempt to stop him. Dax Shepard, Kurtwood Smith, Luke Grimes, Michelle Mylett, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jessica Alba and Tim Allen star.
2. Alien Xmas (2020)
BEST STOP-MOTION ANIMATION
Critics fell in love with last year’s stop-motion alien Christmas offering, perhaps in part because it’s so different than many of the streaming service’s other holiday films. When a young elf mistakes a tiny alien for a Christmas gift, the extra-terrestrial’s plans to steal Earth’s gravity (not to mention all the presents) is thwarted by the holiday spirit.
3. Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square (2020)
BEST FOR DOLLY PARTON FANS
Throwing the famed crooner’s name in the title only made fans more eager for this Emmy-nominated Christmas movie on Netflix, which also happens to feature 14 original songs from the performer. On-screen Parton also makes an appearance as an angel, however, the real heavy lifting is done by The Good Fight lead Christine Baranski. She plays a modern-day version of Scrooge, adding a ton of credibility to the flick.
4. A Christmas Prince (2017)
BEST FOR ROYAL WATCHERS
Netflix put it all on the table with what may call their original Christmas film debut. How else do you describe a royal love story in which a regular Plain Jane reporter travels on assignment to a gorgeous castle, meets a single Prince and falls in love? It’s no wonder this one spawned two sequels (The Royal Wedding and The Royal Baby), but most critics and viewers seem to agree that the original is still the best of the three.
5. Let it Snow (2019)
Teen stories intersect in this coming-of-age Christmas movie on Netflix, which is as much about the holidays as it is about dealing with angsty teens in love. Set in a small Midwestern town, the film follows various storylines before they all come together during a snowstorm and an epic Christmas Eve party.
6. Klaus (2019)
Netflix did a big promotional push in conjunction with the release of this animated flick, in which a struggling mail carrier is reassigned to a remote island near the Arctic Circle. There he befriends a carpenter named Klaus (voiced by J.K. Simmons) and strikes up a heartwarming friendship the whole town can’t help but notice.
7. The Knight Before Christmas (2019)
Time travel, a medieval knight and the spark of the holidays come together for this unique holiday rom-com, which is filled with that cheesy holiday cheer that people eat up at this time of year. Vanessa Hudgens stars as a teacher who befriends, helps and eventually falls in love with a time-traveling knight (played by Josh Whitehouse), and before long neither of them want him to return home.
8. The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
Kurt Russell is the ultimate modern-day Santa in this family Christmas movie on Netflix about two kids who wait up for — and discover — the Jolly Old Elf on Christmas Eve. But when things go awry and the kids are found out, they must help Santa Claus recover before the holiday is ruined for all the boys and girls out there. This one was such a hit that it spawned last year’s sequel, The Christmas Chronicles 2, in which Goldie Hawn joins her husband onscreen as Mrs. Claus.
9. Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020)
When this musical dropped last holiday season it proved to be more of a spectacle than a regular old holiday flick thanks to the grandiose special effects and a smorgasbord of colors. There’s also a slew of notable actors including Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, Hugh Bonneville, Phylicia Rashad and Ricky Martin. Together they spin the tale of a fallen toymaker, his granddaughter and the villain intent on taking all of that magical holiday spirit for himself.
10. Holiday Rush (2019)
“It’s not what you’ve got, it’s what you’ve got around you.” Therein lies the central theme of this feel-good Christmas movie on Netflix, in which a successful radio host and widower with four kids loses his job and is forced to pack up his family to start over right around the holiday season. Of course, this is a holiday flick, so expect a little bit of romance along the way.
11. The Princess Switch (2018)
BEST DUAL ROLE
Is Hudgens the new Netflix Christmas darling? Quite possibly. The actor took on double duty for this identity-switching story, in which a Chicago-based baker heads to the fictional country of Belgravia for a royal baking contest. En route, she winds up switching places with a lookalike duchess who wants to know what it’s like to live a normal life before marrying a prince. It’s like the perfect hybrid of Christmas fare: baking, royalty, switched identities and a double love story … no wonder filmmakers doubled down with a sequel, The Princess Switch: Switched Again.
12. Holidate (2020)
Last year Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey teamed up for this romantic romp, in which two perpetually single people decide to be each other’s dates for every holiday going forward in order to avoid awkward family exchanges. Naturally, before long the farce turns into something more, delivering yet another feel-good Christmas movie on Netflix full of laughs and romantic moments.
13. The Holiday Calendar (2018)
What if a magical advent calendar made all of your Christmas wishes come true? That’s the basic premise of this Kat Graham, Quincy Brown and Ethan Peck-starring Christmas movie on Netflix. When an aspiring photographer is gifted her late grandmother’s advent calendar, magical and unexpected things begin happening. It’s basically one part holiday magic, one part love triangle and all parts holiday rom-com.
14. Operation Christmas Drop (2020)
The magic must have been real for Kat Graham in her first romantic holiday romp with the streaming service, because she returned with this heat-filled flick last year. Here she plays a congressional aid tasked with assessing whether an Air Force base that drops supplies and holiday presents to remote islands should remain open. However, she gets more than she bargained for when she begins crushing on the man in charge of the operation, played by Vikings star Alexander Ludwig.
15. Holiday in the Wild (2019)
BEST SECOND CHANCE AT ROMANCE
This Christmas movie on Netflix stars Kirstin Davis and Rob Lowe who trade in traditional Christmas trees and snowflakes for an African safari. The action picks up when a woman does her second honeymoon solo after her husband suddenly ends their relationship. But with a little time, a few awe-inspiring animals and someone new to crush on, she winds up rediscovering herself in ways she didn’t think possible.
16. Christmas Inheritance (2017)
When a socialite with little direction (Eliza Taylor) causes a public spectacle during the holidays, her father sends her to his small-town home to learn how to be a normal person. There, in the vein of many other rom-com Christmas movies on Netflix past, she not only recognizes the value of hard work and sharing but discovers a single guy who leaves her wondering whether she can possibly ever return to her former life again.