Best Christmas movies on Netflix – from The Christmas Chronicles to Klaus

Best Christmas movies on Netflix – from The Christmas Chronicles to Klaus

It seemed the festive season began as soon as Halloween ended, with the Christmas adverts 2021 already on repeat and the Christmas TV 2021 line-up shaping up nicely.

However the big question is: when is it acceptable to watch Christmas films? However with festive flicks entering the Netflix Top Ten as early as October, it seems many of us have long been hankering for some seasonal goodwill.

Netflix, of course, produces many of their own Christmas films, but have also added some of the classics just in time for the holidays. If you’re looking for some guidance on where to start, the RadioTimes.com team have picked out a few of our our festive favourites – consider it our gift to you.

Showing items 1 to 13 of 13

  • The Christmas Chronicles

    • Action
    • Comedy
    • 2018
    • Clay Kaytis
    • 103 mins
    • PG

    Summary:

    The story of sister and brother, Kate and Teddy Pierce, whose Christmas Eve plan to catch Santa Claus on camera turns into an unexpected journey that most kids could only dream about.

    Why watch The Christmas Chronicles 1 and 2?:

    At first The Christmas Chronicles may seem like a curio, mainly of interest due to the stunt casting of Kurt Russell as an unusually sexy Santa Claus – but beyond the star billing the first instalment actually turned out to be one of the most entertaining and sweet Christmas movies for years, tapping into a kind of nostalgia for ’90s festive movies like Home Alone or Jingle All the Way.

    The story is fairly slight – two kids accidentally crash Santa’s sleigh and have to help him save Christmas and deliver presents – but Russell’s charisma and plenty of action make for an enjoyable and (dare we say it) genuinely heartwarming romp.

    How to watch

  • The Princess Switch

    • Comedy
    • Drama
    • 2018
    • Mike Rohl
    • PG

    Summary:

    Competing in a Christmas baking competition in Belgravia, a Chicago baker bumps into the prince’s fiancée–who looks just like her. They switch lives for two days.

    Why watch The Princess Switch?:

    If you like your festive fare with a healthy helping of cheese, then The Princess Switch is one to add to your Christmas list. Vanessa Hudgens plays Stacey, a talented baker struggling to get over a break-up who, as chance would have it, is the exact double of Lady Margaret Delacourt, Duchess of Montenaro (also Hudgens) – so of course the pair end up swapping lives, with Lady Margaret escaping her loveless engagement to Prince Edward of Belgravia (Sam Palladio) and falling in love with Stacey’s best friend Kevin, while Stacey enjoys a taste of Royal life and falls for the dishy Edward…but will they be caught out?

    The film’s every bit as ridiculous and predictable as that synopsis suggests, but that doesn’t stop The Princess Switch from being a supreme guilty pleasure – it’s frothy fun with a game cast. – Morgan Jeffery, Executive Editor

    How to watch

  • Jingle Jangle: a Christmas Journey

    • Family
    • Fantasy
    • 2020
    • David E Talbert
    • 120 mins
    • PG

    Summary:

    An imaginary world comes to life in a holiday tale of an eccentric toymaker, his adventurous granddaughter, and a magical invention that has the power to change their lives forever.

    Why watch Jingle Jangle: a Christmas Journey?:

    This lavish festive musical arrives on Netflix in November, telling the story of Jeronicus Jangle, an eccentric inventor who loses his passion for life after a personal tragedy. It takes a visit from his granddaughter, a creative young girl called Journey, to once again spark his enthusiasm – but it might be too late to thwart a dastardly scheme by his former apprentice-turned-rival.

    Jingle Jangle is a quintessential children’s Christmas story in how it places messages of hope and optimism at the forefront. John Legend and Usher are among the names involved in crafting the musical numbers and there are also some fun action sequences that should succeed in keeping young imaginations fed.

    It’s questionable whether there’s any crossover appeal for the adults watching, but if you’re looking for a film to enchant the kids then Jingle Jangle could be a good choice. Forest Whitaker and newcomer Madalen Mills lead the cast, which also includes comedian Keegan-Michael Key and Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville. – David Craig, Writer-Researcher

    How to watch

  • A Christmas Prince

    • Comedy
    • Family
    • 2017
    • Alex Zamm
    • PG

    Summary:

    When a reporter goes undercover as a tutor to get the inside scoop on a playboy prince, she gets tangled in some royal intrigue and ends up finding love – but will she be able to keep up her lie?

    Why watch A Christmas Prince?:

    The A Christmas Prince franchise has spawned three films in as many years, but the original in 2017 remains the best of the bunch.

    The plot centres on an aspiring journalist, Amber Moore, who is sent by her editor to the fictional town of Aldovia to cover an exciting story about a dashing prince who is all set to be crowned king.

    Of course, Amber ends up getting much more than a big scoop: while attending a press conference, she is mistaken for young Princess Emily’s new tutor and assumes her identity in a bid to snoop on the royals, eventually falling in love with the elusive Prince.

    The film is knowingly cheesy and trashy – leaning into the style popularised by Hallmark Christmas movies – and despite lacking any formal qualities it makes for a tremendously fun festive watch, packed with warmth. Just don’t take it too seriously! – Patrick Cremona, Writer-Researcher

    How to watch

  • Let It Snow

    • Comedy
    • Romance
    • 2019
    • Luke Snellin
    • 92 mins
    • 12

    Summary:

    In a small town on Christmas Eve, a snowstorm brings together a group of young people.

    Based on the young adult novel of the same name, 2019’s Let It Snow is a charming Christmas rom-com that explores a group of high-school seniors’ friendships and love lives against the backdrop of an epic party at the local Waffle Town. The film’s biggest selling point is its talented young cast, with Kiernan Shipka (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) and Mitchell Hope carrying off an endearing will they/won’t they plot as best friends (or more?) Duke and Tobin, and the likes of Shameik Moore (Spider-Man: into the Spider-Verse) and Jacob Batalon (Spider-Man: Far from Home) delivering winning supporting turns. Full of Christmas cheer, this is undemanding festive fodder that, at a snappy 93 minutes, happily doesn’t outstay its welcome – Morgan Jeffery, Executive Editor

    How to watch

  • Klaus

    • Action
    • Animation
    • 2019
    • Sergio Pablos
    • 96 mins
    • PG

    Summary:

    A simple act of kindness always sparks another, even in a frozen, faraway place. When Smeerensburg’s new postman, Jesper, befriends toymaker Klaus, their gifts melt an age-old feud and deliver a sleigh full of holiday traditions.

    Why watch Klaus?:

    The only Netflix original Christmas film to be nominated for an Academy Award (so far, at least), Klaus is a wonderful animated feature that provides an alternative look at the origins of Father Christmas.

    Set in the 19th century, it follows a struggling postman who is sent to an island town in the Far North and soon comes across a reclusive toymaker, Klaus, with whom he becomes fast friends.

    Written and directed by Spanish animator Sergio Pablos, the film has everything you could possibly want from a Christmas movie: plenty of humour, a heartwarming narrative, and no shortage of festive magic.

    With beautiful animation, a stellar voice cast that includes JK Simmons, Jason Schwartzman and Rashida Jones, and most importantly an excellent story, this was well worth its nomination in the best animation category at the Oscars, and should be considered a must-watch for the festive season. – Patrick Cremona, Writer-Researcher

    How to watch

  • A Very Murray Christmas

    • Comedy
    • Music
    • 2015
    • Sofia Coppola

    Why watch A Very Murray Christmas?:

    It won’t be for everyone, but if you’re an admirer of Bill Murray’s offbeat comic stylings – and in particular a fan of his 1988 Christmas Carol update Scrooged – then you’ll find much to enjoy in A Very Murray Christmas.

    Part surrealist comedy, part variety special, this 2015 film reunites Murray with his Lost in Translation director Sofia Coppola and sees Murray (playing himself) encounter a whole parade of stars – including Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones and Chris Rock – while trapped in New York City’s Carlyle Hotel during a huge snowstorm. The highlight has to be a surreal fantasy sequence in which, after drinking himself into unconsciousness, Murray dreams up a duet of Sleigh Ride with Miley Cyrus while George Clooney prepares martinis. If you’re looking for a unique holiday experience this year, then A Very Murray Christmas is required viewing. – Morgan Jeffery, Executive Editor

    How to watch

  • The Holiday

    • Comedy
    • Drama
    • 2006
    • Nancy Meyers
    • 130 mins
    • 12A

    Summary:

    Romantic comedy starring Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black. After breaking up with her boyfriend, Los Angeles workaholic Amanda is in need of a holiday. An online search persuades her to exchange her California home over Christmas for the remote Surrey cottage of journalist Iris, who has just found out her ex is getting married. But the transatlantic swap soon leads to more romantic entanglements for the two women.

    Why watch The Holiday?:

    When it comes to Christmas rom-coms, few can compete with 2006’s The Holiday – Nancy Meyers’ house-swap romance. Starring ’00s blockbuster royalty Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, Kate Winslet and Jack Black, this entertaining if somewhat predictable flick directed and written by the queen of romantic comedies is a modern Christmas classic.

    After her needy ex-boyfriend announces he’s engaged, journalist Iris (Winslet) decides to get out of London for Christmas and house swaps with movie trailer producer Amanda (Diaz), who is looking to escape Los Angeles after discovering her boyfriend has cheated on her. While the two women decide to focus on themselves during their festive retreats, they’re both distracted by charming locals – Iris’s widowed brother Graham in Amanda’s case, and Amanda’s colleague Miles for Iris.

    With a soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer and endearing performances from its A-list cast, feel-good film The Holiday is worth adding to your Christmas watch-list. – Lauren Morris, Writer-Researcher

    How to watch

  • Krampus

    • Comedy
    • Horror
    • 2015
    • Michael Dougherty
    • 93 mins
    • 15

    Summary:

    Comedy horror starring Adam Scott and Toni Collette. When a young boy becomes disenchanted with everything that Christmas stands for it summons up the demonic opposite to Santa Claus that unleashes terror upon his family.

    Why watch Krampus?:

    Who says that Christmas movies have to be all smiles and cheer? Krampus is an entry into the niche sub-genre of festive horror, telling the darkly comic story of the Engel family, whose constant arguing is a far cry from the spirit of the season. Their complete lack of hope attracts the malicious spirit of Krampus, a figure from traditional Austro-Bavarian folklore who punishes those who have misbehaved.

    The film gets off to a flying start by introducing its memorable cast of characters, propelled by a fun script and strong performances from the likes of Toni Collette (Hereditary), Allison Tolman (Fargo) and Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation). From there, director Michael Dougherty effectively builds suspense, utilising some excellent production design as the family faces off against a mysterious blizzard and the creatures lurking therein.

    While by no means revolutionary, Krampus is a well executed Christmas horror film with a sense of humour and solid tension throughout. Those looking for a break from cliche festive stories should find this a welcome breath of fresh air. – David Craig, Writer-Researcher

    How to watch

  • Love Actually

    • Comedy
    • Drama
    • 2003
    • Richard Curtis
    • 129 mins
    • 15

    Summary:

    Ensemble romantic comedy featuring Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Keira Knightley and Bill Nighy. In London, during the weeks leading up to Christmas, people from various walks of life – among them adult film performers, a washed-up rock star and the British Prime Minister – suffer the emotional highs and lows of being in love.

    Why watch Love Actually?:

    Is there anything else that needs to be said about Love Actually? The Richard Curtis film has joined the elite pantheon of Christmas modern classics since its release in 2003, and along with the likes of Die Hard and Elf is essential viewing every year.

    For those unfamiliar with the plot, Love Actually follows ten separate stories of love which interlink and connect over one memorable Christmas, including a budding romance between the Prime Minister and one of his staff, a best man’s unrequited love for his friend’s wife and a washed-out rock and roll star competing for Christmas number one among others.

    Love Actually famously has one of the best British cast lists of all time, full of acting legends and then up-and-comers including – wait for it – Hugh Grant, Martine McCutcheon, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy and more. Phew!

    Love Actually shows love in all its forms, including several stories that don’t have a happy ending – we’re still heartbroken for Emma Thompson’s character – but manages to end on such an uplifting and feel-good note that it’s no wonder it has become a cultural phenomenon. It’s still referenced and parodied to this day, with Ted Lasso among the most recent to pay homage to the famous card scene. – Daniel Furn, Freelance Writer

    How to watch

  • Last Christmas

    • Comedy
    • Drama
    • 2019
    • Paul Feig
    • 98 mins
    • 12

    Summary:

    Romantic comedy starring Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding and Emma Thompson. London, 2017: life could be better for twenty-something chaos magnet Kate, who has her heart set on being a singer but works all year round as an elf in a Covent Garden store. Then she meets too-good-to-be true Tom. Could romance be in the air?

    Why watch Last Christmas?:

    In many ways Last Christmas is the spiritual successor to Love Actually as the whimsical London-based Christmas rom-com of choice – but with the added bonus of a George Michael soundtrack. Last Christmas is based on Michael’s timeless 1984 song of the same name, and follows disillusioned Christmas Store worker Katarina whose life takes a turn when she meets the mysterious Tom – but he might be too good to be true.

    Emilia Clarke is bursting with charisma, so she’s a perfect fit for a rom-com after several years on the somewhat less Christmassy Game of Thrones – and she shares great chemistry with Crazy Rich Asians actor Henry Golding, who is himself a big rising star.

    The film’s plot twists can be spotted from a mile away, but it hardly matters as Last Christmas is the perfect kind of festive folly to watch with a mince pie to get that Christmas feeling flowing. Plus it’s the perfect way to relive some of George Michael’s biggest hits – including a brand-new unreleased song. – Daniel Furn, Freelance Writer

    How to watch

  • Nativity!

    • Comedy
    • Family
    • 2009
    • Debbie Isitt
    • 101 mins
    • U

    Summary:

    Comedy starring Martin Freeman. Despite being traumatised by a bad review years earlier, primary school teacher Paul Maddens is tasked with directing the annual Nativity play. Taunted by a teacher from a rival school, Paul foolishly promises that an old flame, now a Hollywood producer, is coming to see his production.

    Why watch Nativity!?:

    Directing primary school children in a nativity play sounds like an unenviable task – but it’s also the perfect premise for a light-hearted Christmas comedy. Nativity! stars Martin Freeman as Paul, a heartbroken primary school teacher who fibs that a Hollywood producer will be turning the school’s play into a film. As the lie grows, Paul might just have to get Hollywood to visit – by putting on the biggest nativity of all time.

    Nativity! is undoubtedly one of the sweetest and good-natured Christmas films out there – which is really saying something. While Freeman stars, he is nearly upstaged by the gaggle of adorable children he teaches – as well as Marc Wootton’s immature but enthusiastic classroom assistant Mr Poppy. Look out for cameos from Alan Carr and Ricky Tomlinson also.

    Nativity! was so successful it launched a franchise, including three sequels and a stage musical. – Daniel Furn, Freelance Writer

    How to watch

  • Deck the Halls

    • Comedy
    • Drama
    • 2006
    • John Whitesell
    • 89 mins
    • PG

    Summary:

    Seasonal comedy starring Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick. When Buddy Hall puts enough Christmas lights on his house to ensure it can be seen from space, his uptight neighbour Steve Finch decides to fight back, prompting a game of one-upmanship that quickly gets out of control.

    Why watch Deck the Halls?:

    Everyone knows that one house that goes a tad over the top with their festive decorations – and that seasonal staple gets the big-screen treatment in this comedic Christmas caper.

    It’s Danny DeVito versus Matthew Broderick, with the two playing neighbours determined to have their houses lit so brightly they can be seen from space. However, what starts out as a friendly competition soon gets out of hand – with everything from camels to fireworks and even rockets getting involved.

    Undeniably slapstick, Deck the Halls is a perfect one to watch with the kids, or indeed anyone with a silly sense of humour. It’s also likely to have more Christmas lights than any other film – so if that doesn’t put you in a festive mood nothing will. – Daniel Furn, Freelance Writer

    How to watch

  • See more Best Christmas movies on Netflix – from The Christmas Chronicles to Klaus

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