From tried-and-true family classics to ones for the kids, there's no better way to get into the holiday spirit than with a festive film. With Netflix releasing its own list of Christmas movies, we’ve rounded up our favourites, so you don't have to. Grab your popcorn, cause you're in for a treat!
1. How The Grinch Stole Christmas
How the Grinch Stole Christmas was released in 2000, but still retains its title as one of the best Christmas movies. Set in the merry town of Whoville, the Grinch, played by Jim Carrey, makes it his goal to ruin Christmas for the Whos.
The Christmas-hating Grinch, with a heart two sizes too small, steals decorations, meals, and presents in his attempt to ruin Whoville’s favourite holiday. But when he meets Cindy Lou Who, the Grinch discovers the true spirit of Christmas. Will he be forgiven by the townspeople and join in the festivities?
Another book-to-movie adaptation, Matilda might not be a classic Christmas film, but it's most definitely a family favourite. A gifted young girl, Matilda Wormwood, is sent to Crunchem Hall after convincing her parents to send her to school. Despite the bleak prison-like atmosphere under the rule of evil principal Agatha Trunchball, Matilda finds comfort from Miss Honey, her 1st-grade teacher. Discovering she has telekinetic abilities, Matilda sends Miss Trunchbull into a frenzy. With some of the most unexpected twists along the way, Matilda is a magical adventure, perfect for the whole family.
3. The Christmas Chronicles: Part One & Two
Featuring Kurt Russell as Santa Claus, The Christmas Chronicles series follows the story of a mother named Claire and her children, Kate and Teddy. The adventure begins when the 2 kids sneak into Santa’s sleigh. Santa and the kids then wind up working together to deliver presents in a bid to save Christmas.
Add to that Santa’s sarcastic humour and the sibling dynamics, and this heartfelt Christmas flick is one for the records. When you’re done with The Christmas Chronicles, follow up with The Christmas Chronicles 2. Set in the North Pole, Kate and her stepbrother Jack find themselves unexpectedly transported to Santa Village while on holiday. With incredible graphics, this second instalment is sure to serve up a sweet dose of holiday cheer.
4. A Castle for Christmas
How about a holiday rom-com? A Castle for Christmas is a Netflix Original that was released in November 2021. Sophie Brown, an eleven-time best-selling author, escapes to Scotland after one of her books flops. Heading out to find the castle her grandfather used to tell her about, she finds herself butting heads with the castle's prickly owner, who makes it his objective to ruin her plans to purchase the property. Throughout the process of facing off with each other and attempting to find a compromise between them, they end up with something more than they had expected.
5. Fred Claus
What happens when 2 brothers - one well-behaved and the other a troublemaker - get together? Well, in Fred Claus, these siblings just so happen to be the Claus brothers. Vince Vaughn, who plays Fred Claus, gets called back to the North Pole by his brother, Nick Claus (Santa) to work off his debt. As Fred wreaks havoc on Nick’s operations in the time leading up to Christmas, the brothers find themselves in a sticky situation when an efficiency expert notifies them that the board is considering shutting down all Christmas operations. Doing everything they can to keep Christmas from being ruined, the brotherly love makes Fred Claus a good movie to watch during Christmas.
6. A Bad Moms Christmas
Christmas gets more stressful for these mums this year when their own mothers decide to come visit at the most wonderful time of the year. Watch as 3 mums, played by Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, and Kathryn Hahn make it their goal to just enjoy Christmas this time round. Breaking rules and letting loose in the craziest ways possible, A Bad Moms Christmas is a hilariously good time for the adults.
7. A Boy Called Christmas
A cross between The Polar Express and The Christmas Chronicles, A Boy Called Christmas follows the thrilling adventure of Nikolas, who sets out to find his father who in turn had left on a quest to prove the existence of the elves’ fabled village, Elfhelm. Facing many hurdles along the way, Nikolas is magically rescued by a pair of elves and taken to the very village his father was seeking. But there is a catch - humans aren't welcome there. Sure to have you and your family grinning like Scrooge on Christmas morning, this reimagination of the story of Father Christmas is an endearing one, and shows that nothing is impossible.
8. Mr Bean’s Holiday
Who doesn't like a dose of Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean? Having won a trip to Cannes, Mr. Bean finds himself between a rock and a hard place when he is left with Stephan Dachevsky, a little boy left on board a train without his father. With iconic scenes like Mr. Bean dancing to Shaggy’s Mr. Boombastic and lip-syncing ‘O mio babbino caro’, Mr. Bean’s Holiday will leave you rolling in tears from laughter.
9. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
An adaptation of the beloved Roald Dahl tale, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is, just like Matilda, not quite a Christmas movie, but perfect for the family. Directed by Tim Burton, this musical fantasy film takes you on a magical journey as the story of Charlie Bucket unfolds. Whether you’re a chocolate lover longing for a peek into Willy Wonka’s fantastic candy factory, or simply looking for a story that's about the adventure of a lifetime, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is worth the watch.
10. Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
Netflix-produced musical Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey offers a sweet escape from reality. Released in 2020, this relatively new release is a breath of fresh air, straying away from traditional Santa-focused storylines.
This Christmas story is about a toymaker named Jeronicus Jangle who owns the store Jangles and Things. But when his apprentice Gustafson steals his book of toy blueprints, everything crumbles.
Rekindling his lost passion for inventing is his granddaughter, Journey. Bursting with energy and beaming with positivity, the massive cast and poignant CGI scenes in this festive fantasy will fill you up with a boost of optimistic energy.
Another reimagining of the Santa Claus origin story, Klaus, is an animated family comedy. A nominee for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film and winner of the BAFTA Award for Best Animated Film, Klaus has without a doubt reached holiday classic status.
Despite being Netflix’s first foray into animation, the unique take on Christmas and Santa somehow works to deliver a highly entertaining story. With several life lessons sprinkled throughout, this hand-drawn animation will get you into the Christmas spirit.
12. Angela’s Christmas: Part One & Two
A delightful movie that can be watched over and over, Angela’s Christmas is the epitome of innocence. Based on a childhood story that Pulitzer Prize winning author Frank McCourt’s mother used to tell him, Angela’s Christmas is a heart-warming short film.
Set in Ireland in the early 1900s, it follows little Angela who has a lesson taught by her mother ingrained in her mind: “...families...shelter each other from the storm, they bring joy where there is sadness, warmth where there is none”. Having seen baby Jesus on Christmas eve without even a blanket to keep him warm, she takes him from the church to do just that. But, gets caught in the act and mistaken for a thief, can she avoid capture?
In Angela’s Christmas 2, Angela does whatever she can to get their dad back from Australia in time for Christmas. With each film running for less than an hour - 30 and 47 minutes respectively - it's easy to be swept away by Angela’s sweetness and hopefulness.
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