Sure, it’s not even Halloween yet, but the summer is coming to an end, and pretty soon, we’ll be breaking out the blankets and hot chocolate. As the weather cools, our viewing habits change too. Yes, we’re officially getting close to Christmas movie season. Whether you’re a year-round Christmas celebrator or one who needs a little nip in the air, Netflix offers a host of Christmas flicks available year-round. To help you wade through the numerous selections, we’ve put together this roundup of the best Christmas movies on Netflix right now. Set the sprinklers, crank the AC, and hang your stockings because Santa is coming to town.
One of Netflix’s better-reviewed Hallmark-esque Christmas romances, A California Christmas stars real-life husband and wife Lauren and Josh Swickard as romantic leads. Josh plays a wealthy charmer who, seeing his carefree life at risk of falling apart, poses as a ranch hand to get a farmer (Lauren Swickard) to sell her family’s land.
Rotten Tomatoes: 60%
Stars: Lauren Swickard, Josh Swickard, Amanda Detmer
Director: Shaun Paul Piccinino
Runtime: 106 minutes
It’s 1334 in Norwich, England, and Cole Christopher Fredrick Lyons (Josh Whitehouse) falls into the company of an elusive enchantress that grants him the ability to time-travel to modern times. She also promises the young cherub that if he doesn’t complete an unknown quest, he will never be a true knight. Whisking Cole away to a Christmas-themed village in Ohio, he meets Brooke Winters (Vanessa Hudgens), a high school teacher that despises chivalry. In the lead-up to Christmas, stars align between Cole and Brooke as these two lost souls begin falling for one another. A fairly by-the-books Christmas standard, The Knight Before Christmas is a sugar-coated Netflix romance with a dash of holiday cheer thrown in for good measure, making for a final dish that is hard to deny.
Rotten Tomatoes: 70%
Stars: Vanessa Hudgens, Josh Whitehouse, Emmanuelle Chriqui
Director: Monika Mitchell
Runtime: 93 minutes
Erica (Katerina Graham) is a hard-nosed political aide assigned to investigate a U.S. Air Force Base. Intending to search for reasons to shutter the island operation, Erica’s pink-slip mission is suddenly put to the test when she meets Captain Andrew Jantz (Alexander Ludwig). When Andrew begins touring the base with Erica, he introduces her to a benevolent yuletide tradition, Operation Christmas Drop — a seasonal airlifting of goods to surrounding impoverished isles. The more time Erica spends with Andrew, and the more good cheer she is privy to, the harder it is for her to want to disband the base. Operation Christmas Drop is a holiday romance wrapped with a tropical bow. While not close to reinventing the Christmas rom-com, it hits all the beats that we’d expect, and the on-screen chemistry between Graham and Ludwig is hard to turn away from.
Rotten Tomatoes: 47%
Stars: Katerina Graham, Alexander Ludwig, Trezzo Mahoro
Director: Martin Wood
Runtime: 95 minutes
The holidays are full of awkward gatherings with friends and family that are only more awkward when you’re single. Fed up with being the odd ones out, two strangers agree to be each other’s platonic plus-ones for the entire year. As you might expect, however, they start catching feelings.
Rotten Tomatoes: 44%
Stars: Emma Roberts, Luke Bracey, Kristin Chenoweth
Director: John Whitesell
Runtime: 103 minutes
Jingle Jangle is a Christmas musical for the ages. Featuring original compositions by John Legend and Philip Lawrence, the story follows Jeronicus Jangle (Forest Whitaker), a toymaker and shop owner who falls on hard times when his trusted assistant, Gustafsan (Keegan-Michael Key), runs off with the inventor’s latest miracle, a sentient matador doll named Don Juan Diego that doesn’t want to be mass-produced. Together, Diego and Gustafsan rob Jeronicus of his hard work. Years later, after the death of his wife and estrangement from his daughter, Jangle is visited by a local banker, Mr. Delacroix (Hugh Bonneville), who tells Jangle that if he doesn’t produce a new successful invention by Christmas, he will lose his now floundering shop. When all hope seems lost, the reemergence of Jangle’s daughter and aspiring inventor granddaughter may finally set things straight for the down-on-his-luck tinkerer. Lovingly filmed and grandiose in every way, this is a holiday extravaganza you won’t soon forget.
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Stars: Forest Whitaker, Keegan-Michael Key, Hugh Bonneville
Director: David E. Talbert
Runtime: 120 minutes
A famous Technicolor marvel, Michael Curtiz’ White Christmas stars Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye as Captain Bob Wallace and Private First Class Phil Davis, a Broadway savant and aspiring entertainer who launch a successful career in showbiz after their World War II enlistment. Hot off the success of their latest Broadway hit, Playing Around, the duo is contacted by a former mess sergeant, asking Bob and Phil to consider his sisters, Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy (Vera-Ellen), for their traveling show. En route to Pine Tree Inn, a failing lodge run by Bob and Phil’s former general, it’s up to the showmen to bring life and business to their former commander’s establishment while dealing with budding romances for the smitten sister act. A holiday classic with a medley of notable songs, White Christmas rings true over 70 years later.
Rotten Tomatoes: 77%
Stars: Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney
Director: Michael Curtiz
Runtime: 120 minutes
What screams Christmas more than ’80s action star Kurt Russell manning an enchanted sleigh? That’s right, in director Clay Kaytis’ The Christmas Chronicles, Russell plays the man himself, jolly Saint Nick, and he’s got some holiday troubles to deal with. When Teddy and Kate (Judah Lewis and Darby Camp) put a trip wire and camera in place to prove Santa’s existence on Christmas Eve, they catch the gift-giver in their living room. Darby follows him to the roof and hides in his sleigh, along with Ted. When they reveal themselves, a startled Santa teleports to Chicago, where his sleigh breaks down. On top of no flying gear, Santa’s magic hat and bag of Christmas gifts are gone. It’s up to Russell and his two ride-alongs, Kate and Ted, to retrieve the artifacts before Christmas spirit disappears.
Admittedly, the film’s plot plays a bit like an extended third act of Jon Favreau’s Elf, another Christmas classic, but screenwriter Matt Lieberman’s The Christmas Chronicles is packed with enough laughs, action, and heartwarming holiday cheer to stand proudly on its own two legs.
Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Stars: Kurt Russell, Darby Camp, Judah Lewis
Director: Clay Kaytis
Runtime: 104 minutes
Santa Kurt is back in this follow-up to Netflix’s 2018 The Christmas Chronicles. On vacation with her mother, stepfather, and stepbrother Jack in Mexico, teenage Kate Pierce (Darby Camp) is sick of the holidays and decides to run away from her nightmare of a trip. Jack decides to follow after her, but soon after their getaway, the duo is transported to the North Pole, where Kate is reunited with Mr. and Mrs. Claus (Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn). Things aren’t so pleasant in the Arctic though, as an evil elf named Belsnickel (Julian Dennison) has plans to end Christmas once and for all. It’s up to Kate, her bro, and the Claus clan to put an end to the angry elf’s reign of terror. Chris Columbus of Home Alone fame picks up directing duties for this Netflix sequel. While it’s not as mesmerizing and original as the first in the series, it’s a high-quality sequel that makes for a more than welcome addition to your holiday lineup this year.
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Stars: Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn, Darby Camp
Director: Chris Columbus
Runtime: 115 minutes
Receiving rave reviews, this traditionally animated adventure comedy film tells an alternate story of how Santa Claus came to be. Set in the 19th century, Jesper is a spoiled and lazy postman’s son whose father sends him on a mission in a distant northern town as a last resort to help him change his ways. While there, he meets a reclusive toymaker named Klaus. With a top-notch voice-acting cast that includes Jason Schwartzman as Jesper and J.K. Simmons as Klaus along with Rashida Jones, Will Sasso, Norm MacDonald, and Joan Cusack in supporting roles, the movie earned Netflix its first Academy Award nomination for an animated film.
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Stars: Jason Schwartzman, J.K. Simmons, Rashida Jones
Director: Sergio Pablos
Runtime: 98 minutes
If you’re tired of the same old Hallmark Christmas movies but want a good romantic comedy, check out this one that has already spawned two sequels: A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding and A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby from 2018 and 2019, respectively. The story is about an aspiring young journalist named Amber who is sent to cover a press conference about a prince who is about to take the throne following the death of his father. She is told he’s an irresponsible playboy, but after being mistaken for his sister’s tutor, she gets to know the real him and, surprise, surprise, she falls for him after discovering that he’s not at all who people think. It’s totally predictable, but sometimes that’s just what you want from a Christmas film.
Rotten Tomatoes: 73%
Stars: Rose McIver, Sarah Douglas, Ben Lamb
Director: Alex Zamm
Runtime: 92 minutes
This romantic comedy was oddly better viewed by critics than audiences. Based on the young adult novel of the same name by Maureen Johnson, John Green, and Lauren Myracle, the movie has a star-studded cast that includes Kiernan Shipka, Joan Cusack, and Isabela Merced. It’s Christmas Eve, and as Julie struggles with earning a scholarship to a prestigious university and the need to care for her ill mother, she happens to meet a rising pop star named Stuart on a train. They strike up a friendship with a clear romantic interest in one another. The movie is described as being “comfortably cliché” with its influences worn right “on its sleeve.” But that’s kind of what you want from a Christmas-themed film, right?
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Stars: Isabela Merced, Shameik Moore, Kiernan Shipka
Director: Luke Snellin
Runtime: 92 minutes
‘Tis always the season for the low-key comedy genius of Bill Murray. This 2015 Christmas musical, directed and co-written by Sofia Coppola, follows the titular Murray through a star-studded Christmas Eve of celebrity duets and bountiful drinking. Bill’s holiday odyssey kicks into gear when a live TV special he was due to host is sabotaged by a power outage. Relieved, Murray flees to the Carlyle bar, where the film’s major slew of Hollywood cameos start filtering in, including Maya Rudolph, Rashida Jones, Jason Schwartzman, Michael Cera, and more. In terms of plot, it’s not the most emotionally dense Christmas movie, but A Very Murray Christmas is sure to grab a chuckle or two from you while filling your ears and heart with various Murray-led carols. Plus, at under an hour, it’s a quick watch. Not a bad bet, if you ask us.
Rotten Tomatoes: 68%
Stars: Bill Murray, Rashida Jones, George Clooney
Director: Sofia Coppola
Runtime: 56 minutes
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