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The Best Christmas Movies on Netflix (December 2021)

There's more than just The Princess Switch

Hana LaRock

Remember the days of looking for a Christmas movie on Netflix and only finding crap like Christmas in Cambodia or Santa Claus Goes Day Drinking? The days of those bargain-bin disasters populating Netflix are over, as the streaming service has poured truckloads of cash into its original Christmas programming, building a nice foundation of new Christmas movies that it can call its own. Some are even bona fide franchises, like The Princess Switch films, which will soon see 200 simultaneous Vanessa Hudgenses on the screen, while others are one-offs that serve up the Christmas cheer, like Love Hard and Single All the Way

Here are the best Christmas movies to watch on Netflix in 2021. Many are new, many are Netflix originals, and a few are classics that Netflix still holds the streaming rights to.

We also have recommendations for the best classic Christmas movies and where to stream them, the best Christmas movies on HBO Max, the best Christmas movies on Disney+, and the best new Christmas movies to watch in 2021.

Single All the Way

Yes, it's another cheesy Christmas movie, but this one is a cheesy gay Christmas movie. Michael Urie plays Peter, a man heading home for the holidays, where his eager-to-set-him-up family awaits, so he concocts a plan to bring his best friend (Philemon Chambers) along to pretend he's his boyfriend. Of course his parents already have a date set up for him with a new hottie, and Peter begins to realize that his feelings for his friend may be more than platonic. Jennifer Coolidge and Kathy Najimy also star. -Tim Surette



The Princess Switch films

Christmas is all about miracles, and miracles are things that seem impossible, and it seems impossible that the corny The Princess Switch movies were ever made, so they are, by some twisted logic, Christmas miracles. Vanessa Hudgens plays a young baker from Chicago. Vanessa Hudgens also plays the proper Lady Margaret Delacourt, the Duchess of Montenaro. Vanessa Hudgens also plays Lady Margaret's sassy cousin, Lady Fiona Penbroke. Across the three movies, Hudgens' lookalike characters switch places with each other for whatever reasons, mix romantic partners, and wear fancy gowns. While the first movie makes an attempt at earnestness, the second two — including The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star, in which the Hudgens Three solve the mystery of stolen jewels — are just silly, which is part of the charm. Come for the Christmas lights and fancy dresses, stay for Hudgens' accent range. -Tim Surette




Love Hard

Sick of the same old "hot girl meets hot guy at Christmas" rom-com and looking for something different? Jimmy O. Yang plays a not-traditionally-hot guy who catfishes an unlucky in love writer (The Vampire DiariesNina Dobrev), who decides to surprise him in person for the holidays. When she finds out who he really is, he makes a deal to get her the guy he was pretending to be (Darren Barnet). Christmas magic ensues, and Love Hard — named so for its big debate about whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie — hits all the tropes in satisfying ways while also being kinda funny. -Tim Surette




A Christmas Prince films

Netflix's first attempt at a Christmas film franchise, way back in 2017, went the Hallmark route with the story of a young reporter (iZombie's Rose McIver) who travels to some fake country to cover a prince's press conference, but ends up under the covers with the prince, know what I'm sayin'? It was followed the next year by the sequel, in which the couple gets married, and, in an ominous prediction of Princess Switch movies to come, the 2019 topper on the trilogy featured the couple trying to solve the mystery of a stolen priceless royal artifact. -Tim Surette




Dolly Parton's Christmas on the Square

Christine Baranski puts up a good fight as the villain trying to destroy a holly jolly Christmastown by selling her hometown's land to a developer in this musical featuring original Dolly Parton Christmas tunes and choreography by Debbie Allen. Parton plays an angel who tries to steer Baranski's character the right way, and after many minutes of song and dance, all the problems are solved in the blink of an eye and Christmas is saved. It's incredibly campy, but is it the good kind of campy or the meh kind of campy? Spike some egg nog and find out for yourself. -Tim Surette




Christmas Inheritance

Continuing its siphoning of The CW's female leads talent pool for its Christmas movies, Netflix nabbed The 100's Eliza Taylor to star as a big-city CEO's spoiled daughter who is sent to her hometown to embrace the Christmas spirit before she takes over the company (I think?). There, she learns about all things Christmas — family, community, kindness, yada yada — and gets roped into a love triangle when she meets a young man (The White Lotus' Jake Lacy) who is definitely not her fiancé. A third movie in which she solves the mystery of missing royal jewels was never made. -Tim Surette




Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

"No matter who you are, no matter what you do, the magic lives inside of you." If you love the magic, music, and miracles of the holiday season, then Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey has it all. This family-friendly holiday movie is about a toymaker (Forest Whitaker) who was betrayed by his apprentice (Keegan-Michael Key) and loses hope until his granddaughter comes into his life and helps him make Christmas wishes come true.




The Christmas Chronicles

Featuring Kurt Russell in a surprising role as Santa Claus, The Christmas Chronicles shows us what happens when Santa's sleigh is broken by two siblings who try to catch Santa, causing the sleigh to crash and lose all the presents with it. It's up to the siblings and Santa to save Christmas in this joyful and heartwarming holiday movie filled with a little adventure. If you're craving more, a sequel, The Christmas Chronicles 2, was released in 2020.




Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The 2000 live-action film Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a new Christmas classic based on the popular story of the holiday's most notorious sourpuss, The Grinch. Whether you've seen it a million times already or you'll be watching it for the first time, there's nothing like it. The Grinch, played by Jim Carrey, hates Christmas, and wants to steal it from the Whos of Whoville. But when a little girl gives him a change of heart to see the magic of Christmas, all is good in the world again... or, at least in Whoville!




Klaus

An Academy Award Nominee, Klaus is a beautifully animated film that tells the story of Santa and the North Pole with a unique twist. The movie follows a postman's spoiled son named Jesper who gets sent to work in Smeerensberg, a desolate town in the North Pole with rival families and children who never get toys or even go to school, as an ultimatum to be part of the family fortune. If he can't deliver 6,000 letter in a year, he's out, so he stumbles on a way to reach his goal by having kids write letters to a reclusive woodsman named Klaus to ask for toys. You can see where this is going.




The Holiday Calendar

A young woman (Kat Graham) living in the same town she's lived in for her whole life and working the same dead-end job gets FOMO while seeing that her childhood best friend has been out exploring the world and meeting interesting people. But when she receives an antique advent calendar from her grandfather, she soon learns that the calendar may have some magical powers... the type of powers to make real wishes come true and maybe even predict her future. This romantic, feel-good Christmas movie is exactly what you need right now.




Holidate

If you have ever been the only single one at your family's home during the holidays, you might have certain relatives putting the pressure on for you to find a partner. Sloane (Emma Roberts) always finds herself in this situation, as does her friend Jackson (Luke Bracey), so they decide to become each other's holidate, a platonic plus-one arrangement to avoid the endless questions of why they're single, and, under no circumstances, can they break the rules of being each other's holidate. But you know how these things go.




Holiday Rush

"It's not what you got. It's what you got around you," sums up this movie nicely. Based in New York -- the ideal location for any Christmas movie -- Holiday Rush follows a single father who has been able to provide a lavish lifestyle for his children due to his successful radio show. But when the studio decides to go in a different direction, he's got to make some changes, not just for himself, but for his family. With a little love, lots of family, and a lesson that will pull at your heartstrings, Holiday Rush reminds us that Christmas is about far more than material things.




Let It Snow

Based on the best-selling novel, teenagers from a small, idyllic Christmas town find their friendships and love lives overlapping, all while a snowstorm hits on Christmas Eve. It has all the love, drama, romance, and feel-good moments of a holiday film, but with a more modern take. And, it's LGBTQ-friendly!




Dash & Lily

Ah, to be young and beautiful in a fetishistically idealized New York City at Christmastime and carrying on an extended courtship with someone you've never seen in real life via notes exchanged in a secret notebook at the Strand bookstore. A thing like that could go very wrong. But by the end, Dash (Austin Abrams) and Lily (Midori Francis) have already worked it out. This romantic comedy series is based on a young adult book series called Dash & Lily's Book of Dares. It's going to make 14-year-olds who watch this decide they want to go to college at NYU. -Liam Mathews




The Holiday Movies That Made Us

OK, so The Holiday Movies That Made Us isn't a holiday movie, but is a show about holiday movies. The docuseries explores the holiday movies that have really stuck with us through generations, what makes them classics, and why we appreciate them. Right now, the show only has two episodes, one about Elf and another about The Nightmare Before Christmas, but they are fascinating for people who like learning about movies as much as (or more than) actually watching them.