Cut down on the time you’d spend scrolling the endless feed of content on your Netflix homepage with this handy list of holiday offerings, along with trailers and their Rotten Tomatoes score.
First they came for the networks, serving up award-winning series like "House of Cards" and "Master of None." Then they came for the movie studios, producing films of every conceivable genre from "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" to "To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before."
Now, Netflix has come for Christmas.
The digital juggernaut debuted several homegrown holiday films this year and, when combined with the Christmas classics already available for streaming, its catalogue now puts Hallmark and Lifetime to shame. Netflix literally offers enough movies to keep a couch potato busy between now and the new year—so, really, the only problem is deciding which order to watch them in.
Thankfully, TooFab is here to help with the lowdown on every Netflix Christmas movie worth streaming. We’ve ranked them from worst to best, according to their Rotten Tomatoes score and the best reason we can give you to watch.
"Bad Santa 2" (2016)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 23 percent
If "The Godfather II" is the greatest sequel of all time, "Bad Santa 2" might be up there with "Grease 2" and "Speed 2: Cruise Control" as one of the most disappointing. Set 13 years after the original, Billy Bob Thornton reprises his role as a sex-addicted criminal who stumbles across yet another con requiring him to put on a Santa suit. Despite being directed by Mark Waters ("Mean Girls" "Freaky Friday"), the sequel is devoid of both laughs and charm. It lacks many of the elements that made the original great, including a fresh premise, funny jokes, and the late John Ritter and Bernie Mac.
Best Reason to Watch: You produced the film and streaming it earns you royalties.
"A Christmas Star" (2015)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 38 percent
The best thing we can say about "A Christmas Star" is that it’s heart is in the right place. Dubbed as Northern Ireland’s "first children’s Christmas film" and a movie "starring young people, made by young people," the story follows Noelle, a schoolgirl who may or may not have the power to perform miracles. When her tiny village is threatened by a heartless real estate developer (Pierce Brosnan), it’s soon time to put her miracle-making powers to the test. If the story sounds a bit cheesy, well, yeah, it is. Despite boasting an impressive cast — including Brosnan, Liam Neeson, and even singer Kylie Minogue — "A Christmas Star" is ultimately about as exciting as watching paint on a nativity scene dry and about as fun as a stocking full of coal.
Best Reason to Watch: You’re on the tail-end of a "Taken" or 007 binge session and need something a bit more relaxing to come down from all that action.
"El Camino Christmas" (2017)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 40 percent
"El Camino Christmas" — a dark comedy with Luke Grimes, Tim Allen, Dax Shepard and Jessica Alba about a hostage situation in a liquor store is one of Netflix’s first original holiday films. It’s far from great (or even good), but it at least shoots for something different. It’s essentially an anti-Christmas film. There’s no Santa Claus, there are no Yuletide carolers, there are no holiday miracles, and there’s certainly no feel-good ending—there are only bullets, violence, and some grim jokes that fall pretty flat.
Best Reason to Watch: Someone convinced you this is the macabre fourth installment of "The Santa Clause" franchise.
"The Holiday Calendar" (2018)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 40 percent
If you thought Adam Sandler’s magical remote control in "Click" was silly, then wait until you get ahold of this film’s antique advent calendar somehow imbued with the power to predict the future. The story begins when a struggling photographer (Kat Graham) inherits the titular holiday calendar from her grandmother. She soon learns it’s filled with figurines related to her life offering subtle if not predictive clues on how she might advance her career and who she should fall in love with. On the plus side, "The Holiday Calendar" has the most diverse cast of probably any film on the list. On the minus side, it’s about as formulaic as every Hallmark movie ever made.
Best Reason to Watch: You’re tired of Christmas movies that are whiter than a blizzard in an Apple store.
"Christmas Inheritance" (2017)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 50 percent
Eliza Taylor ("The 100") stars as a Paris Hilton-esque socialite in line to inherit her family’s multi-million dollar "gift" company, but first she’ll have to prove her mettle to her father by returning to his hometown of Snow Falls with only $100 to guide her. This means leaving not only her credit cards behind but also her dreamy fiancé. She’s not even allowed to tell him she’s gone undercover as a lower-middle class person in some random small town a bus ride away from New York City.
Thankfully for her, Snow Falls has an equally dreamy innkeeper to keep her warm while she’s sewing her wild oats or whatever. Big City Girl goes to flyover country for Christmas is a tried and true concept for holiday films, but unlike many of the more enjoyable riches-to-rags stories out there (we’re looking at you, "The Princess Switch"), the protagonist in this one isn’t motivated by a desire to experience life through the eyes of a normal person. She just wants to become CEO.
Best Reason to Watch: You believe coastal elites are out of touch with Real America, and only by abdicating their positions at vaguely lucrative companies in the Big City can they ever hope to reclaim Real American values.
"Uncle Nick" (2015)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 50 percent
Brian Posehn of "Mr. Show" and "The Sarah Silverman Show" quasi-fame stars as Uncle Nick, a bald, boxers-clad loser whose pastimes include drinking, smoking, watching porn, and uttering vulgarities. Like so many holiday films, the general plot of this indie flick revolves around the main character returning home for a family gathering with relatives he can’t relate to and mostly doesn’t even like. Unlike all those other ones, Nick spends the entire film trying to seduce his own barely legal step-niece (Melia Renee).
Best Reason to Watch: "Uncle Nick" is produced by Oscar-winning documentarian Errol Morris. (No, really.)
"Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas"(2000)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 52 percent
Jim Carrey stars as the Grinch in this live-action adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s book about a crotchety, cave-dwelling curmudgeon who hates, hates, hates Christmas and does everything he can to sabotage the holiday for the residents of nearby Whoville. While the story is a classic, the Ron Howard-directed film didn’t much impress critics. The impressive production design stands the test of time and Carrey turns in a memorable performance, however, so maybe it’s worth having on in the background of a holiday party.
Best Reason to Watch: Sweet little Cindy Lou Who is played by Taylor Momsen, the sultry singer for the rock band The Pretty Reckless.
"A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding" (2018)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 63 percent
Who said a story has to end with "happily ever after?" When we last saw Amber (Rose McIver) and the Prince Richard (Ben Lamb), he had forgiven her for infiltrating the royal family by posing as his little sister’s tutor. Now, a year later, the two are still happily in love, only she’s lost her job as a reporter (and started a blog!) and he’s been promoted from the Christmas Prince to the Christmas King. The two find themselves preparing for a lavish royal wedding despite the fact his kingdom is on the verge of economic catastrophe.
Best Reason to Watch: Meghan Markle’s real-life royal wedding left you thirsty for more stories of Americans marrying into royal families.
"Love Actually" (2003)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 63 percent
This classic British rom-com has a bit of everything: Hugh Grant as a lonely Prime Minister, Bill Nighy as a washed up rock star, Rick Grimes from "The Walking Dead" crushing a married Keira Knightley, Colin Firth learning Portuguese, and even the late Alan Rickman. There’s really no reason to further describe the plot, because let’s be honest, anyone reading this article has already seen "Love Actually," and probably multiple times. That’s okay. This is a judgement-free holiday zone. We just wanted to let you know you can watch it again on Netflix right now.
Best Reason to Watch: You’re in need of an Andrew Lincoln fix now that he’s left "The Walking Dead" and won’t be back as Rick Grimes until the movies hit theaters.
"The Christmas Chronicles" (2018)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 68 percent
Kurt Russell has played everyone from Elvis Presley and Wyatt Earp to an Elvis impersonator and a serial-killing stuntman, but the actor enters uncharted territory in "The Christmas Chronicles" as he takes his first turn as Kris Kringle. While Kurt’s portrayal as a PG-13 Santa who jokes about "fake news" proves to be passable, the rest of the Netflix original goes down about as smoothly as a fat man in a chimeny. On the one hand, the humor is corny, the plot is paper thin, and the score is annoyingly melodramatic; on the other, there’s, uhh, a musical number in a jailhouse?
Best Reason to Watch: There’s an incredible cameo at the end of the movie. Is it the real Santa Claus!? Wang Chi from "Big Trouble in Little China"?! Kurt’s Marvel son Star-Lord!? Nope, none of those, but you’ll still love the surprise.
"A Very Murray Christmas" (2015)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 70 percent
More of a unique holiday experience rather than an outright film, "A Very Murray Christmas" features actor Bill Murray along with quite a few of his famous friends as they sing, dance, and usher in the Christmas season with style. Directed by Bill’s "Lost in Translation" collaborator Sofia Coppola, the story — if you could call it that — centers around Bill getting stranded at a swanky New York City hotel during a blizzard. Thankfully, a never-ending parade of famous entertainers — including Miley Cyrus, Jason Schwartzman, Paul Shaffer and Maya Rudolph — passes through and keeps him busy all night long.
Best Reason to Watch: Bill Murray and Miley Cyrus, of course.
"White Christmas" (1954)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 76 percent
Singing, dancing, state-of-the-art VistaVision — "White Christmas" is a classic musical that really has it all. Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye star as two Army buddies who trade their rifles in for tap shoes after coming home from the war. They eventually travel to a Vermont inn with their gals and put on a massive musical production for one of their old generals in need of some quick cash. Think "Holiday Inn" meets "Empire Records."
Best Reason to Watch: More like a reason to listen. In addition to Bing’s infamous rendition "White Christmas," the Irving Berlin-penned soundtrack includes the Oscar-nominated song "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep."
"A Christmas Prince (2017)"
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 75 percent
Like several of Netflix’s original Christmas movies, "A Christmas Prince" is set in a fictional European country where nearly everyone is white and rocking a British accent. Unlike many of the other ones, Christmas is barely even a part of the plot. Instead we get "iZombie’s" Rose McIver playing Amber, a conniving journalist who weasels her way into the kingdom of Aldovia by pretending to be a royal tutor. Her true mission is to gather gossip on the crown prince Richard, rumored to be a bit of a trust-fund jerk. However, her world gets turned upside after she learns he’s actually a sensitive, sweet man. Needless to say, Amber winds up falling for him faster than you can spell spina bifida—the condition her faux student, Princess Emily, suffers from.
Best Reason to Watch: You need to know what happens in the first one before you can watch the sequel.
"Get Santa" (2014)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 77 percent
Who said holiday movies need to be American? "Get Santa" is a British Christmas comedy about a young boy named Tom who discovers Santa Claus (Jim Broadbent) in his shed. As it turns out, reckless old St. Nick got there after he crash-landed his new sleigh just a few days before he’s scheduled to start making deliveries. Making matters worse, his reindeer are running amok through the streets of London. If a Christmas catastrophe is to be averted, it’ll be up to Tom and his recently paroled father to help save the day.
Best Reason to Watch: Santa gets into a memorable prison brawl. And if this sounds a lot like the description of American-made "The Christmas Chronicles," it is, but better.
"Bad Santa" (2003)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 78 percent
Not every Christmas movie has to be saccharine sweet as evidenced by Terry Zwigoff’s raunchy comedy "Bad Santa," which sees Billy Bob Thornton starring as a depressed, alcoholic conman who disguises himself as a shopping mall Santa so that he and his trusty elf sidekick (Tony Cox) can pull off a holiday heist. But problems (and hilarity) inevitably ensue after Billy Bob’s character befriends a lonely kid. If ever there was a holiday movie capable of making you feel good by making you feel bad, this profanity-laden flick is the one.
Best Reason to Watch: "Bad Santa" lays claim to late, great John Ritter’s final live-action role and it really is funny AF if you’re into filthy R-rated comedy.
"The Princess Switch" (2018)
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88 percent
The best reviewed movie on this list also happens to be a recently released Netflix original. The charmingly silly spin on "The Prince and the Pauper" features not one but two characters played by Vanessa Hudgens, and they’re not even twins! The "High School Musical" phenom turned "Spring Breakers" vixen stars as both Stacy, a world-class baker from Chicago, and Lady Margaret, a Duchess betrothed to the crown prince of the fictional land of Belgravia. Stacy and the Lady Margaret’s paths cross after the former agrees to compete in the renowned Belgravian Bake Off and the latter agrees to be one of its judges. Upon realizing they have a doppelgänger, the two Hudgens get the bright idea to swap identities, love interests, and even accents. It’s cheesy and predictable, sure, but that’s why we love Christmas movies, right?
Best Reason to Watch: Two Hudgens for one low price. Or completely free, if you’re still logging into Netflix using your parents’ password.
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