I am the opposite of most people in that I rarely appreciate the classics. I’m way too excited about new! now! to ever get attached to something “timeless.” Not to mention my affinity for the hidden gem—I’d rather go on and on to my best friends about a lipstick or TV show they’ve never heard of than drone on about The Holiday for the 100th time (not that it’s not good—I stan Jude Law like the rest of society).
This year, I set out to watch every holiday movie I could think of on Netflix (and a few other streaming services). Trust me: there were some bad ones, and there were some really bad ones (I stopped in the middle of about three because they were so awful). But there are quite a few gems that stood out to me and that I’ll watch over and over again for holiday seasons to come. Grab some popcorn and cocoa, and get to watching my very special approved list of Netflix holiday movie picks:
1. The Christmas Chronicles 1
Notice I specifically said to watch the first one. I just did a marathon of both with my family, and we all were in agreeance that #2, while it’s cool to see Kurt and Goldie doing their thing, is just not that great. However, the original Christmas Chronicles is a national treasure. It’s one of my favorite Christmas movies as of late. My mom and I even said we like Kurt Russel as Santa more than Tim Allen, which is highly controversial but exactly how we like to be. Plus, it’s one of the many to add to the list of Christmas movies set in Chicago, which I obviously love to see.
2. Holiday Rush
This movie is so lovely and sweet, and I enjoyed every minute of it. It is certainly cheesy, and exactly the level of acting I expect in one of these movies, but I loved it nonetheless. It follows a rich single dad and his family who live a lavish life until the dad, a radio host, is fired from his job and realizes he has absolutely zero savings. They move back in with their aunt and have a low-key Christmas—against the wishes of all four kids. It obviously has a lovely romance that I cried over in the end because it was just so sweet, and the chemistry between the kids and their dad made my heart sing (and miss my parents heavily).
3. Happiest Season
OK, this choice is absolutely cheating for many reasons. For one, it is on Hulu. And second, I didn’t actually LOVE this movie. Let me backtrack: I was beyond excited for this movie because I’ve been craving a queer holiday romance, and the cast seemed impeccable. I watched it the first night it released on Netflix, and while I enjoyed myself watching the movie, I was disappointed to say the least at some of the choices they made with the character development. Some of the characters seemed really toxic even though you’re supposed to like them, and it expressed three different coming-out stories that were really traumatic, which was the opposite of how I wanted to feel going into this movie.
However with all of that said, I’m still adding it to this list and suggesting everyone I know watch it because I want directors, screenwriters, actors, producers, and networks to know that we want MORE queer holiday movies! I am begging you: please give me more, and ideally, make them star Aubrey Plaza because whooooey.
4. The Princess Switch
I really rejected this movie all of 2019, but it’s 2020, and I’m here to admit that I honestly loved it. The love stories seemed real and made me so happy, I could burst. I loved the character development, and this movie was bursting at the seams with Christmas cheer, unlike some of the other romances Netflix puts out. My absolute favorite genre of Christmas movie is old-school ABC Family originals—Holiday in Handcuffs, Santa Baby, Christmas Cupid, to name a few—and this gives me those vibes more than Hallmark or Lifetime Christmas (however, I love those too). But Baby V’s other Christmas movie on Netflix? No, thank you. That was hot garbage.
5. The Grinch
My favorite Christmas movie of all-time is How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I could watch it on a loop and never get bored. So, the 2018 animated version starring Benedict Cumberbatch (an absolute wild card) piqued my interest. And I’m happy to say it doesn’t disappoint. One of my favorite swaps in the movie is that Cindy Lou Who’s #1 Christmas wish is for her mom, a single mom who works the night shift and then takes care of three kids all day long, to get a break. It makes me tear up just thinking about how freaking sweet that is. Her wish is so big and important to her that she makes a plan to trap Santa on Christmas to tell him about it, and of course, The Grinch is actually Santa that night. The ending is so lovely, and the themes of loneliness at the holidays basically has 2020 written all over it.
6. Dash + Lily
I’m sorry, but did you really expect me to not talk about the new holiday-themed show executive produced by *the* Nick Jonas? Dash + Lily is my current obsession. Unlike most, I savored every bite of this show and watched it over a few weeks to make my obsession as drawn out and intense as humanly possible. (It was nice for a moment, but the emotional crash when I finished was concerning to say the least.) This show, made up of eight episodes all under 30 minutes, would probably feel like you’re watching a slightly longer movie (perhaps Avengers: End Game?), so if you’re concerned about time, don’t be. This story follows two teenagers who are lonely during the holidays and decide to create a notebook of dares for them to complete around New York City. It has everything someone could want: teen love, Christmas in New York, interesting fashion, some lovely drama, and a performance from the Jonas Brothers. Somebody pinch me, the perfect holiday show does exist.
7. A Christmas Prince
This isn’t new by any means, but I’ve seen a lot of Christmas Prince slander lately, and I simply won’t stand for it. This was one of the first Netflix original Christmas movies I watched, so it holds a special place in my heart. It follows the traditional Lifetime/Hallmark movie format we all know and love: girl from small town meets a guy, realizes he’s a prince, they fall in love, people don’t want them to be together, an old flame comes into town, and the girl and prince must decide if their love can handle the obstacles royal life will throw at them. It’s cheesy and predictable, but we love it anyway.
8. The Holiday Calendar
I didn’t watch The Vampire Diaries, so this was the first movie that showed me I am utterly in love with Kat Graham. She’s reunited with her best friend who’s been traveling the world and also happens to be incredibly hot (of course), all while she’s stuck in her hometown in a job she hates. She inherits an old Advent calendar and realizes it actually starts predicting her future—including a romance! Ooh!
9. A Bad Mom’s Christmas
It’s rare that I stan a comedy movie franchise, but as I recently discussed with our editor Abigail, I would watch at least 30 more Bad Moms movies. The cast is great (Kunis, Bell, Hahn—excuse me?!), and the humor is exactly what I’m looking for. This Christmas movie follows three moms when their moms come into town for Christmas and wreak just a bit of havoc on their lives (just a bit!). You’ll die of laughter watching this, I guarantee.