10 Christmas Movies to Watch on Netflix
This holiday season, cozy up with your friends and family in front of the television and check out our recommendations for movies to watch that are streaming on Netflix this holiday season.
The third film in the National Lampoon’s Vacation film series, Christmas Vacation, stars the familiar husband and wife duo of Clark and Ellen Griswold (Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo). For the Christmas vacation, the Griswold kids – Audrey and Rusty – are played by new actors Juliette Lewis and Johnny Galecki (Leonard from Big Bang Theory). The storyline follows Clark as he tries to create the perfect Christmas experience while dealing with visiting relatives, including the return of Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid). As with all of the Vacation films, Clark struggles (and largely fails) to maintain his sanity while everything around him crumbles and nothing seems to go as planned. Christmas Vacation is a modern Christmas classic!
Becoming Santa (2011)
This documentary follows Jack Sanderson, a 44-year-old Los Angeles native, as he tries to rekindle his own Christmas spirit. Years of personal loss and poor memories have made the Christmas Season a time of year that Jack no longer enjoys. In an effort to change his feelings towards the holiday Jack dies his beard white, buys an authentic Santa suit, goes to Santa School, and tackles the role of the jolly man himself. On his journey, Jack works on the Polar Express Train, lights the Quincy Christmas Tree, makes home visits, and even rings his bell on the sidewalk to collect funds for the homeless. This film is a great reminder that Christmas is so much more than what we find under our tree.
Jack Frost (1998)
A consistently disappointing father dies tragically in a car crash one winter. A year later he is temporarily reborn as a snow man to say goodbye to his family and enjoy what little life he has left. While this sounds very depressing, it’s actually quite a fun movie. It doesn’t mope about the tragedy like it could and instead focuses on the joy of winter and spirit of Christmas. Michael Keaton plays the father and voices the snowman.
Love Actually (2003)
Before Rick Grimes was slaying zombies, he was a rather passive and self-restrained British man who adored his best friend’s wife. These things happen…I guess. But that story is one of many that intertwine throughout Love Actually, which includes a collection of love stories that happen around Christmastime in the UK. A widowed husband, played by Liam Neeson, tries to coach his son into getting his crush to notice him. The bachelor Prime Minister vies for a staff member. An executive is tempted by his assistant. Two stand-ins that do lighting for…”films”…connect during an otherwise awkward work day. Etc. Etc. This movie isn’t too Christmassy overall, but it has quite a charm to it, especially with Bill Nighy as a weathered and burnt out rock star!
For additional Snippet’s Netflix action check out the aforementioned Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln) in The Walking Dead, Liam Neeson in Five Minutes of Heaven, and one of the stand-ins for “films” in Sherlock and The Office (UK).
If you don’t know who Charlie Brown is then you’re probably much younger than us, and frankly I feel sorry for you. This is a prime time television Christmas special starring the characters from the popular Peanuts comic strip. Unfortunately, the full A Charlie Brown Christmas is not available for streaming but in this next-best Christmas collection, we get five vignettes highlighting several of our favorite Peanuts characters as they prepare for and enjoy Christmas festivities. Here’s the lineup for you: Snoopy, Linus (my personal favorite), Sally, Lucy, Charlie (best for last!).
Jingle All the Way (1996)
Consumerism and insecurities as a father drive a man (Arnold Shwarzenegger) to great lengths in the last-minute hunt for the hottest holiday toy to please his son. The toy is a Turbo Man Doll, a jetpack-wearing superhero whose live-action television show is all the rage with kids. In stereotypical fatherly fashion, Arnold’s character forgets to get the doll until the last minute. Out of desperation, he must battle fellow father Sinbad, a black market, and hordes of angry shoppers. Jingle All the Way is hilarious fun, includes a drunk reindeer, and has an awesomely ridiculous finale.
Polar Express (2004)
Many movies successfully capture the spirit of Christmas, and only a few aim for the magic of Christmas. Polar Express is one of those movies. It extrapolates the colorful children’s book in which a young and doubtful boy rides on a magical train to the North Pole on Christmas Eve to renew his faith in the magic of Santa Claus. Executed in beautiful 3D animation, Polar Express is a delight to see in IMAX 3D (which I did back in 2004) but will undoubtedly entertain believers of all ages, regardless of television size.
Extreme Christmas Trees (2012)
How could we make Christmas even better?
By making it EXTREME!
Extreme Christmas Trees is an hour long romp that tells the real life tales of some of the most over-the-top Christmas trees in the world. Not exactly an in-depth look, the show allows us a glimpse into the setup of some of these behemoths and the people who strive to make them shine for all the world to see. Although it can be enjoyed for the spectacles that it presents, this show is not as enthralling as I had imagined. Check it out if you need a short Christmas distraction.
2.2 out of 5.0
Can’t decide between a Christmas classic or a Halloween horror?
The Nightmare Before Christmas, Tim Burton‘s animated holiday classic, is the story of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town. After opening a portal to Christmas Town, he becomes obsessed with Christmas and hatches a plan to become Santa himself. Through a series of misunderstandings, his plan begins to unravel and Jack must battle the sinister Oogie Boogie to set things right. Interwoven within the struggle is Sally, a rag doll with a crush on Jack.
This review appeared previously in our Halloween 2013 Netflix Recommendations, but it serves both holidays well. If you failed to watch it in October be sure to watch it in December.
4.1 out of 5
White Christmas (1954)
What are you dreaming of?
Two army buddies, Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) and Phil Davis (Danny Kaye), return home from WWII and set out to make it as entertainers. Starting at nightclubs, they eventually rise to the top of the entertainment industry as producers. After an old army pal asks the pair to meet his sisters, Judy (Vera-Ellen) and Betty Haynes (Rosemary Clooney), sparks begin to fly. Davis and Judy hit it off and they conspire to foster feelings between Wallace and Betty. The foursome take a trip to Vermont where they discover that Wallace and Davis’ former commanding officer, General Waverly (Dean Jagger), runs the hotel they are staying at. The general has fallen on hard times and it is up to the boys to help him out!
Bing Crosby was a great entertainer and his performance here is top-notch. The dancing and singing are masterfully integrated into the story and never, ever seem forced. A wonderful, old timey musical, White Christmas is a classic Christmas tale. It will transport you to a simpler time and you will feel that warm glow in your heart.
You want one reason, one good reason, why you should spend two hours watching White Christmas?
Let’s just say you’re doing it for an old pal in the army.
Well, it might not be good, but it’s a reason.
4.5 out of 5