What are the best Christmas movies on Netflix? The festive period can be stressful. There's all the presents, the decorating, the parties; sometimes it feels like it won't end. But, among the spending and social engagements, it's a great time to sit down with a relevant family movie – or something a little darker.
Netflix has a fair selection of holiday films, spanning both originals for the streaming service, and older, more established classics. These vary from modern animated movies, to celebrated romance movies, and quite a few musicals – seriously, why do so many Christmas movies feature sing-alongs? Some of us left our choir days well and truly in the past.
Anyway! We've gone through the platform to find the features most likely to get you in the festive spirit. Some retell the mythos of jolly old Saint Nick, some are flat out horror movies, one's just Bill Murray being Bill Murray – we've got something for everyone. You supply the beverages and chocolate, and we'll supply the entertainment highlights.
What are the best Netflix Christmas movies?
- Robin, Robin
- A Very Murray Christmas
- The Christmas Chronicles
- Tokyo Godfathers
- Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square
- Love, Actually
An origin story of sorts for Saint Nicholas, Klaus posits the legend as an old folktale about kindness. In a 19th-century village, Jasper, a desperate postman who needs to deliver 600 letters otherwise his wealthy father will disown him, accomplishes his goal by fronting as the distributor for the eponymous hermit toymaker.
The ruse is effective in helping Klaus find a place in the community and ending a local blood feud. Although Jasper was originally in it for less than charitable ends, he’s a changed man by the conclusion. Klaus is full of warmth and charm, made all the cosier by being the directorial debut for long-time designer and animator Sergio Pablos.
Robin, Robin (2021)
Another Netflix original, this time from Aardman Animations, the studio behind Shaun the Sheep, Wallace and Gromit, and Chicken Run. Needless to say, this delightful spin on the Ugly Duckling – about a robin raised by mice – is Aardman proving why its methods of stop-motion have endured for so long.
But it doesn’t just look lovely: there are a few crackin’ tunes, too. Good music, a great voice cast, including Richard E Grant and Gillian Anderson, and a slightly eccentric view on Christmas make it essential.
A Very Murray Christmas (2015)
A Bill Murray Christmas special about Bill Murray hosting a ramshackle live show. That’s just the tip of the iceberg in this surreal comedy movie that involves several musical numbers, Murray himself having a nervous breakdown, and a seemingly endless amount of celebrity cameos.
Murray reunites with Sofia Coppola for the first time since 2003 drama movie Lost in Translation, making this all the more engaging. Not Scrooged 2, but as close as we’ll ever get.
The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
Surely Kurt Russell as Santa Clause is enough to convince you this fantasy movie is worthwhile? Russell’s latter-day silver hair and grizzled, kindly demeanour make him an ideal fit for the jolly old gift-giver, and better still in a seasonal romp involving scattered presents.
Russell’s Santa enlists help from two siblings, Teddy and Kate in making sure he keeps to schedule after a crash on Christmas Eve. Teddy, after going a mite wayward, learns the importance of family, while Kate, the youngest, understands that there is no such thing as the perfect family. Feel good for all.
Tokyo Godfathers (2003)
Did you know Satoshi Kon, noted anime movie director extraordinaire, made a Christmas movie? It’s quite good, too! His second feature both writing and directing, Tokyo Godfathers is more grounded than Paprika or Perfect Blue, but no less spellbinding.
On Christmas Eve, a small group of homeless people find an abandoned baby. With some clues to who the parents are, the three set about bringing the newborn home. Relentless hope meshes with the very real understanding that society’s ills are often made worse around the holiday season. Under-appreciated.
A Christmas monster movie, for when you’d prefer to just get the popcorn out. Michael Dougherty, director of cult favourite Trick r Treat, brings an old German folktale to life with terrifying vigour. During the Engel family’s dysfunctional holiday gathering, Max begins to doubt the power of Santa Claus, summoning an ancient evil that feeds on the naughty.
Cue all sorts of monstrous calamity, from bloodthirsty toys to a rooftop chase from the demon itself. Toni Collette, Adam Scott, and more give the human element plenty of charm. Watch out for the ending – cinematic equivalent of receiving a lump of coal.
Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square (2020)
Practically one long Dolly Parton album, Christmas on the Square has the country singer saving a small town from being turned into a shopping mall by a greedy land developer. It’s all very celebratory of American townships and the joys of tight-knit communities and how some things need to be preserved, and so on and so forth.
This would be insufferable were it not for Parton, who’s a beam of sunshine here (and in general). Take it all as a metaphor for keeping up the things that bring you joy and not allowing them to be commodified, crack out the mulled wine, and have a dance.
Love Actually (2003)
The Harry Potter movies have nothing on the level of disdain Love Actually can inspire for Alan Rickman. How could Rickman’s Harry treat Emma Thompson’s Karen like that? Truly despicable.
Richard Curtis’s rom-com – which is actually funny on occasion – endures in principle for the cast, a who’s who of British filmmaking in the ’90s and 2000s. But also, its multiple storylines show the drudgery of Christmas as an adult, a frenzied time of spending, haphazard gift-buying, and sometimes, an unfortunate broken heart. But sometimes that’s love too, actually – isn’t it?