ENTERTAINMENT
13/12/2018 12:02 GMT | Updated 19/12/2018 10:30 GMT

17 Netflix Christmas Movies And TV Specials To Get You In The Festive Spirit

Including old Christmas faves, modern classics and some questionable new Netflix originals.

Whether it’s original shows and films or festive classics we come back to year after year, Netflix has a wide array of Christmas offerings streaming this year.

However, we all know that scrolling through the streaming service to find something everyone can agree on can sometimes take forever, so to help you make a decision by the time New Year’s Day rolls around, we’ve rounded up the good, the bad and, frankly, the very odd to make things a bit easier.

Here are our top Christmas picks streaming on Netflix this year...

‘A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding’

Netflix

Did you enjoy the Netflix original ‘A Christmas Prince’ last year? No, us neither, but we did get a few good laughs out of it, so we’re pleased to see that 2018 has dealt us with a sequel and, in keeping with the theme of the last 12 months, it’s all about the royal wedding too. We’re praying for a cameo from Bishop Michael Curry.

‘Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina’

Netflix

While ‘Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina’ was one of our favourite Netflix originals of the year, we’ll admit that it wouldn’t have been our top pick for a Christmas special. But thinking about it, we loved the way the show put a dark spin on a character we’ve loved since childhood, so we’re actually rather excited to see their slant on the festive season. 

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race Holi-Slay Spectacular’

Netflix

It quickly emerged that this supposed holiday special was essentially little more than a naff 40-minute advert for RuPaul’s Christmas album, complete with impromptu musical numbers and a completely ridiculous “lip sync” between Michelle Visage and RuPaul.

Still, we loved it, and if the sillier and more irreverent moments of ‘Drag Race’ appeal to you, then you will too.

Every ‘Friends’ Christmas special

NBC via Getty Images

One big change to Netflix since this time last year is the presence of ‘Friends’, meaning we can get a big dose of 90s nostalgia this Christmas. ‘The One With The Inappropriate Sister’ sees Phoebe becoming slowly more jaded while she collects for charity, while series 3’s ‘The One Where Rachel Quits’ sees that same character try to rehouse some unappealing brown trees after seeing them going into a chipper.

Still, the definitive Christmas special is unquestionably ‘The One With The Holiday Armadillo’, an episode with everything you want from a ‘Friends’ episode: Ross embarrassing himself, some lovely scenes with Joey and Rachel, plus Monica’s apparent Santa fetish revelation. What’s not to love?

‘Bojack Horseman Christmas Special: Sabrina’s Christmas Wish’

Netflix

Or, if 90s sitcom Christmas episodes aren’t your thing, how about a parody of 90s sitcom Christmas episodes?

This stand-alone episode of ‘Bojack Horseman’ actually focuses mostly on the titular character’s former sitcom ‘Horsin’ Around’, with Bojack and Todd sitting down to watch the show’s festive special.

As a result ‘Sabrina’s Christmas Wish’ is part parody of the many family-based sitcoms of the 1990s, but also woven throughout is the dark element that has made ‘Bojack Horseman’ such a hit over the last five years. Probably not one to watch if you’re looking for a bit of thoughtless festive cheer, but definitely worth checking out if you’re a ‘Bojack’ fan curious about how the show handled something like a Christmas special.

‘The Christmas Chronicles’

Netflix

Netflix’s big festive offering for 2018, ‘The Christmas Chronicles’ sees Kurt Russell following in the footsteps of Tim Allen, Christopher Plummer, Richard Attenborough and John Goodman by taking on the lead role of Santa.

The festive family comedy tells the story of a brother and sister who are forced to (you guessed it!) save Christmas after accidentally crashing Santa’s sleigh. 

‘The Holiday’

Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock

Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet swap homes and end up finding Transatlantic romance around the Yuletide period. Don’t get us wrong, of course, this film is utter rubbish, and yet essential Christmas viewing. Even we aren’t too cynical to sit back with a snowball and enjoy Jude Law with a napkin on his head.

‘White Christmas’ (‘Black Mirror’)

Channel 4

The dystopian anthology show’s final outing on Channel 4 was this feature-length Christmas special, featuring not one but three tales that’ll make you think twice before asking Santa for any new technology this year.

This episode tackles online voyeurism, social media blocking and artificial intelligence, while also boasting an appearance from Jon Hamm, and ending on a surprisingly chilling rendition of Wizzard’s ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’ that will ensure you never hear that song in the same way again. 

‘Christmas Inheritance’

Netflix

What do you get when you take a spoilt heiress and send her on a mission to the hometown she never knew to deliver a card to her dad’s old business partner around the festive season? Why, an important lesson for her, and all of us, in the true meaning of Christmas, of course. 

‘Mariah Carey’s Merriest Christmas’

Hallmark

Who better to spend the festive season with than the Queen Of Christmas herself? As well as the obligatory ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ performance, the special features a dramatic reading from Kelsey Grammer (??) and interviews with the cast of ‘A Christmas Melody’, the TV movie directed by and starring Mariah.

Oh, and Santa stops by, because why not?

‘A Very Murray Christmas’

Netflix

Even more off-the-wall than Mariah’s offering, ‘A Very Murray Christmas’ debuted on Netflix in 2015, set around Bill Murray spending Christmas Eve in a hotel, where a snowstorm has led most of his A-list guests to cancel.

An offbeat and quirky way to spend an hour of your time, ‘A Very Murray Christmas’ culminates in a festive dream sequence where Bill sings classic Christmas tunes with George Clooney and Miley Cyrus. Odd, but enjoyable all the same.

‘Nailed It! Holiday!’ 

Netflix

What could be better than watching a load of hapless-but-loveable amateur bakers competing in a contest to replicate impressive baked treats in a bid to win $10,000? Well, watching them do it all with a festive twist, obviously.

One of our fave shows of 2018 is back with seven brand new episodes for the holiday series, and with titles like ‘Jingle Fails’, ‘You Mitzvah Spot!’ and ‘Winter Blunderland’, we can’t wait to get stuck in.

‘The Holiday Calendar’

Netflix

Another of Netflix’s new festive offerings for this year, this film tells a rather odd story about a jaded photographer who inherits an Advent calendar that begins predicting the future and, naturally, leading her towards her one true love. 

‘Arthur Christmas’

Netflix

A more modern Christmas offering that might have passed you by when it was released in 2011. This animated story is one for all the family, and while younger viewers can lose themselves in the festive cheer, there’s enough substance to actually entertain adults too.

With a rating of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, ‘Arthur Christmas’ looks set to stand the test of time as a modern festive classic.

‘The Princess Switch’

Netflix

At the other end of the scale, meanwhile, is ‘The Princess Switch’, a film that mixes ‘The Princess Diaries’ and ‘The Parent Trap’, sticks Vanessa Hudgens in a dual lead role as a pair of twins and sets the whole thing around Christmas time.

It’s not one we anticipate sweeping up when awards season rolls around in 2019, but we’ll concede that it’s good for a couple of giggles, and doesn’t that sound appealing at the end of a rather tumultuous year?

‘Love Actually’

Universal/Dna/Working Title/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

With its persistent body-shaming jokes, problematic relationships and a near-complete absence of LGBT+ characters, it’s fair to say that ‘Love Actually’ isn’t a film that has aged particularly well.

To many, though, it’s a Christmas staple, and if you’re one of them, you’ll no doubt be thrilled to see it returning to the streaming service just in time for the holiday period.

‘Gavin And Stacey’: Christmas special

Netflix/BBC

How has it been 10 years since the ‘Gavin And Stacey’ Christmas special first aired?

It’s hard for us to pick a favourite moment from this modern festive staple, whether it’s Nessa forcing Gavin to sit on her lap in Santa’s grotto, Smithy introducing the world to ‘Carpool Karaoke’, Dawn and Pete’s questionable turkey impression or that melancholic moment when Bryn and Gwen sip their mint Baileys, it’s basically non-stop brilliance from start to finish.