The perfect December evening consists of chestnuts roasting by the fire, a warm cup of coffee or tea, holiday decoration sparkling in the background, and a comfy couch where you can get cozy and watch a selection of holiday movies from Elf to Home Alone.
But it’s time to shake that image up. You’ve seen the classics more times than you can count and can recite the words to How the Grinch Stole Christmas embarrassingly well.
To help you in your search for new holiday movies to enjoy, I spent the last week binging what all the streaming services, but especially Netflix, have to offer. Here is a list, with my reviews and ratings, of what I discovered.
Nominated for an Oscar in 2019 for Best Animated Feature Film, Netflix’s Klaus tells the story of the origin of Santa in a completely reimagined way. When lazy and spoiled Jesper’s father sends him to Smeerensburg, a deserted and violent country, to be a postman and fix their mail system, he feels hopeless and desperate to leave. When he discovers a menacing, large toy-maker living in isolation on the other side of the island, he starts collecting letters from children asking for toys. What follows is a heartwarming story about the power of friendship and kindness in the holiday season. I was in tears by the end of the movie and was moved by how beautiful the animation and story were. While some people might call it cheesy, I think it took the cake for one of the best and most original Christmas movies I’ve seen in a very long time. This is a new instant classic for me.
Merry Liddle Christmas Wedding (2020)
Lifetime is known for its ultra-cheesy rom-com holiday movies, but Merry Liddle Christmas Wedding is a refreshing flick for those who are obsessed with romantic Christmas storylines. The film stars Kelly Rowland as Jacquie Liddle, a tech executive balancing work, family, and love as she did in the prequel Merry Liddle Christmas. This time around, Jacquie (Rowland) and her finance Tyler (Thomas Cadrot), plan a destination wedding amid family chaos and drama.
I was expecting this movie to be a complete disaster but Emma Roberts’ and Luke Bracey’s chemistry (sort of) saved it from catastrophe. Sick of constantly showing up to family holiday gatherings alone and being hounded with questions about her struggling love life, Sloane (Roberts) enlists the help of Jackson (Bracey) to be her “holidate” and attend holiday functions with her for a year. Neither of them expects to fall in love, but (surprise, surprise!) naturally they do. I appreciated this movie for what it was: an easy, fun holiday movie. Nothing special or amazing but entertaining nonetheless. It is available on Netflix.
The Princess Switch (2018)
Where does one begin? Netflix’s The Princess Switch tells the story of Stacey, a baker in Chicago, and Margaret, the Duchess of Montenaro, both played by Vanessa Hudgens. The Duchess is desperate to switch lives for a day with Stacey to experience some semblance of normalcy, and lo and behold, both Vanessas happen to fall in love with each other’s beaus/best friends. One could recite the script as they go along with the movie due to its painful predictability and cheesiness and the acting is mediocre at best. The movie was painful to watch most times, and yet it entertained me in a way that only a movie with Parent Trap-esque vibes could.
The Princess Switch: Switched Again (2020)
You may wonder why did I watch the sequel if the first was so dreadful? Well, not only did I watch the sequel, but I watched it immediately following the first, meaning over three hours of glorious princess switching. In this portion of the saga, there are not two, but three Vanessas, with the third being Margaret’s evil cousin, Fiona. Margaret is set to become coronated, but not if Fiona can help it. Meanwhile, Stacy has the brilliant idea to switch places with Margaret again to give her time to spend with her lover, leading to all sorts of mayhem. Albeit its increasingly confusing plot, this sequel had me a bit more invested in the story than its predecessor and cringing a tad less as well.
The Night Before (2015)
While most Christmas movies tend to be feel-good, wholesome family films, The Night Before on Hulu takes an original twist on the holiday trope. This comedy centers on three best friends, played by Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Anthony Mackie, who get together for one unforgettable night as they attempt to get into the “Holy Grail” of Christmas parties on Christmas Eve. This is the kind of movie where even just the trailer will have you rolling on the floor laughing. Not the most family-friendly or wholesome, but perhaps one of the most entertaining holiday movies yet.