2020 has, thankfully, almost come to an end. However, the most exciting time of the year, which is supposed to be filled with incessant and lively chatter, warm family dinners, the clinking of spoons and forks and the glugging sounds of wine and eggnog, is replaced by the jarring buffer on Zoom calls. Melancholy grapples us as we curse this pandemic that has befallen us, the ensuing tragedies. Our heart goes out to the frontline warriors as we get to know how they shall be spending their time away from their families.
As we sincerely hope that Santa Claus bestows the gift of health and normality for the upcoming year, we cannot help but revel in the glory of the previous years. How we spent time with our families, clad in ugly matching sweaters, watching films that sent a warm, gooey feeling through our veins. After all, what are Christmas without cookie-and-candy-filled movie marathons and subsequent discussions?
Netflix, the knight in the shining armour, the hero without a cape, the streaming platform who is blessed with the gift that keeps giving, has a wide range of films dedicated to the holiday season for kids and adults alike. While we are extremely annoyed at Netflix for taking down Love Actually, we cannot help but almost send a petition to Disney to allow our favourite streaming platform the rights to Home Alone (South Korea, you’re lucky!).
We have scoured through the countless Christmas films on Netflix and listed out the top 10 films to kick in the Yuletide spirit. Get your comfy throws, pour yourself a glass of wine and bask in the spirit of Christmas ushered in by these films.
10 best Christmas films on Netflix:
10. Holidate (John Whitesell, 2020)
Pressurised by her family to find a date, Sloane ends up ‘fake-dating’ the handsome Jackson, as they pretend to be each other’s “holidates”, they gradually find themselves getting entangled in romantic attraction. Over a year, with the onset of every holiday, their relationship evolves till it finally reaches its threshold where they are forced to make an ultimate decision.
Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey have great on-screen chemistry. With better well-timed jokes and humour as well as the plot coming to a circle within Christmas, the film could have been given an extra edge. Nevertheless, it is a good watch for some light-hearted fun and cliched and sappy love tropes. After all, who wouldn’t want a date just for the holidays, minus the commitment and effort?
“Human beings aren’t meant to be alone on the holidays. We actually need warmth, companionship and someone to drunk mock strangers with at parties.”
9. The Christmas Chronicles (Clay Kaytis, 2018)
After their father’s death, Kate and Teddy are up to no good and trouble their mother claire. On Christmas Eve they are a menace which causes Santa to lose his bag of presents, sleigh, reindeer as well as the hat without which he is practically powerless. After the kids start helping him locate his belongings, Santa gets arrested. Kate and Teddy must rush against time and help Santa deliver the presents lest ‘Christmas Spirit’ is lost forever.
Thrilling and adventurous, this Netflix film explores the trope of troublemakers-turned-angelic children in a refreshing manner. Kurt Russell as Santa is the showstopper. The overall atmospheric madness makes it a perfect Yuletide flick for children and adults alike.
“I don’t go Ho Ho Ho! It’s a myth.”
8. The Princess Switch (Mike Rohl, 2018)
When the Duchess of Montenaro, Lady Margaret Delacourt, meets the talented young baker, Stacy DeNevo, they realise they look exactly alike. The former convinces the latter to perform a switch where they shall exchange lives for two days to be able to breathe. However, the switch leads to further complications when Stacy falls in love with Margaret’s fiance, who in turn falls in love with Stacy’s best friend and pastry shop co-owner.
Just when we thought we could not get enough of one gorgeous Vanessa Hudgens, the other one arrived. Though this plot has been explored in various ways by other films, The Princess Switch brings in a refreshing outlook with the ongoing baking competition and the stunning visuals. For all the hopeless romantics out there, it a good, light-hearted watch that is accentuated by the delightful premise.
“I’m supposed to marry Prince Edward on New Year’s Day. I hate being in the spotlight. I want to get to know what it’s like to be a normal girl. I want to switch places with you.”
7. The Polar Express (Robert Zemeckis, 2004)
The film revolves around the adventure a group of children embark on during Christmas Eve to visit Santa Claus. The protagonist is a young boy who does not believe in Santa Claus. However, the journey he undertakes onboard the Polar Express changes his perception forever.
The stunning visuals are the highlight of this film. Christmas holidays were never the same without this film being aired on the television in the mid-2000s. As the boy slowly gains faith, the imagery of the ringing of the bell is significant and wonderful. The film reminds us to never let go of this faith which has magic in store for “all who truly believe”.
“Seeing is believing, but, sometimes, the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.”
6. A Christmas Prince (Alex Zamm, 2017)
A journalist is sent to Aldovia to cover the news about an impending coronation ceremony of a prince who is rumoured to be irresponsible and erratic. However, she is intrigued by the Prince when she stays back, assuming the identity of the young princess’s tutor. Very soon, they fall in love but the scheming ex-girlfriend, as well as a cousin, stand in their way.
Like all rom-coms, the film ends on a positive note. The title is quite apt for the prince’s coronation papers are hidden in a Christmas ornament which is discovered by the journalist right in time before the evil cousin ascends the throne. With a cute, mushy atmospheric romance, the film is surely going to fill your lonely hearts with warmth.
“A King’s Duties Never Cease”
5. Edward Scissorhands (Tim Burton, 1990)
In what can be arguably considered Burtons most touching film with its absurd yet moving storyline, Winona Ryder and Johnny Depp play the star-crossed lovers who are separated by the societal prejudices stemming from the fear of the Other. Edward Scissorhands is an unfinished creation who has blades for hands. When he is taken in by the Boggs, he is smitten by their daughter Kim, who is in a relationship with a cruel and jealous Jim.
Jim, who cannot stand Kim and Edward’s proximity, taints the latter’s image which sends the ferocious-looking, mysterious yet harmless Edward into a spiral. While he makes Kim’s ice sculpture, he rains snow on her. Depp’s performance as the gloomy and sullen Edward is charmingly sad. Winona and Johnny, who were considered one of the best duos in Hollywood, meet their impending end on-screen as Edward and Kim, who love each other fiercely yet cannot be together.
“I am not complete.”
4. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Ron Howard, 2000)
The Grinch is the green, furry and misanthropic version of Scrooge, the devilishly naughty creature who despises the Whos of Whoville as well as the jolly occasion of Christmas. A resident of Mount Crumpit, he is disillusioned and disgruntled by the consumerism ushered in by Christmas. He wants to punish Whoville by stealing presents and trying to prevent Christmas.
Jim Carrey does a stellar job portraying the cynical and mean-spirited grinch who eventually has an epiphanic moment. A victim of bullying, the attitude of the Mayor towards the Grinch somehow redeems the latter’s sourness. Carrey is hilarious yet dark and Anthony Hopkins’ narration adds an oomph factor to this semi-effervescent classic.
“4:00, wallow in self-pity. 4:30, stare into the abyss. 5:00, solve world hunger, tell no one. 5:30, jazzercize; 6:30, dinner with me. I can’t cancel that again. 7:00, wrestle with my self-loathing. I’m booked. Of course, if I bump the loathing to 9, I could still be done in time to lay in bed, stare at the ceiling and slip slowly into madness.”
3. Gremlins (Joe Dante, 1984)
When Randall Peltzer gifts a pet mogwai to his son Billy for Christmas, they conveniently ignore the ominous instructions which ask them to not expose the mogwai to sunlight, let it come in contact with water or feed it after midnight. This results in evil gremlins spawning out of this mogwai, Gizmo’s back and these little creatures wreak havoc, killing and injuring several people.
Billy must try and put a stop to the gremlin’s rampage. His girlfriend Kate recounts the saddest Christmas story ever and evokes sympathy. While it’s quite violent and nasty for a children’s film (one of the very few PG13 films in 1984), as Gene Siskel said, it is a wonderful film which takes us on “a wickedly funny and slightly sick ride”. While it is quite a horrifying Christmas flick, it is quite enjoyable and sends the audience into titters while the little monsters are being crude and evil.
“You say you hate Washington’s Birthday or Thanksgiving and nobody cares, but you say you hate Christmas and people treat you like you’re a leper.”
2. Klaus (Sergio Pablos, 2019)
Being the first Netflix animated film receiving an Oscar nomination, Klaus is a spectacular Yuletide stream. With wonderfully hand-drawn animation and a heartwarming and hilarious tale, Klaus revolves around a postman, Jesper, who is not very good at his job and gets posted to the freezing Smeerensberg which, he discovers, is Santa’s hideout.
As John DeFore said, “Sergio Pablos’ Klaus invents its own unexpected and very enjoyable origin story for the big guy who gives out toys every Christmas eve. Shaking off most Yuletide cliches in favour of a from-scratch story about how even dubiously-motivated generosity can lead to joy, it contains echoes of other seasonal favourites (especially, in a topsy-turvy way, Dr Seuss’ Grinch) while standing completely on its own.”
“We need to show people that a true, selfless act always sparks another.”
1. White Christmas (Michael Curtiz, 1954)
With incredible performances, stunning visuals and wonderful scores, this timeless classic is considered one of the greatest Yuletide flicks of all time. Laden with heartwarming scenes and moving performances, the closing scene sees Vermont finally receiving its first blankets of snow as the crowd breaks into a soulful “White Christmas”.
Bob and Phil team up with sisters Betty and Judy after Phil is attracted to Judy and they establish a romantic connection. As they travel to a Vermont lodge for their performance at a Christmas show, the men discover General Waverly, their former commander, to be the owner of the lodge which is running out of business due to the lack of snow. They plan to put up an act together to help raise enough money to help their former commander sustain himself and the lodge.
“ My dear partner, when what’s left of you gets around to what’s left to be gotten, what’s left to be gotten won’t be worth getting, whatever it is you’ve got left.”