The Best Christmas Movies on Netflix Right Now

The halls are decked, the season is jolly, and there are Jingle Jangles everywhere (seriously, what’s up with that this year?) — Christmastime is officially upon us, which means it’s time to get in the spirit with all your favorite holiday films. There’s no shortage of ways to find Christmas movies for your viewing pleasure — streaming services are stocked up on Christmas fare and you can always count on FreeForm for their 25 Days of Christmas, but Netflix remains the king of the streaming game, so we’ve put together a list of the best Christmas movies you can watch right now.

Whether you’re looking for Old Hollywood, animation, horror, or a nostalgic classic, Netflix has a little bit of everything this year. Check out our rundown of the best Christmas movies on Netflix below.

RELATED: Best TV Shows on Netflix Right Now and Best Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now and Best Horror Movies on Netflix Right Now and Best Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix Right Now  Best TV Shows on Amazon Prime Right Nowand Complex’s Rankings of the Best Christmas Movies on Netflix.

White Christmas

Image via Paramount Pictures

Director: Michael Curtiz

Writers: Norman Krasna, Norman Panama, and Melvin Frank

Cast: Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye, Vera-Ellen, Dean Jagger, Mary Wickes, Anne Whitfield

An all-time holiday classic, White Christmas is a grand Old Hollywood musical with an extra dose of sentimental seasonal cheer. The romantic tale stars Bing Crosby and Phil Davis as a song-and-dance duo who team up with sister act Betty (Rosemary Clooney) and Judy Haynes (Vera-Ellen) to perform a Christmas show and save a rural Vermont Inn from going out of business. It’s absolutely saccharine sweet and, aside from the setting and titular song, doesn’t have all together that much to do with Christmas, but Edith Head’s costumes are divine and the crooning cast puts on a damn fine show. — Haleigh Foutch

Bad Santa

Image via Miramax Films

Director: Terry Zwigoff

Writer: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa

Cast: Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac, Lauren Graham, Tony Cox, Brett Kelly, John Ritter

Bad Santa is the perfect late night Christmas watch for after the kids are tucked in and your stuffiest relatives hit the road. Billy Bob Thornton knocks out an iconic performance rooted in the tradition of Scrooge and The Grinch as Willie, the world’s worst mall Santa. A foul-mouthed, booze-soaked misanthrope with a proclivity for getting naughty with the plus sized customers in the dressing room, Willie’s seasonal day job is the perfect cover for for a thief who robs the store safe after the busiest shopping season of the year.

Director Terry Zwigoff dispenses of the saccharine sentimentality of the standard holiday fare, and yet underneath all the butt sex and excessive swearing Bad Santais ultimately a warmhearted story about redemption and the satisfaction of generosity over greed. It’s one of the funniest, hardest-R Christmas movies ever made, and watching Brett Kelly‘s socially hopeless “The Kid” help teach Willie the meaning of Christmas never loses its charm. – Haleigh Foutch

The Ref

Image via Buena Vista Pictures

Director: Ted Demme

Writers: Richard LaGravenese and Marie Weiss

Cast: Denis Leary, Judy Davis, Kevin Spacey, Robert J. Steinmiller Jr.

We lost director Ted Demme too soon, and this is arguably his best film, which takes a simple comic premise—a bickering couple is kidnapped right before their big holiday dinner—and mines it not just for laughs, but also for surprising drama.  While Denis Leary is going full-on-Leary, the performances that really shine are Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis, a couple who need someone as unforgiving as they are to cut through their bullshit.  But once they stop trying to one-up the other, the honesty comes through, and The Ref becomes a movie that’s as moving as it is funny. – Matt Goldberg

Gremlins

Image via Warner Bros.

Director: Joe Dante

Writer: Chris Colombus

Cast: Zach GalliganPhoebe CatesHoyt Axton, Corey Feldman, Dick Miller

There are three rules to properly care for a mogwai: keep it out of the sunlight, don’t get it wet, and don’t let it feed after midnight. When the first rule is broken, bunches of cute furballs are produced (and… commerce! That’s the American way). Once one mogwai becomes many, a struggling father starts to think of the profit that could be made by producing and selling them. The furballs reproduce like mad. But they also break the second rule because they got the midnight munchies. Then they turn into scaly monsters.

Okay, you’ve memorized that goofball set-up, but watch it again to remind yourself that Gremlins also throws in some character rants about foreign manufacturing and local real estate moguls ruining the small town. Gremlins is a really fun flick that uses mass production as a way to explore both an older generation’s nostalgia and a new generation’s paranoia. And here you just thought it was a goofy Christmas movie. – Brian Formo

A Very Murray Christmas

Image via Netflix

Director: Sofia Coppola

Writer: Sofia Coppola

Cast: Bill Murray, George Clooney, Miley Cyrus, Michael Cera, Paul Schaffer, Rashida Jones, Jenny Lewis, Amy Poehler, Chris Rock, Maya Rudolph, Jason Schwartzman

An old-fashioned, star-studded showcase, A Very Murray Christmas is strung together with a bare minimum plot – Bill Murray, starring as himself, is worried that a snow storm will keep people from his TV show, so he calls in all his famous friends for company and holiday cheer. Really though, it’s just an excuse to watch Bill Murray lounge around Bill Murray style at Christmas, and rock around the Christmas tree with tons of famous people. It’s a simple song and dance, a bit of merry little pageantry, and while it’s not quite the homerun we may have hoped for from a Sofia Coppola/Bill Murray Christmas movie, it’s a fine way to fill up on holiday spirit. — Haleigh Foutch

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas

Image via Walt Disney Home Video

Directors: Jun Falksenstein, Alex Mann, Bradley Raymond, Toby Shelton

WritersCharlie Cohen, Scott Spencer Gordon, Tom Nance, Carter Crocker, Richard Cray, Temple Matthews, Thomas Hart, Eddie Guzelian, Alex Mann

Narrated by: Kelsey Grammer

You’ll find a few Mickey-hosted Christmas specials on Netflix, including Mickey’s Magical Christmas and Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas, but Mickey’s Once upon a Christmas has the most old-fashioned holiday spirit. Mickey and his friends tell three Christmas stories: “Donald Duck: Stuck on Christmas,” which is a Groundhog’s Day style reminder that Christmas is so special because it only comes once a year; “A Very Goofy Christmas”, which finds Goofy trying to teach his son the joys of Santa Claus; and “Mickey & Minnie’s Gift Of The Magi”, which recreates the classic tale with the Disney icons. — Haleigh Foutch

A Christmas Horror Story

Image via RLJ Entertainment

Directors: Grant Harvey, Steven Hoban, and Brett Sullivan

Writers: Jason Filiatrault, James Kee, Sarah Larsen, Doug Taylor, Pascal Trottier

Cast: William Shatner, Zoé De Grand Maison, Adrian Holmes, Amy Forsyth, Rob Archer, George Buza

This holiday-themed horror anthology interweaves four terrorizing tales set on Christmas Eve in the small town of Bailey Downs: A student documentary takes a turn for the deadly when their investigation uncovers a paranormal perpetrator, a family goes Christmas tree thieving and brings back something much worse, the Krampus myth gets a reinvention, and Santa battles evil at the North Pole. A Christmas Horror Story spins the tales together with the help of a festive radio DJ, played by William Shatner, who’s stuck on a long Christmas shift. Each twisted tale offers an unexpected spin on a part of the Christmas mythos, and they’re all pretty solid entries — a rarity for an anthology film. — Haleigh Foutch

Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups

Image via Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Director: Robert Vince

Writer: Robert Vince, Anna McRoberts, Philip Fracassi

Cast: Cheryl Ladd, George Newbern, Pat Finn, Danny Woodburn, Obba Babatunde

The sequel to The Search for Santa Paws, which is technically the sequel to Santa Buddies (both of which are also on Netflix), Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups is about a bunch of white, fluffy puppies doing Christmas stuff. That’s really the only reason to watch it. It’s just adorable. None of the “Buddies” movies are good, but they sure as hell are cute, and Santa Paws 2 does better than usual at giving a somewhat entertaining narratve to pin together the cute dog stuff. But really, it’s just all about the cute dog stuff. — Haleigh Foutch

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Image via Buena Vista Pictures

Director: Henry Selick

Writers: Tim Burton, Caroline Thompson

Cast: Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, William Hickey, Danny Elfman, Glenn Shadix, Paul Reubens, Ken Page

It’s not fall/winter without Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. The perfect movie to transition from that Halloween spirit into the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, director Henry Selick’s macabre and lovely 1993 stop-motion animated film still stands as a classic today. What stands out about Nightmare Before Christmas is that it doesn’t have any major stunt casting—composer Danny Elfman voices the main character! Each voice actor is perfect for his or her role, and it brings a richness and texture to the entire affair. It’s a joy from start to finish. – Adam Chitwood

A Christmas Prince

Director: Alex Zamm

Writer: Nathan Atkins

Cast: Rose McIver, Ben Lamb, Alice Krige, Emma Louise Saunders, Sarah Douglas

OK, let’s be real A Christmas Prince isn’t the best anything — except maybe inspiration for the best coporate dunk from a company insulting their own customers — but it is very much a thing this year and you can probably watch it so you can make fun of it at your holiday party. Unless you enjoy the tradition of the scmaltzy Hallmark holiday films, then this one might actually be for you. And hey, Netflix might call your ass out on twitter, but you’ll get no judgement from me — Haleigh Foutch

Chill with Bob Ross

Image via PBS

Director: Sally Schneck

Starring: Bob Ross

Some genius and good samaritan combined all the winter-themed episodes of The Joy of Painting into a single Bob Ross-tastic collection for your seasonal viewing pleasure. With episodes like “Icy Lake”, “Snowbound Cabin”, and “Splendor of a Snowy Winter”, you’ll get all the happy little birds and ASMR relaxation you can handle with a winter flourish. So make yourself a soothing cup of hot cocoa — or you know what, don’t even bother because the dulcet tones of Bob Ross are just as relaxing all on their own. — Haleigh Foutch

The Legend of Frosty the Snowman

Image via NBCUniversal

Director: Greg Sullivan

Writer: Emily Kapnek

Cast: Burt Reynolds, Bill Fagerbakke, Kenn Michael, Tom Kenney, Grey DeLisle, Jeannie Elias

Narrated by Burt Reynolds, this 2005 revamp of the classic animated Christmas tale brings the enchanted snowman to the town of Evergreen, where the stuff mayor Mr. Tinkerton snuffs out frivolity and dismissed magic as nonsense. That’s until old Frosty comes through town, befriending the local kids and proving to them that magic is real. Despite the subject matter The Legend of Frosty the Snowman doesn’t quite recapture the magic of its 1969 Bass/Rankin forbear, but it’s a charming enough Christmas tale. — Haleigh Foutch

The Santa Clause 1-3

Image via Buena Vista Pictures

Arguably the essential family holiday film of the 90s, The Santa Clause holds up well as a magical trip to the North Pole and a pretty solid divorce drama. Powered by the paternal charm that’s made Tim Allen a staple sitcom dad for decades, The Santa Clause stars Allen as divorced father Scott Calvin, whose whimsical ways put him at odds with his ex-wife and her new husband when it comes to raising their young son. As you can imagine, that conflict gets drastically worse when Scott starts telling everyone he’s Santa after he accidentally kills Santa Claus, gets transported to the North Pole, and learns a (very twisted) tradition means he’s now responsible for the job as Jolly ol’ Saint Nick. The sequels are a series of diminishing returns, but the original film is a cleverly constructed family drama overflowing with Christmas cheer, not to mention the joys of David Krumholtz‘ sassyman Bernard, everybody’s favorite elf until Buddy came along. — Haleigh Foutch

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Image via Universal Pictures

 

Director: Ron Howard

Writer: Jeffrey Price

Cast: Jim Carrey, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, Molly Shannon, Bill Irwin, Taylor Momsen, Clint Howard

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas is a far from a perfect movie, but it is something of a direct ticket to Christmas spirit. The best part about Ron Howard’s adaptation of the beloved Dr. Seuss book is the way it transports you into the realm of Whoville and their abundant Christmas cheer. Jim Carrey does an excellent job as the green-tinged grump, making the inherently unpalatable holiday-hating character into a comedic figure worth following around for a feature-length film — as opposed to the iconic animated short — and there’s even a pretty great original Christmas song (a feat many have attempted and failed), but it’s the sets, makeup, and costumes that do the heavy lifting and bring the whimsical Whoville to life on screen. It’s a bit forgettable, but a fine way to dose up on holiday cheer. — Haleigh Foutch

Santa's Apprentice / The Magic Snowflake

Image via Gaumont

Director: Luc Vinciguerra

Writers: David Freedman, Alexandre Reverend, Luc Vinciguerra

Cast: Jack Versace, Nathan Simony, Benoît Allemane, Vincent Grass

This French-Australian-Irish double feature takes a global approach to Christmas magic and the legend of Santa Claus. The first film, Santa’s Apprentice finds a reluctant Santa Claus on the eve of an unwanted retirement when he’s faced with the task of finding his apprentice out of a pool of a million children. There’s a few rules to chose the lucky kid: he has to be named Nicholas, be an orphan and have a pure heart, but the perfect pick lacks the confidence to get the job done.

Spoiler alert, that all works out OK, because the follow-up, The Magic Snowflake, follows the young lad Nicholas as he trains to become Santa Claus when a new crisis threatens the North Pole’s magic. They’re sweet, enchanting animated features for the whole family that reinforce the classic concept — Christmas magic is in all of us (as long as you’re an orphan named Nicholas). — Haleigh Foutch

Latest Feed

Follow Us