Seasons greetings, dear friends, and welcome back to the most wonderful time of the year. Incoming: pop covers of classic carols to accompany you around the supermarket, extortionately expensive small mugs of boiling red wine with a slice of orange thrown in, and a plethora of straight-to-TV
waiting for your attention.
We all know the drill.
Netflix, now famed for its series of squeaky clean Christmas movies, will tease the return of popular favourites, entice celebrities to do their bit for the festive cause and shove good tidings down our throats right the way through to the new year.
It truly is a joy, though. An underrated blessing, in fact, that we have these films to retreat to after a truly tough year. They’re comforting, reliable and do well to remind us of the
real meaning of Christmas (spoiler: it tends to be something to do with love, forgiveness or family).
But where to start on your next cosy night in with your laptop propped on your duvet? We’ve anticipated the stress of scrolling through Netflix’s offerings and done the hard work for you. Ahead you’ll find a breakdown of the streaming service’s best (and cheesiest) original Christmas films, as defined by classic tropes, plot predictability and those heartwarming clichés we’ve grown to secretly enjoy watching. In a very particular order, here’s your festive viewing directory.
Single twenty-somethings dance around their feelings for one over the Christmas/New Year/Easter period.
Tropes: Beautiful woman realises that you end up meeting ‘the one’ when you least expect it.
Predictable plot? If you’ve ever watched any romantic comedy, you’ll spot the ‘will they, won’t they’ signals a mile off. Redeeming qualities? Emma Roberts charismatic presence elevates the film from bad to kind of good.
The Father Christmas origin story with pleasant
Despicable Me undertones.
Tropes: Begrudging, unlikely hero comes into his own with the help of a chirpy (and unwanted) accomplice, plus some magic and actual Father Christmas.
Predictable plot? Well, yes if you count the fact that we already know that Klaus will eventually become Santa as we know him now. Redeeming qualities? Doesn’t need any. It’s a surprisingly pleasant ride – even if you’re not a fan of animated films.
Falling For Christmas Lindsay Lohan stars as Sierra Belmont, a newly-engaged hotel heiress who loses her memory after an accident while on the ski slopes.
Tropes: An accident leads to an unfortunate case of amnesia, which teaches an over-privileged heiress to appreciate the little things in life.
Predictable plot? You’ll spot the romantic interest (a handsome single father figure) the moment he walks across the screen. Any redeeming qualities? Lindsay Lohan is back on our screens and it’s like she’s never been away.
The Knight Before Christmas Small town girl from Ohio meets time-travelling – yes, time-travelling – knight from medieval Britain.
Tropes: ‘Small town welcomes an outsider’ – tick. ‘Nothing bridges a cultural divide like Christmas’ – tick. ‘People fall in love when it snows’ – tick.
Predictable plot? Yes, of course, but the casual fantasy element of a time-travelling man in chainmail weirdly makes it a little less typical than your classic festive romcom. You don’t need me to tell you that they’re going to fall in love. Redeeming qualities? It gets bonus points for not turning Vanessa Hudgens’ character into your standard damsel in distress. But the film does quite literally play on the fantasy of a ‘knight in shining armour’.
The Princess Switch A baker from Chicago competes in a Christmas cake competition in Belgravia where she meets her doppelgänger so, naturally, they switch lives.
Tropes: Royalty. Vanessa Hudgens. Two people from different backgrounds, brought together by chance, swap lives. Vanessa Hudgens.
Predictable plot? Are you familiar with The Prince and the Pauper? It’s basically that. Any redeeming qualities? This film sparked what we shall now deem the Vanessa Hudgens comeback.
The Holiday Calendar A young woman is given an advent calendar that predicts her future and leads her to the romance she didn’t know she wanted.
Tropes: Magic. Rekindled romance with a childhood friend.
Predictable plot? It wouldn’t be fair to describe the fact that our two leads hook up as a ‘spoiler’. Any redeeming qualities? Even the biggest Grinch would be a sucker for a story about a wise grandma looking out for her stubborn granddaughter from beyond the grave. Right?
A Christmas Prince
A young journalist is sent abroad to write a juicy story about the heir to the throne in a fictional European country.
Tropes: A prince. Outsider infiltrates the ‘perfect’ environment only to learn more about themselves in the process. Details of a wildly aspirational job without real-world limits. Dysfunctional family put differences aside in time for Christmas dinner.
Predictable plot? One hundred percent. Think: Princess Diaries meets What A Girl Wants meets every other Christmas film on this list. Redeeming qualities? We’re here for the unforgiving little girl who can see straight through all of the adults’ ulterior motives.
Let It Snow A group of mismatched teens are hit by a bad snowstorm and stuck in their little mid-western American town, desperate to orchestrate their respective versions of the perfect Christmas.
Tropes: Another outsider comes to a small town, everyone is met with supposedly unlikely romances, and a bratty teen is turned good by the magical spirit of Christmas.
Predictable plot? Not as predictable as you’d assume on the surface, but the trailer gives 90% of the storyline away. Any redeeming qualities? It has the potential to become a really cool addition to Netflix’s teen character canon…but doesn’t.
A Christmas Prince: Royal Wedding Young journalist now engaged to Aldovian king must assimilate to his royal lifestyle. Over Christmas.
Tropes: Modern perception must fight age-old traditions, the tension for which is put on the shoulders of one heroine trying to balance staying true to herself but also fit in where she wants to be. Classic.
Predictable plot? Someone in the inner circle will tell our protagonist that they don’t belong, her fiancé won’t have her back until his own mini epiphany about the importance of carving your own path. You know the drill. Any redeeming qualities? Not really, they could have left it at the first film.
Love Hard After an LA journalist meets her perfect match on a dating app, she travels 3,000 miles to surprise him but realises she’s been catfished.
Tropes: That women should gloss over problematic male actions like catfishing.
Predictable plot? This one ranks pretty high on the problematic scale seeing as Josh catfishes Nina, never seems too remorseful and we’re supposed to dismiss it as an adorable ruse to meet someone. Naturally you can guess what happens… then they lived happily ever after. Any redeeming qualities? The fact the two lead men are Asian – we love to see it!
Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?
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