The season is upon us and we all know what that means. It’s time to binge-watch the crap out of Christmas movies.

Film industries all over the world make desperate strides to compete in the holiday flick market, and though it’s a little lucrative, I’m not going to lie… I love holiday movies. Good holiday movies, however, are the stuff of legends in today’s market.

All we get now are slightly different versions of Vanessa Hudgens packed into five different movies that run 30 minutes too long for their own good.

But though they’re no Love Actually‘s, they do remind us to be our best selves. From the cliché to the slapstick, from the animated to the live-motion, from rosy-cheeked princesses to badass moms, these movies are made to be devoured. Kind of like the cookies you leave out for Santa but end up eating anyway; you know it isn’t for the best, but you can’t help yourself.

And there’s cinematic gold in that.

1. Klaus

 A cartoon image of Santa Claus - an old white man - with a sack of presents on his back and a slender, blond man dressed in a postal office uniform.
[Image description: A cartoon image of Santa Claus,  an old man with a sack of presents on his back and a slender, blond man dressed in a postal office uniform.] Via Netflix
91% on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s all I have to say about this beautiful movie.

There haven’t been a lot of wintery animated movies that have won us over as strongly as Disney’s Frozen back in 2013, but Klaus is an underrated exception to that trend. It hits home with an almost Christmas Carol-esque development arc – and its animation is a sight for sore eyes. You’ll fall in love with its sublimely imperfect characters. I’ll let the movie do the talking and spoil it no further.

2. Let It Snow

A young boy and girl laughing as they sled down a slope.
[Image description: A young boy and girl laughing as they sled down a slope.] Via Steve Wilkie on Netflix
Ah, John Green. Remember that guy?

When Let It Snow hit the dashboard at Netflix, the 12-year-old inside me squealed; out of horror and joy. I mean, after Paper Towns… Green’s book-to-screen adaptation record was pretty tarnished. But Let It Snow was as pleasantly surprising as it was cute. With an adorable queer storyline and a diverse set of characters played well for its meager budget, all things considered, I’d say this was one of Netflix’s most tolerable Christmas movies of the year. And it’s perfect for a girls’ night in!

3. Frozen I … and II

A cast of cartoon characters showing two women, a man, a moose, and a snowman.
[Image description: A cast of cartoon characters showing two women, a man, a moose, and a snowman.] Via Disney
Although my nieces drove me insane when Frozen first came out, I can’t say I don’t like the movie. Though it’s far from my favorite Disney movie (any Tangled fans out there?), it isn’t my least favorite either. Elsa’s a badass and so is Anna, and how could we forget our hero, Olaf? Get the kids together (and the inner kid squealing within you) because Frozen is, and will always be a Christmas classic. Plus, Frozen 2 is already the #1 movie in the world.

4. Last Christmas

 [Image description: a blond woman and a black-haired man embracing with a Christmas tree in the background] Via TheDailyBeast
[Image description: a blond woman and a black-haired man embracing with a Christmas tree in the background] Via TheDailyBeast
Last Christmas is at the top of everyone’s Christmas playlist and if it isn’t on yours, I’d gently remind you to go update it. But seeing an entire movie crafted out of this season jam is a whole new dimension I never knew I’d love.

We all loved Emilia Clarke transform into soft young Lou in the aching Me Before You adaptation, and her transformation into an embittered, perpetually cynical Kate in Last Christmas is bound to be just as great. Plus, the movie is written by Emma Thompson. Enough said.

5. The Princess Switch

Two identical women - one in an apron, the other in a business-casual ensemble - stare in shock at each others reflection.
[Image description: Two identical women – one in an apron, the other in a business-casual ensemble – stare in shock at each other’s reflection.] Via Netflix
The first of many Hudgens – throwback to the HSM days! Despite having a non-existent character development arc, The Princess Switch still manages to incite a few aww’s from our softer sides. This was Vanessa’s big Netflix debut, so let’s treat our Gabriella Montez to a warm welcome. Plus, who doesn’t love Christmas baking shows based in fictional European monarchal states?

6. Christmas Inheritance

A blonde woman looks sincerely at the man in front of her.
[Image description: A blonde woman looks sincerely at the man in front of her.] Via Netflix
A quintessential trip to the family town and having your luggage destroyed by a slightly buffer Nicholas Hoult doppelganger driving a (green?) taxi that looks like it dropped right of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secret? I’m interested. Although the side-swept hairdo and cheesy lines could’ve done better, I liked how homely this movie was. Christmas is a time of self-reflection and reconnecting with your roots – and the homeward journey that follows is rewarding, if slightly bittersweet. Definitely one for the list!

7. The Knight Before Christmas

A man in chain armor and a woman in winter clothing smile as they ride a horse through town.
[Image description: A man in chain armor and a woman in winter clothing smile as they ride a horse through town.] Via Brooke Palmer on Netflix
I did say there was going to be a bit of Vanessa Hudgens on here. However, many are singing modest praises for Netflix’s latest in a long line of Christmas-themed movies, with Josh Whitehouse’s deep Medieval accent and soft curls winning the scene over in this holiday rom-com – as well as Hudgens’ heart. What with Christmas being a time of magic and wonder, this movie is a cozy watch for anyone wishing to bask in those themselves.

8. The Christmas Chronicles

A young girl and teenage boy smile as they look up at the sky. The girl is holding a video camera.
[Image description: A young girl and teenage boy smile as they look up at the sky. The girl is holding a video camera.] Via Netflix
While most holiday movies seem to linger on the romantic track, Christmas Chronicles focuses instead on the eternal bond shared between siblings. Have an annoying younger brother or sister? Maybe an irresponsible older one? Then draw up a plan to watch this with them as this hilarious Christmas movie takes you on an adventure with the rowdiest Santa Claus in town.

9. Angela’s Christmas

A cartoon girl in a blue nightgown and pigtails smiles sweetly. She is seated on her bed.
[Image description: A cartoon girl in a blue nightgown and pigtails smiles sweetly. She is seated on her bed.] Via Netflix
I absolutely love, love, love Angela’s Christmas. It is equal parts beautiful, touching and visually pleasing to the eye, and packed with important messages from start to finish. Messages we could all do with in this time of giving, reflection and celebration. I don’t want to spoil the watching experience for you, but if you’ve lost hope in animated holiday movies, this Christmas movie will definitely revitalize it.

10. The Man Who Invented Christmas

Two men - one old, one young - stare ahead in befuddlement. The older man is holding a candle in one hand.
[Image description: Two men – one old, one young – stare ahead in befuddlement. The older man is holding a candle in one hand.] Via Twitter
I’m a sucker for period dramas, and when it’s got Dan Stevens in the mix, it’s impossible to say no. I grew up reading A Tale of Two Cities and A Christmas Carol, so a biopic on the man who popularized Scrooge was at the top of my list. Even if it does tend to fictionalize some bits. Plus, have we ever thought about Scrooge being the result of Dickens having a serious writer’s block? This Christmas movie intends to show us just that. Here’s one for all you aspiring writers!

11. A Bad Mom’s Christmas

Three woman look to the side in concern. They're standing around a table, eating Chinese food and drinking wine.
[Image description: Three woman look to the side in concern. They’re standing around a table, eating Chinese food and drinking wine.] Via IMDB
If you loved Bad Moms, you’re going to love A Bad Moms Christmas. With the likes of Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hann taking the lead, you can never go wrong, Loud, raunchy, laugh-out-loud and incredibly relatable for not just all the moms but every Christmas rebel out there, this is bound to be on everyone’s Christmas movies bucket list!

12. Noelle

A brunette woman smiles ecstatically. She's in a red coat, red scarf, and red beanie.
[Image description: A brunette woman smiles ecstatically. She’s in a red coat, red scarf, and red beanie.] Via Disney
Anna Kendrick in a holiday movie? Trying to recover Santa from his escapades in the human world? Saving Christmas in the process? YES. Sibling tussles are apparently quite universal, so grab your own or get your kids, nieces, and nephews to sit down and reap the adorable messages peppered across this Disney movie. With the comedic mastermind of Bill Hader and Anna’s endearing badassery, you’re going to enjoy a few laughs for sure.

13. Holiday In The Wild

A brown-haired woman is chugging champagne from the bottle.
[Image description: A brown-haired woman is chugging champagne from the bottle.] Via YouTube
Baby elephants, beautiful Zambian landscapes, a woman on an empowering journey of self-actualization, AND Rob Lowe – what more could be perfect? On an almost Eat, Pray, Love-esque plotline, Holiday In The Wild is about Kate, reeling from the shock of her husband filing for divorce, realizing that life has a whole lot more to offer beyond skulking over heartbreak. The movie urges us to think about the bigger things in life, not least of all that Christmas is not just a time for fancy decorations. It’s a time of compassion and helping the helpless. The landscapes make this message even more poignant. And the fact that stars from the ’80s are making a comeback, y’all.

14. Holiday Rush

A family of kids eating dinner while their father speaks.
[Image description: A family of kids eating dinner while their father speaks.] Via YouTube
Other than the fact that Holiday Rush brings back Starfleet’s powerful Michael Burnham from Star Trek: Discovery to the big screen, Holiday Rush has a special place in my heart. While most Christmas movies choose to show us the pretty lives of affluent families who can afford the latest holiday merch, Holiday Rush hits home with its beautiful portrayal of a father struck by unemployment right as the holidays arrive. His love for his family, however, pulls through and Chrismas still manages to be magical. Needless to say, this one will invite a few of us to tackle our moms and dads with bearhugs for all that they have and continue to sacrifice for us.

15. The Holiday Calendar

A black-haired woman smiles up to her friend as he speaks.
[Image description: A black-haired woman smiles up to her friend as he speaks.] Via YouTube
Magical calendars and Bonnie from TVD make this cutesy chick flick even cutesy-er. Unlike most chick flicks that choose to focus solely on vapid romances, The Holiday Calendar invokes hope and optimism even when you think your dreams are all but dust. We all loved Elena (who am I kidding? I didn’t), but let’s admit it – Bonnie deserved better. And in this movie, she might just get her just dessert. Literally.

16. A Christmas Prince, The Royal Wedding, and The Royal Baby

A man and a woman look intently ahead.
[Image description: A man and a woman look intently ahead.] Via YouTube
The Christmas Prince trilogy is perfect for a nice, long binge-watch session. The series began similar to the way we all fell in love with Prince and Me back in 2004 minus all the incessant casting changes (we miss you, Julia Stiles!); although the second and third installations aren’t half as good as the first, it is one of Netflix’s first original holiday flicks and deserves a spot on anyone’s list for the season.

17. Cats

A set of humanlike cats are dancing on stage.
[Image description: A set of humanlike cats are dancing on stage.] Via YouTube
I know, I know. The trailer is mildly terrifying. Alright, alright – absolutely terrifying. But with T-Swift bagging Artist of the Decade at the AMAs and our undying devotion to the original musical, it would be unthinkable to not watch Cats this Christmas. There are loads of promising things in the movie, its star-studded ensemble being one. Although Broadway to Big Screen adaptations rarely pan out well, you never know; Cats might just be the exception. Here’s to hoping the musical score compensates for the nightmarish animation.

18. Anna And The Apocalypse

Four teenagers are walking underneath a life raft.
[Image description: Four teenagers are walking underneath a life raft.] Via YouTube
For all the zombie apocalypse junkies out there who never thought something as guiltily good as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies could ever be made again, think twice. Anna and the Apocalypse is precisely what the trailer suggests; Shaun of the dead x La La Land Christmas gore galore. Jingle bells and zombies? Heck yes! With a catchy musical score, this movie is great for laughing out loud at the abrupt plot twists, raunchy humor and the desperate plight of teens trying to survive through Christmas – all while fending off a zombie apocalypse.

19. Christmas In The Heartland

Three people - a blonde girl and a pair of grandparents - stand chatting in a living room.
[Image description: Three people – a blonde girl and a pair of grandparents – stand chatting in a living room.] Via YouTube
Christmas In The Heartland is much like The Christmas Switch where two girls switch places for a week, soon finding themselves helplessly and inextricably entwined in the other’s life. The seemingly unimpressive cast of this holiday flick might be a turn-off but sometimes, that’s all you need. Supporting burgeoning actors and actresses is just as important as downing a good Christmas movie. And anyways, tone down the judgment, people – it’s the holiday season!

20. Surviving Christmas with the Relatives

A large family is seated around a Christmas dinner.
[Image description: A large family is seated around a Christmas dinner.] Via YouTube
Just the title had me sold. A slew of differences between you and your extended family? Unbearable aunts making unwelcome comments on your body? An unending influx of relatives you never knew existed and are now forced to smile at? Incredibly expensive gifts that leave holes in your pocket? Holiday getaways with the family gone horribly wrong? This Christmas movie gets the trainwreck situation that accompanies big family Christmases just right. All the way from outrageously misaligned sibling relationships to romantic mistakes, I thoroughly enjoyed this yet another underrated, small-budget flick. It’s hilarious.

21. Santa Girl

A brown-haired girl in a red sequin dress speaks animatedly.
[Image description: A brown-haired girl in a red sequin dress speaks animatedly.] Via YouTube
As a high school senior, I get Santa Girl’s dilemma. All she wants is a normal life, not to be the heir to her father’s Christmas empire – and although going to Yale doesn’t exactly scream ‘normal’ in any way, shape or form, the storyline is quite enjoyable for its running time. The title could have done with some more thought, but seeing our beloved Harper from Wizards of Waverly Place play the lead in this I-am-my-own-person film was worth it. As for her overbearing father, Santa, I say: who passes up Yale?

Oh, wait, the college admissions scandal. That’s a big tick in the Naughty column. Riiight.

22. The Grinch

A cartoon, green character looks around grumpily as his alarm rings.
[Image description: A cartoon, green character looks around grumpily as his alarm rings.] Via YouTube
Come on, does this even need any convincing? This is signature Christmas movies galore. I mean, it’s the Grinch’s bildungsroman!

23. The Nutcracker And The Four Realms

A young girl in a purple ballgown looks up in awe as she enters a Christmas party.
[Image description: A young girl in a purple ballgown looks up in awe as she enters a Christmas party.] Via YouTube
We’re all familiar with the sad story behind The Nutcracker, an undeniable Christmas classic. Mackenzie Foy plays young Clara, a princess on her way to restore stability to her land by journeying to the Fourth Realm alongside, of course, the fabled Nutcracker. This one quietly hit the cinemas and left it just as quietly, much to everyone’s surprise. With voice-overs from award-winning actors and actresses like Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, and Keira Knightley, you would imagine it would have gained more traction. And that’s precisely why this is one of the many underrated Christmas movies on my list this year.

24. Little Women

Four girls are seated in a room with three of them looking up at the performance of the fourth.
[Image description: Four girls are seated in a room with three of them looking up at the performance of the fourth.] Via YouTube
Here’s one for all of you bookworms! As a certified Jo March, I simply could not put a Christmas movie list out there without mentioning this gorgeous, if slightly less Christmas-y, new remake of Louisa May Alcott’s timeless classic, Little Women. Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Laura Dern, Meryl Streep, and Timothée Chalamet; I don’t know how I’ll manage to survive such incandescence. Plus, Ladybird’s Greta Gerwig is directing it. Need I say more? Let’s get the tissues out because here come the tears! (And by that, I mean Timmy’s beautiful brown locks and Emma and Saoirse’s unapologetic sisterhood. Of course, that’s what I mean.)

25. Black Christmas

A curly-haired girl in pajamas gives a knowing look to her friend as she speaks.
[Image description: A curly-haired girl in pajamas gives a knowing look to her friend as she speaks.] Via YouTube
Not the jolliest ending to a Christmas movie list, but Black Christmas should definitely be on yours this holiday season. If you loved Get Out, you’re going to love this movie, coming from the very same production house. A tasteful horror set in the lives of college sorority girls with Cary Elwes (oh, Princess Bride) being their creepy professor, it’s unmissable. Cults, stalkers, sisterhoods – one thing we can definitely celebrate this Christmas, is new-age horror.

Now, you might end up loving some of these or you won’t. But Christmas movies will continue to hold a special place in your heart, just as they continue to hold one in mine. Happy holidays and happy binge-watching!


https://thetempest.co/?p=127463
Shizah Kashif

By Shizah Kashif

Editorial Fellow

Tags
The Tempest , Vanessa Hudgens , romance , taylor swift , friendship , romcoms , Netflix , Emma Watson , The Tempest fellowships , cats , The Tempest Media , write for the tempest , Klaus , Little Women , frozen , christmas movies , Christmas is everywhere , Timothee Chalamet , countdown to holiday , a royal wedding , The Tempest Studio , frozen 2 , Shizah Kashif , movies on netflix , the holiday season , christmas 2019 , new years 2019 , new years 2020 , last christmas , movies to watch at christmas , films to watch with your family , family movies , family friendly movies , Christmas movies to watch with kids , Noelle , A Bad Moms Christmas , The Man Who Invented Christmas , Angela's Christmas , Christmas Chronicles , The Knight Before Christmas , Christmas Inheritance , The Princess Switch , George Michael , Frozen II , Let It Snow , Holiday In The Wild , Holiday Rush , The Holiday Calendar , A Christmas Prince , A Royal Baby , Anna And The Apocalypse , Zombies , Christmas in the Heartland , Surviving Christmas with the Relatives , Santa Girl , The Grinch , The Nutcracker And The Four Realms , Black Christmas , Horror 2019 ,

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