With as much time as we have to sit at home and stream, one might think that we’d have burned through every streamable movie option by now. However, with the chances of that happening being next to impossible, it is easy to get caught up in the deluge of offerings. This is precisely why, with 2020 on the way out (thank goodness, right?) and a more hopeful 2021 looming, we really need to be a bit more judicious about what we stream. There’s so much out there, from time-worn classics to brand new, wannabe classics, that there’s just no way to watch it all.
With every attendant duty that comes with the holiday, the last thing you want is to be left out in the cold of the vast world of holiday movies to stream. Especially when it comes to Netflix, which is the most ubiquitous of streamers. Whether you’re simply celebrating with the family inside your home, Zooming, hosting a watch party, or opening your gifts over Google Meet, everybody you’re in “contact” with is streaming something. Chances are they are holiday films because that’s what most services are pushing this time of year. Now, with the help of this curated list, you can stay in the know with “All the Netflix Holiday Films You Need to Close Out 2020.”
This Netflix original puts a familiar spin on the anti-romantic comedy. Emma Roberts doesn’t like not having a beau at family events. She hates the questions, the side-eye looks, and everything else. She meets a guy (Luke Bracey) who doesn’t want anything to do with a relationship and they decide to be a couple… but for holiday events only. Now, these two spend a whole year faking a relationship and what do you know? They realize that maybe being together isn’t such a bad thing after all. Given how much time we’ve all been forced to spend with the people in our own households, Holidate is the perfect comedy (with a lot of romance) at the perfect time.
A Bad Moms Christmas
Bad Moms was first gave us Amy, Carla and Kiki as three women who were tired of all the crap mom’s have to go through. From nosey parents, to awful teachers, to crummy work environments, we saw three women effectively turn their nose at that and just be themselves. It was liberating and the movie was a ginormous hit. A Bad Moms Christmas takes that idea and expands it a bit further because with the holidays thrown in, these feisty females are not putting up with any crap from ANYONE. Factor into this that their mom’s come for the holidays and you’ve got a perfectly jovial recipe for disaster!
This offering from Dreamworks is a delightful tale for kids that adults could certainly learn a lot from. The tale is simple, when Queen Poppy finds out that others don’t have holidays, she decides to create one for them. Sure, this tale is a bit schmaltzy but isn’t that what the holidays are ultimately about? Giving? Receiving? Caring about others above ourselves? Trolls Holiday takes these themes and amplifies them so that viewers get to see the true meaning of the season. People young and old love the Trolls. They appreciate what they represent and the stories the tell. This film is a fine compliment to any holiday streaming diet.
The Christmas Chronicles
Who doesn’t love Kurt Russell? Given that this movie comes to us from the teams behind Home Alone and Harry Potter, how could this Netflix original not be good? A brother and sister attempt to catch Santa (Kurt Russell) in the act of delivering his yearly goodies. What they end up doing is making Santa’s sleigh go off the rails and now they’ve got to help Saint Nick keep Christmas going for everybody. With Russell playing a Santa that’s a bit different from other Santa’s, The Christmas Chronicles is the kind of holiday that really turns these sorts of films on their ears. Yes, everything works out in the end but the whole point is everything that’s learned along the way.
The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two
Following the mega-successful hit, The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two came flying on its sleigh to rescue us from 2020, and not a moment too soon. Kurt Russell is back and Sant Claus along with his wife Goldie Hawn as Mrs. Claus by his side in another fantastical Christmas adventure that is great for for the entire family. In the movie, Kate Pierce is reluctantly spending Christmas with her mom’s new boyfriend and his son Jack. But when the North Pole and Christmas are threatened to be destroyed, Kate and Jack are unexpectedly pulled into a new adventure with Santa Claus. One of the new classic Christmas movies not to be missed.
Think of this fun title as Home Alone but in a school. A young girl (Cameron Seely) with a lot of attitude finds that that is just what she needs when the school maintenance man (Danny Glover) is kidnapped before Christmas Break starts. What might seem like a bit of a kooky idea is actually laden with heart, fun, and holiday spirit as we see this overworked 9 year old figure out some very adult problems. With a solid turn by Glover (after Lethal Weapon who doesn’t love seeing him in ANYTHING holiday related?) and a great performance by Seely, Christmas Break-In is an unsung holiday classic!
While not too different in tone from The Christmas Chronicles, Get Santa is another story of Santa crashing his sleigh and Christmas being in danger. In this tale, Santa crashes but he ends up behind bars. Well, the world can’t have that and that’s when two people come forward to get Santa out for the big night! With a solid cast that includes Jim Broadbent and Ewen Bremner, Get Santa is a very fine family film. Directed by Christopher Smith Severance the story has just enough adult and kid friendly humor to make it a gift for everyone.
Fireplace for Your Home: Birchwood Edition
Okay, this one hour “film” is probably something Andy Warhol would’ve loved given some of his films like Empire. That hour tomb of a movie is a kindred spirit to the very cozy Fireplace for Your Home: Birchwood Edition. The title of this offering says it all. It’s a fire burning on logs in a fireplace. This might sound mind-numbing, but you’re not expected to actually sit down and watch this. Rather, like the Warhol films, it is meant to evoke a spirit and mood. Laugh if you want, but I defy anyone to put this on (even on their phones) and not get caught up in the majestic, crackling spirit of this fire burning. This title is clearly a raging dark horse on this list!
This Academy Award nominated tale is a Netflix created offering of the highest degree. When a not very nice postal worker named Jesper makes friends with a toy maker named Klaus, this friendship sparks a series of positive events that end up infecting a whole not so happy town with goodness. With a voice cast that includes Jason Schwartzman, J.K. Simmons and Rashida Jones, Klaus is a deliciously fun tale from Sergio Pablos and Carlos Martinez Lopez. With stylized animation that heightens the reality of the unreality, Klaus is a holiday film that retains a warmth for everyone in the family.
Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Ron Howard’s take on Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas has had a very long life since it was released in 2000. This story of The Grinch trying to steal Christmas from Whoville is a well worn tale that holds up even now. Based on the book from 1957, this 20 year old film never seems to get old or lose any of its luster. And how could it? With a cast that is top-lined by Jim Carrey, in a role he was seemingly born to play, watching this film for the holidays is almost a right of passage. Everybody has seen this film and if you haven’t you know about the story. That alone is enough to make it one of the holiday films you need on your streaming list!
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
With solid performances from Forest Whitaker and Keegan-Michael Key, this tale of toy maker (Whitaker) who loses his love for making toys when he is double-crossed by his right hand man (Key) is a classic Netflix holiday offering. The toy maker’s fortunes take a turn when his granddaughter (Madalen Mills) reminds him of just how great he and his creations are. Filled with fantasy, music, and a toy that highly resembles Johnny Five from Short Circuit, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey hits all the right notes from director David E. Talbert (First Sunday).
The Holiday Calendar
Who doesn’t like a little love around the holidays? The Holiday Calendar is an interesting Netflix Original in that it injects this sappy story with a bit of sci-if time travel. Abby (Kat Graham) is a photographer who’s stuck in a rut. She wants something but she just doesn’t know what it is. Then she gets an old calendar that sees the future. Soon Abby finds herself sharing this info with her her friend Josh (Quincy Brown) and Abby’s life suddenly gets a lot more interesting. Okay, I realize that on the face of it, The Holiday Calendar doesn’t sound like anything we haven’t seen before. However, the story is interesting, the performance’s fresh and vibrant, and who doesn’t like a holiday film that mixes genres?
Oftentimes we see Holiday stories about people in hard times while everyone around them is living high on the hog. Well, Holiday Rush, another Netflix Original, focuses on a family who have to band together when they are forced to live lean. Rush Williams (Romany Malco) is a radio host who has to move himself (and his 4 kids) in with his Aunt after he is let go from his job. As you can guess, there’s a lot of laughs in this family film, but there’s also a fair amount of family drama as everybody involved has to discover the true meaning of the holidays. With a solid message and strong performances, Holiday Rush is the kind of Netflix Original that could easy become a holiday staple!