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I Watched (Almost) All of the 2021 Netflix Original Christmas Movies So You Don’t Have To

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Okay, let’s get real here. This is my fourth year watching every Netflix Original Christmas movie and ranking them for you dear readers. The first year (2018) there were four movies. As the years went on, Netflix has greatly expanded their original content (read my 2019 and 2020 reviews). Fast-forward to 2021 and there are simply too many to count. I tried my best to watch any movie that didn’t seem like it was exclusively made to turn on in the background for your young child to watch. Even then, there has always been at least one title each year that is genuinely great (Home for Christmas, Klaus and Dash & Lily to name a few of my past favorites), but this year was a bit of a flop. Fair warning for potential general negativity going forward…Without further ado, here are (almost) all of the Netflix Original Christmas movies from this year ranked from worst to best!

Father Christmas is Back
Father Christmas is Back is a comedy that follows four sisters who reunite for a dysfunctional Christmas celebration in their Yorkshire mansion.

Starting off strong here (sense my intense sarcasm)! Now I’m going to be honest…I couldn’t make it through this one. As much as I love a campy comedy, Father Christmas is Back did not come close to falling into the “so bad it’s good” category for me. I made it about thirty minutes in before I realized I was only getting stressed out by watching this movie, which is not something I want from a holiday movie! If you are interested in the dysfunctional, raunchy family that hates each other trope, feel free to give this one a go. However, I can promise you that there are dozens of other very similar classics from the last couple of decades that are remarkably better in quality.

Love Hard
After Natalie (Nina Dobrev), a girl who is always unlucky in love, matches with her dream guy (Jimmy O. Yang/Darren Barnet) online, she flies across the country to meet him only to discover she has been catfished.

There was something about this movie that deeply disinterested me going in. Maybe it was its super early release date or the title that didn’t have a horrific Christmas-related pun that I have become so accustomed to. (For those that have watched this, it took me way too long to figure out that the title actually is wordplay). Love Hard had a shocking emotional grip on me about halfway through, when I asked myself…Is this movie kind of cute?! Unfortunately, that was somewhat short-lived as the movie quickly made me question what is paying tribute to a classic movie and what is blatantly copying an ending that has worked before. It was refreshing to see Darren Barnet play a character that is actually his age (30) instead of a teenager like in the series Never Have I Ever. Would I Recommend: Maybe? It has some cute moments, but you don’t have to watch this one.

Christmas Flow
A French three-part series following Lila (Shirine Boutella), a feminist journalist whose blog is going under, and Marcus (Tayc), a famous rapper who is being investigated with inciting violence against women in his songs.

This French series was…fun? Maybe I am just bitter that they did not make a third season of Home for Christmas this year but Christmas Flow really fell flat for me. It had good moments, but the enemies-to-lovers trope is really challenging when it’s a feminist journalist and a blatant misogynist who is being charged for promoting violence against women? They only have three episodes for Marcus to redeem himself so he doesn’t seem like a misogynist, but in the end it seems like both him and Lila end up settling for each other simply because they are attractive. Would I recommend it? Unless you want to watch Jeanne say “game on, bitches” an excruciating amount, I would recommend you watch Home for Christmas instead.

A Castle for Christmas
Brooke Shields stars as Sophie, an author who just released a novel that was unpopular with her fanbase. She decides to get away by visiting a castle in Scotland that was important to her family where she meets the grumpy duke (Cary Elwes) who lives there.

Calling all moms, calling all moms! This movie was wholesome and had its funny moments. This is where my ranking became difficult as a lot of the following titles did exactly what I expected and were fine? In quality, A Castle for Christmas is better than some of the other titles in this list but it ranks here because it simply is not my type of movie. I enjoyed a lot of the costume moments and the exploration of Scotland (which apparently is exclusively a castle and a pub). Also Drew Barrymore makes a guest appearance? I must ask once again: why do so many Christmas movies have a royalty element? It is getting slightly out of hand. Would I recommend? If I tell you Brooke Shields stars in this movie and you start talking about how you remember watching her in The Blue Lagoon…this movie is definitely for you. Oh, and I guess if you like Scotland?

Elves (Nisser)
This Danish series chronicles a family that travels to a remote island in the Danish archipelago for Christmas. A curious Josephine (Sonja Steen) begins to investigate what mystery could be hidden behind the town’s giant fence, while the townspeople will stop at nothing to keep their secrets.

I saved this series to watch last because I knew going in that it was not going to have the Christmas spirit element that I want from these titles. However, I was surprised to find the series with the best production quality and acting on this whole list and a generally exciting show. What could easily be a cringy story about a girl discovering a mysterious creature is actually very dark and creepy. Josephine is one of the most irritating main characters as she is always getting into serious trouble and almost everyone blows it off because she is a kid? The villain in the story is the only one to call her out by saying yes, this is all your fault. People are dying, Josephine!! Anyways, this series had me on my toes because I had no clue just how dark this small Christmas series could be. Although it was not exactly my Christmas cup of tea, if you want to watch something very untraditional for the holidays, Elves might be the perfect title for you.

Single All the Way
Peter (Michael Urie) has always been the single one. This year he plans to change that when he convinces his best friend, Nick (Philemon Chambers), to pretend to be dating him when they visit Peter’s family for Christmas.

My one-word review: cute! Single All the Way is not trying to be an award-winning film by any means. It’s a simple, Hallmark-esque romcom with a same-sex romance. It does a great job of checking all of the boxes of a good holiday romcom while having some genuinely funny moments. Jennifer Coolidge’s role is obviously iconic and what’s not to love about a Britney Spears song and dance moment? If you are looking for a cute and refreshing take on the typical holiday romcom, I would definitely recommend Single All the Way.

The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star
Stacy (Vanessa Hudgens) and Queen Margaret (also Hudgens) plan a Christmas festival and receive a priceless relic from the Vatican. When the star is stolen, the girls enlist the help of the only person they can think of, Margaret’s evil cousin Fiona (Hudgens…again) to get it back.

I genuinely cannot believe this is ranked here either. Perhaps it was only because I had just endured all that I could of Father Christmas is Back before starting this…but The Princess Switch 3 is so much fun! It’s not great by any means but I think the creators of this series are finally understanding that we want them to push the nonsensical fun of this concept. The last installment may have had a kidnapping attempt, but there was something so fun about seeing these royals train to avoid laser beams for a high-stress heist. They were able to make the inevitable switch still feel exciting the third time around. However, be WARNED: there are only three Vanessa Hudgens’ in this movie. I know. I feel scammed too.

That is my final ranking of all of the Netflix Christmas content from this year! Overall, I would give Netflix a D in the naming department (I can’t get over Love Hard) and a C in overall content. This is all fine…but what happened, Netflix?! I worry they spend all of their money filming in castles at this point. If you watch any of these titles let me know how they would rank on your list. Happy viewing and happy holidays!

Lainey is a senior at Kent State University studying Fashion Design with a minor in Costume Design & Technology. She is so excited to be the Editor-in-Chief for Her Campus Kent State this year and to start her career in costume design for film and television. Read on for the latest on film, fashion, music and much more!
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