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This holiday break, I have three things on my mind: hanging out with my dog, baking, and holiday movies. I surely can’t do all of these things well at once, so usually, I’ll bake a favorite recipe with some Netflix going in the background, and I have found the jackpot. 


I’ve been aware of A Christmas Prince since the first one came out in 2017, but never bothered to delve in-- all I knew was that it was Netflix’s attempt to get into the Hallmark-dominated market of disposable Christmas movies. But this year, after hearing the fuss for too long, I dove in. Spoilers ahead for A Christmas Prince trilogy, The Princess Switch movies, and The Knight Before Christmas, but even with spoilers, I want you to experience this cinematic experience for yourself. 


A Christmas Prince is now part of a trilogy, with the next two movies recounting a royal marriage and first-born child. A Christmas Prince is… as grounded in reality as a holiday movie can be. Amber, an NYC journalist goes to a small European country, Aldovia-- think Genovia from The Princess Diaries, but coated in Christmas cheer-- to cover the coronation of their new king, and ends up caught in a lie, falling in love with the to-be-king Richard, and becoming royalty, which I guess is what I would end up doing too. Also, I guess it’s Christmas during this whole situation. It’s certainly cheesy, but coherent and a generally fun watch. 


However, A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding might be my favorite in terms of how… off the rails it gets. This movie introduces Amber’s incredible comic-relief dad, who may fulfill every stereotype of a classic New Yorker. Amber and Richard alternate between planning their wedding, participating in cute Christmas themed activities and crafts, and… going to press conferences about the failing state of their nation with enraged workers? That certainly couldn’t be right, you might say, but it’s completely true. It’s jarring to see Amber and Richard go about their lovely, festive, and undoubtedly costly royal lives, and then see people angry about unpaid wages without even a hint of irony. But in the end, Amber and Richard get married and they all live happily ever after. Every single possible character is paired up with a romantic interest by the end of the film, from the widowed queen to Amber’s dad, but it doesn’t end there. 


A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby is truly one of the wildest things I’ve ever seen. I really don’t want to say much, but there are curses, mistrust of foreign royalty, hidden scrolls, and an incredibly payoff of a very weird running joke throughout the past films. This movie takes any semblance of the hard-hitting journalist Amber we met in the first film and throws it out the palace gates and into the dungeon. This Amber is paranoid about ghosts and nearly everyone else in the castle; it’s amazing. 


So, okay, I had fun watching these. I watched them all on the same day, which I highly recommend so you don’t forget the names of the many seemingly inconsequential side characters (which I did anyway) and gives you the motivation to finish this silly little trilogy. But wait-- Netflix told me-- there’s more. Netflix has highly recommended their next Hallmark-esque movie, The Princess Switch: Switched Again to me dozens of times by now, so I figure I’d start the first one. 


The Princess Switch stars Vanessa Hudgens, an actress I was personally really excited to see again, playing two different roles. One, and uptight baker from Chicago named Stacy, and the other, a spontaneous royal named Margaret. Essentially, Margaret dislikes the prince she is supposed to marry, and Stacy wants… nothing much, but she's in the country of Margaret’s partner-to-be for a baking competition, so they switch I guess? Margaret falls in love with Stacy’s (admittedly super charming) best friend Kevin and Stacy falls in love with the prince and she ends up marrying him and being a princess too! Stacy also wins the baking competition and everyone lives happily ever after. In this movie, Margaret and Kevin watch A Christmas Prince and Margaret is sobbing by the end, which might be a very weird misunderstanding of that movie. Remember this for later. 


However, The Princess Switch: Switched Again, the flagship of the royalty-based holiday Netflix movies in 2020, once again, complicates things. I paid a lot of attention to this movie and… still couldn’t understand what was happening. Margaret’s family member Fiona also looks like her (another role for our girl Vanessa!) but with some Bad Janet from The Good Place vibes. Margaret and Stacy switch so one of them can get out of some royal duty, and then Fiona kidnaps one of them to try and become queen, and honestly, it’s a beautiful mess. At any given moment, I had no clue where each Vanessa Hudgens was and I wasn’t sure if the film was sure either. My favorite line at the end is when Kevin sees Margaret at the airport and says “You look like Stacy but you sound like Margaret!” I nearly shouted at my TV to tell him that they look the same, that’s literally the whole point of the movie. In the end, Fiona obviously doesn’t become queen and Margaret does, but boy does it take a lot of confusion to get there. But during Margaret’s coronation scene… we see some familiar faces. Queen Amber and King Richard from A Christmas Prince are in attendance. Once again, I nearly shouted at my television. They watched their movie before this! Are we supposed to believe that A Christmas Prince is a documentary?! What is going on?


Finally, we have The Knight Before Christmas, which is a Medieval-time-travel-Christmas- romance, which is my favorite genre of movie that didn’t exist before this film, and hardly exists outside of it. I have no glaring problems with this one, it’s a bit goofy, but once again stars Vanessa Hudgens. I thought this was fine, I’m all for Vanessa getting that fat Netflix check, but then, something broke me. In what should be a throwaway line, Vanessa’s sister tells her daughter that one of their ornaments was a souvenir from when her parents visited Aldovia. Reader, this is when I truly lost it. If Aldovia is a real place in The Knight Before Christmas and The Princess Switch, does that mean that there are FOUR Vanessa Hudgens on that more festive version of Earth? Will the inevitable third The Princess Switch film feature a fourth Vanessa Hudgens? Will Netflix challenge Avengers: Endgame’s “most ambitious crossover event in history”??


Well, there’s no doubt Netflix has reeled me into their holiday multiverse. There are countless other weird details in these movies that I couldn’t include, but they are worth the watch even if you know everything I mentioned in this article. Holiday in the Wild and The Holiday Calendar were also both referenced in The Knight Before Christmas, so maybe that’s my next step into whatever deep holiday-themed tapestry that Netflix has begun weaving. A good Hallmark Christmas movie is good, but you just can’t beat the monarchical crossovers that Netflix is creating. Happy holidays and happy watching, and if you have any more leads on Netflix holiday movie crossovers, please let me know immediately. 

Hi! My name is Allie and I am a second year student studying communication media with minors in film and journalism.
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