With the second wave of COVID-19 currently happening and a potential lockdown looming over the end of our semester, it’s time to push those books aside, warm up a cup of cocoa and get comfy in front of the TV with your family watching corny holiday movies! Netflix’s Christmas movie selection, although shamelessly corny, is filled with great picks for that perfect winter night celebrating the holidays with love in the air. Here are my rankings of all the Netflix Christmas classics to tune into this December.
- The Princess Switch
In this modern take of the classic Princess and the Pauper story, Netflix Christmas movie queen Vanessa Hudgens is here in full force in The Princess Switch — playing both Stacy, a baker from Chicago, and Lady Margaret, Duchess of Montenaro. Stacy and her friend/business partner Kevin travel to Belgravia for a Christmas baking competition. Stacy and Lady Margaret discover they are identical and bond over a drive for more in life. Agreeing to switch places, Stacy becomes Lady Margaret, dressing up as a princess and getting to know Lady Margaret’s estranged fiancé Prince Edward, and Margaret becomes Stacy, falling in love with Kevin and his young daughter. Following two love stories at once where two opposites are torn apart by circumstance, The Princess Switch is an instant classic and truly ignites the Christmas spirit within with the joyous music and holiday themes.
- The Knight Before Christmas
14th century knight, Cole, is magically transported by an old witch in the woods to modern day Ohio. Wondering in an unfamiliar world, Cole is hit by a car by a girl named Brooke, played by the Netflix Christmas movie queen yet again, Vanessa Hudgens. Brooke, feeling hopeless about love, assumes Cole has amnesia as he claims to be a knight and helps him adjust to the modern world. Two completely different people from different times, destined to be together, fall in love and celebrate Christmas in a true way: helping and supporting others. With so many ups and downs, a young girl getting lost in a blizzard and the couple being torn apart, this movie is the perfect mix of romance, drama, and corniness.
Note: If you cannot tell, I stan Vanessa Hudgens.
The raunchiest of the movies on the list, Holidate, starring Emma Roberts as Sloane, is the romantic comedy of the SEASON. Following all holidays rather than just Christmas, Sloane, tired of being the only single person in her family, and Jackson, an Australian hunk over serious relationships, team up to celebrate holidays together, never talking outside of the holidays. Initially not attracted to one another, the pair challenge each other and learn to enjoy one another, falling in love. Grey’s Anatomy’s Jessica Capshaw, SNL’s Alex Moffat, Kristen Chenoweth, and more provide outstanding performances and create interesting supporting characters, making the movie even more enjoyable. Filled with hilarious party scenes, sarcastic dialogue, and a star-studded cast, Holidate is definitely one to add to your watchlist.
- Holiday in the Wild
Starring Sex and the City’s Kristen Davis and overall icon Rob Lowe, Holiday in the Wild is the most unique of the movies on this list in my opinion, placing it at fourth on this list. Heartbroken over a sudden divorce and her son going off to college, Kate (Kristen Davis) travels to Zambia for her second honeymoon alone in search of a fresh start. In Zambia, Kate meets Derek and becomes enraged at how elephants are being killed by poachers and joins Derek at an elephant sanctuary for the remainder of her trip. Kate follows in love with the elephants at the sanctuary, being in Zambia, and with Derek as he pushes her out of her comfort zone. The beautiful animals and environment shown in the movie paired with Kate’s family drama and romance with Derek make Holiday in the Wild the perfect film for escaping the typical snowy Christmas for the hot safari.
- Operation Christmas Drop
Kat Graham, another veteran Netflix Christmas movie favorite, stars as Erica, congressional assistant, who is sent to Guam over Christmas to investigate if an U.S. Air Force base should be closed after their programming bringing presents to children on remote islands draws the government's attention. Erica is strong-minded and independent, giving people orders and initially there to shut down operations. After meeting Captain Andrew Jantz, played by Hunger Games’ Alexander Ludwing, Erica falls in love with him and his Operation Christmas Drop as she learns that giving back to others and spreading love is more important than money and fame. The gorgeous island scenery and the gorgeous cast make this movie memorable, as similar to Holiday in the Wild, we experience Christmas in the hot tropics rather than the typical snow.
- A Christmas Prince
When most people think of a Netflix Christmas movie, A Christmas Prince comes to mind as it was the first Christmas movie Netflix dropped that became extremely popular and an instant classic. American writer Amber is sent to Aldovia to cover Prince Richard’s upcoming press conference and get a juicy scoop as he is set to take the throne after his father's death. After sneaking around the palace, Amber is mistaken for the princess Emily’s tutor Martha and begins impersonating the teacher. Growing an attachment to the young Emily and Prince Richard, Amber questions whether she could go through with writing the exposing article. Will she choose love or her job? You got to watch to find out! This is definitely a fan favorite, but I’m placing it as sixth on my list because the plot is a classic Hallmark movie where a prince falls in love with a normal girl. I need more drama and action in my Christmas movies. Also, the lack of diversity in the cast is ASTONISHING.
- The Holiday Calendar
The Holiday Calendar, starring Vampire Diaries’ Kat Graham, is a typical Christmas romance movie with Christmas markets, holiday cheer and snow everywhere. Holiday photographer Abby is hopeless about her career and the future until her childhood best friend, Josh, comes back to town and ignites the Christmas spirit within. She then receives an advent calendar from her grandfather that reveals an item each day, first thinking it was just another dumb Christmas gimmick. After realizing that the item of each day connected to an event that will happen that day, Abby goes through ups and downs as she discovers what Christmas and love really mean to her. She struggles to choose between Josh and Ty, a single dad and doctor who she thinks is her perfect guy, and to understand herself in the Christmas classic. Although filled with holiday cheer, this movie is a little too basic for me with no creativity really to the plot or characters. A solid and safe Christmas movie choice, but the excitement is lacking.
- A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish
A modern and holiday take on the classic Cinderella, A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish follows the story of Kat, who has been forced to live with and work for her evil stepmom and stepsisters after her father’s passing. While performing as an Elf, Kat meets Nick, the new Santa Claus at Kat’s work. Because they are both in costume, they are able to fall in love with who each other really are, rather than judging one another based on money and reputation. I personally love this movie and the love story between Kat and Nick, especially when they have to deal with each other’s pasts, but it’s targeted more towards kids than the rest of these films, making it a little more immature and sillier.
- Christmas Inheritance
New York socialite Ellen returns to her father’s hometown for a business trip and finds herself stranded in a local hotel with its handsome manager, Jake. Leaving her money and fame behind, Ellen learns the true meaning of Christmas by bonding with the town folk, being selfless, and falling in love. The cheesiness in Ellen and Jake’s budding relationship and the humor of the supporting characters make this film worth the watch, but it ranks lower on my list because the plot isn’t as elaborate as other movies on the list. A great simple Christmas love story to get you in the holiday mood!
- Christmas With a View
In this Canadian Christmas romance movie, restaurant manager, Clara, falls in love with celebrity chef and her boss, Shane and helps to bring down the evil owner of the restaurant, Hugh. Christmas With a View falls last on my list because the main characters tend to spend more time arguing and being mad at each other rather than falling in love. The side “mystery” plotline to expose the owner, Hugh, overshadows the holiday feeling and optimism audiences crave when they watch these movies. This movie would’ve done better if it was marketed as a romantic mystery movie rather than a holiday film.