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The Best “So-Bad-its-Good” Christmas Movies of All Time

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Irvine chapter.

Christmas is a wonderful time of year when we can truly culture ourselves in the art of cinema- that is, watch cringy, formulaic movies with happy endings with absolutely no regard for reality. Whether it’s the city girl meets the small-town boy, or the riveting city boy meets the small-town girl, the bottom line is that two people will be falling in love and leaving their careers behind for a person they’ve known for three days. And we eat it up every time.

There’s always time to watch classics like The Grinch, Polar Express, and Elf, but the art of lazy rom-coms, semi-attractive leads, and cheesy one-liners are something we take for granted. Here is my list of must-watch So-Bad-its-Good Christmas movies to get you in the holiday spirit. 

1. The Princess Switch (2018)

This series takes us to the story of twin sisters, both played by Vanessa Hudgens, one a foreign duchess and the other an ordinary baker in Chicago, switching places and finding love in each life. The production, cast, and crew – the majority consisting of Hudgens – take us on a Parent Trap-inspired adventure of antics and shenanigans as the characters struggle to adapt to their different lives, but eventually, they find the one, and both become princesses by the end, because why not? The highlights of this movie are not only Hudgens’ unforgettable British accent but also the appearance of the actress’ third twin as the villain in Princess Switch 3. No teasers have come out about a fourth movie, but if a new addition is introduced- whether it’s a character or a prop piece— rest assured it will be played by Vanessa Hudgens. 

2. Holidate (2020)

This movie is about how spending time with your family on Christmas also means spending time listening to their judgments, specifically on how single you continue to be. Being tired of loneliness during the holidays, Sloane (played by Emma Roberts) finds a mall stranger who agrees to be her plus-one and pretends to be her boyfriend (because this isn’t a risk to your safety), not knowing that she’d be falling for him along the way. How did she find a guy who’s exactly her age, agrees to her ridiculous plan, is a family man, is funny and charming, and ends up being the love of her life? With Christmas movies, reality is truly thrown out the window. That, or I should go to the mall more often. 

3. The Knight Before Christmas (2019)

Vanessa Hudgens returns as the queen of Christmas movies, now with this tale about a time-traveling medieval knight sent to find a modern-day teacher who’s lost hope in love. What happened to slaying dragons and saving princesses from towers? Knights aren’t doing that anymore? Despite being a teacher in the American school system, Hudgen’s character has plenty of time to look after the stowaway soldier and falls in love with him. Hopefully, they can just ignore the fact that he is technically hundreds of years her senior, as well as overlook a cringy scene of the knight discovering modern Gen-Z terms. It was not, in fact, lit AF.  

4. Christmas with the Kranks (2004)

Tim Allen and Jaime Lee Curtis lead an all-star case that takes us on a comedic adventure about the spirit of Christmas, as their two characters (Luther and Nora Krank) try to skip the holidays due to their daughter being abroad until she arrives at the eleventh hour resulting in the  Kranks having12 hours to whip out the most perfect, last-minute Christmas. 

5. Single All the Way (2021)

A gay Christmas romantic comedy, and it stars Jennifer Coolidge? Sign me up. This film, much like Holidate, is about a son’s fear of his family’s opinions about him arriving alone every Christmas. To change this, Peter convinces his friend Nick to pretend to be his holiday hunk, but his growing feelings for him are sidetracked when Peter’s family sets him up on a blind date with a rather handsome candidate. Not only does this movie shed light on the growing LGBTQ+ Christmas movie industry, but it’s also a cutesy flick about acceptance regardless of your sexuality. Also, Jennifer Coolidge is in it. So 10/10. 

So, Merry Christmas to all who celebrate. May it be filled with corny oneliners, cringy intimate scenes, and formulaic rom-com that most likely star Vanessa Hudgens. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year. 

Hazel Jolly Kurien is a writer for Her Campus at the University of California, Irvine, currently in her first year of studying Psychology (B.S). As an international student from India and previously living in places like Singapore, Dubai, Malaysia, London, and Azerbaijan, Hazel's here to introduce her multicultural taste to her online readers. Her love for storytelling is rooted in moving around ever since she was a child, seeing how literature manifests itself differently in varying cultures. The only thing common was the grip it had on audiences – whether it was in Malay, Arabic, or Russian, the affectionate relationship between an author and their audiences was universal. That's why, as a confused, nervous college student herself, she wants to write for people alike to hopefully figure out college together. In Hazel's free time, she's always overspending on non-essential clothes shopping and aesthetic cafes, with hopes to study, but realistically taking Instagram photos with a chocolate dessert. Her dreams include travelling to Europe to try even more chocolate desserts, and of course, continuing her love for writing – which is why she's getting her start at Her Campus. So, whether it's Bollywood or Brownie recipes, Hazel will be writing on anything and everything!