Almost every family needs a little extra holiday cheer. Figuring out the best Netflix Christmas movies of 2020 is one part of that equation. We started the 2020 season early. We picked up our tree Thanksgiving morning, and by my mid-afternoon, we were settling in to rent Elf just as the tryptophan set in. My husband and I drank Negronis while our 3-year-old downed fancy sipping chocolate, and Buddy split from the North Pole to find his father in NYC. Elf is not streaming on Netflix as of Christmas 2020, but the most venerable streaming service of them all does still have some good Christmas movies. What we all need now are good Christmas movies…but the sheer number of holiday films out there is overwhelming. Yesterday after a fruitless 15-minute search, I surrendered the remote to let my daughter zone out to Robocar Poli as I took another aimless scroll through Instagram. After an hour, we were both about as cheery as an empty cookie tin.
What we all want is the movie equivalent of instant cocoa: rich and ready entertainment sweet enough to deliver that Saint Nick fix we so desperately crave. So I slipped on my slippers, turned on Netflix, and dug in to find only the movies truly worth watching. Go grab a bag of mini-marshmallows and settle into your pillow fort to watch these fourteen best Christmas movies streaming on Netflix now.
I only knew of Belsnickel, the curmudgeonly cousin of Santa, from an old episode of The Office. I was delighted to learn more about him in this year’s sequel to The Christmas Chronicles. Also, Mr. and Mrs. Claus (Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn) are real-life partners, which adds extra charm to their scenes.
Make it a double feature and watch this 2018 Christmas hit first. Two kids set out to catch Santa on videotape, and end up caught in a whirlwind adventure to save Christmas.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn this film (and its prequel, Angela’s Christmas) was based on Frank McCourt’s Pulitzer-prize winning memoir, Angela’s Ashes. With lovely animation and a meaningful message, this short movie is well worth a watch.
Fatherly already waxed poetic about this movie before, and we’ll do it again: this is the best holiday movie of 2020! Hands down! Need another reason to watch? The score’s by John Legend.
In Alien Xmas, a race of aliens called the Klepts set out to steal gravity, and therefore rob the earth of all our stuff…aka a fitting last chapter of 2020. If you get nostalgic for the stop motion style of the 60’s classic Rudolph, Alien Xmas will give you a modern fix.
This film from last year was nominated for an academy award, and for good reason; it’s a beautiful, original spin on how an everyday man named Klaus came to be the Santa we all know and love. A must-see.
“Your life is bland right now but that’s ok. Prepare your minds to get blown away!” sings one of the trolls in this movie. Trolls Holiday didn’t quite blow away me or my kid, but it was fun, colorful, and mercifully short.
Jim Carey is the only Grinch I will ever need. This version of the classic Dr. Seuss tale hides plenty of adult content that will go straight over your kids’ heads and keep you on the couch all the way through. (“MAX! Fetch me my sedative.”).
Put this on in the background while the kids build an addition to the pillow fort. Though they might not watch ’til the end (it’s over two hours long), the dance scenes will captivate them and the music will fill your home with that classic Christmas feel.
We covered this already in our Best 2020 Christmas Episodes from Toddler Shows roundup, but it’s worth another mention. I loved the detail they put into the animation, and my kid loved the storyline and funny animal friends.
My kid might be an outsider here, but she’ll happily sit down next to me to watch a tv show devoted to all things sugar-spun and outrageously delicious. Great British Baking Show Holidays is pure comfort for these final days of a stressful year.
A medieval knight ends up in present-day Ohio and falls for a love-averse teacher, played by Vanessa Hudgens. It’s A Knight’s Tale meets Kate & Leopold, and a solid choice for those families with slightly older kids.
I tolerated this one, but my 3-year-old couldn’t get enough– she loved the sleigh bell-laden soundtrack and magical northern lights. Take comfort in knowing it’s less than half an hour long.
If you can get past the squeaky voices, you’ll be pleased with this Christmas short. Little Bo is dismayed when she thinks her presents aren’t good enough for her friends, which spoke to the mom in me who is still anxiously trying to pick out the perfect presents for my kid’s teachers.