falling for christmas movies
Image: Scott Everett White/Netflix

Christmas movies: The best festive films and where to watch them

14 Nov 2023 | |By Luxury London

From terrestrial Christmas Day classics to a whole host of new movie releases across Sky, Netflix and Amazon Prime, here are the top yuletide streamers to get you in the festive spirit this season

Listen carefully. Can you hear it? Somewhere in the distance jingle bells are ringing and uplifting piano chords are rising to a crescendo. Miserly old men are learning the meaning of life and a Disney child star is staging a career revival (welcome back, Lindsay Lohan). That’s right: it’s Christmas movies season.

But with the streamers adding more and more titles to an already extensive body of snow-saturated works, how to sort the Home Alones from The Holidays? Allow us to point you in the right direction. From old favourites to fresh new takes (and with a few cosy festive specials thrown in for good measure), here are the Christmas movies and TV shows everyone will be talking about this season.

Home Alone, Disney+

Christmas doesn’t feel like Christmas until you’ve watched eight-year-old Kevin McAllister concoct a plan to catch two hopeless burglars while his family leaves the country for the holidays. Starring Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern, this festive classic is widely considered one of the best Christmas films of all time – and who are we to argue?

The Holiday, Amazon Prime

Another Christmas classic, The Holiday hit our screens in 2006 and luckily hasn’t left since. Starring Jude Law, Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet and Jack Black, watch how Iris and Amanda switch homes for Christmas to escape their problems before finding love in their new town. Heartwarming and hilarious, there’s a good reason why many of us rewatch this year after year…

Frozen, Disney+

If you haven’t already heard enough of Frozen’s Let It Go, then perhaps an extra dose of this Disney classic will get you in the Christmas spirit this year. When Snow Queen Elsa accidentally uses her power to cover her kingdom, Arandelle, in eternal snow, her younger sister Anna teams up with ice-man-turned-mountaineer Kristoff to demolish the wintry spell by climbing to the top of the kingdom’s mountain. There’s a lot of fun and adventure along the way, as they meet special characters including Olaf the snowman, Svenn the reindeer and Kristoff’s family of rock trolls.

Love Actually, Amazon Prime Video

BAFTA award-winning film Love Actually boasts one of the most star-studded casts ever, featuring Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Bill Nighy and more. As the countdown to Christmas begins in the UK, the film follows the lives of eight very different couples who are, in fact, loosely intertwined with each other. Perhaps London is a small world after all…

The Claus Family 2, Netflix

What is Santa’s one job? To deliver gifts, of course. But as Jules takes the reins from his grandpa Noël in this second installment of the Dutch-language Netflix Christmas franchise, he receives a letter from a little girl whose special holiday wish is for her parents to get back together. A surefire winner for all the family, providing they’re old enough to read subtitles (or shpeaken ze Dutch), this flick is all about making family and friends the centre of the festive season – the stuff money can’t buy. Visually magical, whatever your age, we particularly love the pint-sized elves and all their holiday wisdom.

Falling for Christmas, Netflix

For any millennials whose pre-teen Saturday nights were spent watching Mean Girls while sipping on Sunny D, Lindsay Lohan’s 2022 Netflix Christmas movie Falling for Christmas will give you all the nostalgic festive feels. Following the self-proclaimed spoilt daughter of a hotel magnate – whose one wish in life is to be known for more than her surname – we see the precocious Lohan take a tumble off a snow-capped mountain and wake up with a severe case of amnesia. Not knowing who she is, she begins a journey of self-discovery, surrounded by festive knits, twinkling trees, and some seriously enviable ski gear. Guaranteed to kick-start your reason-to-stay-in season, we think this festive film is totally fetch.

The Santa Clauses, Disney+

A spin-off miniseries picking up where the iconic 1994 movie The Santa Clause left off, this sequel sees Scott Calvin (still played by Tim Allen) back in his famous red pantsuit. But having ‘ho ho ho’ed’ for nearly 30 years, he realises that he can't be Santa forever. Now approaching his 65th birthday, and with a lot of elves, children, and family to please, Calvin sets out to find a suitably jolly replacement, while preparing his family for a new life south of the pole. Comprising six episodes, and following directly on from The Santa Clause 3, Elizabeth Mitchell, Eric Lloyd and David Krumholtz also reprise their roles. We’re sure the reindeer still know what to do…

Christmas With You, Netflix

This holiday heart warmer follows Angelina – a pop star with career burnout who, quite frankly, has no desire to jingle bell rock – as she escapes to a small town where she encounters a girl whose one holiday wish is to meet the star. Forced to stay longer than planned after a timely festive blizzard, Angelina (Aimee Garcia) forms a close bond with the young girl and her family, including her music teacher father (Freddie Prinze Jr). The result is a new-found joy for music, a revaluation of what’s important in life, and of course, a shot at romance with the Prinze (and yes, he’s still all that).

The Noel Diary, Netflix

Starring This is Us dreamboat Justin Hartley, this Netflix Original movie follows a flourishing young author as he returns home at Christmas time to settle his estranged mother's estate. Once there, he discovers a mysterious diary and meets a beautiful young woman whose own story seems to somehow intertwine with his. Together the strangers set out on a journey to discover their pasts – and, potentially, what the future may hold for them both. A true festive rom-com to get you in the yuletide spirit, don’t forget the hot chocolate and mince pies for that all-important holiday hygge.

Your Christmas or Mine?, Amazon Prime Video

It’s two days before Christmas and Hayley and James are at Marylebone train station, saying their goodbyes before parting ways and heading back to their respective sleepy hometowns. About to take their seats, they simultaneously decide to surprise each other and unwittingly cross in the station and swap trains by mistake. The whistle blows and the trains pull away, just as a blizzard takes hold, forcing each to spend Christmas with the other’s family. Starring Daniel Mays, Angela Griffin, Cora Kirk and Sex Education’s Asa Butterfield, this Christmas crowd-pleaser hits all the right festive notes.

This Christmas, Sky Cinema

this christmas sky
Image: Sophie Mutevelian/Sky

Sky released its own original Christmas rom-com in December 2022 with This Christmas, starring Harry Potter’s Alfred Enoch and The Maze Runner's Kaya Scodelario. Set in the capital at the most wonderful time of the year, it follows protagonists Adam and Emma on their daily commute, where they see (but don’t speak to) the same passengers every day. One day Adam breaks the unspoken taboo and invites the entire carriage to hold their own Christmas party; and the rest, as they say, is festive magic. Also starring Timothy Spall, Jack Donoghue, Jeremy Irvine, Nadia Parkes and Clinton Liberty.

Mary Berry's Highland Christmas, BBC iPlayer

mary berry
Image: Shutterstock

Original Bake Off fans will be delighted to know that Dame Mary Berry will be back on our screens next month to host Mary Berry's Highland Crhistmas special. Seeing Berry return to her homeland for the festive season, keen cooks (or just avid eaters) will enjoy watching national treasure Berry prepare a fool-proof traditional turkey with all the trimmings, plus, of course, a show-stopping pudding. "The festive holidays are all about sharing special times with friends and family and so what better way than cooking some of my favourite dishes with a traditional Scottish twist," says Berry of the show.

Call the Midwife Christmas special, BBC iPlayer

call the midwife christmas special 2022

As much a yuletide tradition as mistletoe and mulled wine, Call the Midwife will, as always, be back for a 2023 Christmas special come December, airing on Christmas Day. Producers have remained tight-lipped about the details, but we've already got the festive feels just thinking about it – and what’s more, it’s just a taster before season 13 airs next year. As the midwives say: “Circumstances bring people together and take them apart. One cannot keep up with everyone in a lifetime.” But Christmas Day is a good place to start.

The Greatest Snowman, Channel 4

the greatest snowman
Image: Channel 4

Following its success last year, celebrity competition The Greatest Snowman will return to Channel 4 this festive season for a second take. Hosted by the hilarious Sue Perkins, the challenge will see celebrities trudging up a newly dusted mountain to compete in a very tense snowman-building competition. Supported by a crew of seasoned sculptors and engineers, the creations will be judged on form and artistry by Swedish sculpting sisters Sara and Emilie Steele and renowned British artist and sculptor Taslim Martin. Competition alumni Laurence Llewellyn Bowen will also be on hand to offer artistic tips and advice. Prepare for some truly epic ice creations that will put your carrot-nosed Mr Frosty to shame.

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