Put on your ugly Christmas sweater and start roasting some chestnuts over an open fire (or, you know, microwave some popcorn), because Christmas movie season is here. While Lifetime and the Hallmark channel helpfully fill the weeks around Thanksgiving and Christmas with stories of lonely executives and handsome widowers finding love, what do you do if you don’t have cable? Netflix heard your plaintive pleas and is releasing a steady slate of holiday films for the streaming crowd. This year, they came out with six new holiday movies, and we watched them all.
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Holiday in the Wild
In what could almost be a Sex and the City spin-off, Kristin Davis plays Kate, a woman who doesn’t let a bad husband get in the way of a good vacation. When her lousy husband files for divorce, she flies to Africa solo and adventure ensues with the help of Rob Lowe, who plays a pilot and wildlife rescuer. While Kate finds a new purpose in life, is it enough to keep her away from her son and her home at Christmastime?
In time-honored Christmas movie tradition, Romany Malco plays Rush Williams, who is a wildly popular New York DJ and single dad trying to raise his four kids alone after the death of his wife. His mission to make a perfect Christmas for his kids is spoiled when he loses his job days before the holiday. Will the holidays be a disaster if he can’t spoil his kids? Or will the true meaning of Christmas prevail? Bet you can guess which it is.
Streaming Thursday, November 28.
The Knight Before Christmas
A medieval knight (played by Poldark’s Josh Whitehouse) gets lost, and it’s not because he stubbornly refused to ask for directions. Instead he was cursed by a sorceress and sent to modern-day Ohio. There he meets Brooke (Vanessa Hudgens, of The Princess Switch fame), a science teacher who’s always been unlucky in love. When she meets the knight, she thinks he has memory loss and decides to just roll with it, happily helping her literal knight in shining armor survive the 21st century. Will it be a fairytale or an—ahem—knight-mare?
A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby
This is the third installment in the Christmas Prince saga, which follows a young American journalist (Rose McIver) who travels abroad to cover a royal family, and finds herself in a real-life fairytale. As the title explains, this time around, King Richard (Ben Lamb) and Queen Amber are expecting a royal delivery. While Amber may still be living a fairytale, this one comes with a dark side: They need to pull off a meeting with the royals of Penglia or else a curse may be unleashed on the kingdom.
Streaming Thursday, December 5.
Netflix’s initial foray into family-friendly animated Christmas features was directed by Despicable Me creator Sergio Pablos. It stars Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore) as Jesper, an entitled student deliberately failing at the postal academy because he’s pretty sure his dad will just give him a job. Instead, he gets the tough love treatment when father sends him on a journey to work at the post office at the Arctic Circle—which is, you know, quite near the North Pole. Soon he meets a mysterious, toy-making hermit named Klaus. Who could that be?
Let It Snow
If you can imagine The Fault in Our Stars author John Green rebooting Love Actually as a teen movie, you’ll be pretty close to Let It Snow. The ensemble is packed with soon-to-be mega-stars like Isabela Moner (Dora and the Lost City of Gold), Shameik Moore (The Get Down), and Kiernan Shipka (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina), as well as the legendary Joan Cusack (Shameless) playing a delightfully odd yet wise snowplow driver. Based on the book by writers Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle, Let It Snow is a truly fun watch packed with romance, tears, and Christmas spirit.
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