In my world, winter doesn’t just bring with it autumn leaves, fireworks and a drop in temperature. It also brings the opportunity to curl up on the sofa with a mince pie, a mug of hot chocolate, and some great festive films.
There’s an abundance of options on Netflix, so today I thought I’d share 8 of my favourites, to offer up a little inspiration.
1). Jingle Jangle
Description: Decades after his trusted apprentice betrayed him, a once-joyful toymaker finds new hope when his kind and curious granddaughter comes into his life.
Wowzer. This is an incredible film. The cast, the location, the singing, the big dance numbers, the acting, the effects, the costumes, the Victorian feel that reminded me of A Christmas Carol – I love it all. New for 2020, it’s a film for the whole family, with the key message of believing in yourself at its heart. It made me laugh, and it made me cry (though admittedly, that’s not difficult to do!). Madalen Mills as Journey is a particular highlight. Also, the soundtrack is amazing. It’s up there with The Greatest Showman and La La Land.
2). The Christmas Prince
Description: Christmas comes early for an aspiring young journalist when she’s sent abroad to get the scoop on a dashing prince who’s poised to be king.
The Christmas Prince has been one of my favourites since it was released at the end of 2017. 2017 was a rough year for my family, and I found this rom-com to be so comforting. It’s cheesy, a bit ridiculous, but an enjoyable watch nonetheless. It’s cosy, snowy, and there’s a gorgeous castle. There are two more films that form the trilogy – The Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding, and The Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby. The first is definitely the best, the second one is okay, but I’d probably skip the final installment.
Description: After proving himself to be the worst postman at the academy, a postman is posted to a frozen town in the North where he discovers Santa Claus is hiding out.
Klaus is a 2019 beautifully-animated film that was recommended to me by a friend. It’s all about how the tradition of writing letters to Father Christmas came about. It’s funny, heart-warming, and a film that would be enjoyed by adults and kids alike. It won ‘Best Animated Film’ at the BAFTAs!
4). The Princess Switch
Description: Stacy makes delicious confections. Her look-alike has royal connections. Swapping lives gives both a taste of what they’re missing.
Vanessa Hudgens has become one of my favourite actors after watching her in Christmas films. She plays both the titular characters in this romantic comedy; baker Stacy De Novo and Lady Margaret Delacourt, Duchess of Montenaro. This film is a lot funnier than I was expecting it to be, and I highly recommend it for a Saturday night in. If you love this one, there’s also a sequel – The Princess Switch: Switchen Again. And in this one, there are three characters played by Vanessa Hudgens.
5). The Christmas Chronicles
Description: Siblings Kate and Teddy Pierce hatch a scheme to capture Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. When the plan goes awry, the kids join forces with a somewhat jolly Saint Nick and his loyal elves to save the holiday before it’s too late.
After Richard Attenborough in Miracle on 34th Street, Kurt Russell is my favourite Father Christmas. This film is action-packed, funny, and there’s a singalong in a jail scene that you’re sure to enjoy. It’s a magical watch, and I’ve got the sequel on my watch-as-soon-as-possible list.
6). The Knight Before Christmas
Description: A medieval knight is transported to present day America, where he meets Brooke, a teacher who has given up on happily ever afters.
The Knight Before Christmas is another Vanessa Hudgens festive treat. Similarly to The Christmas Prince, it’s cheesy and a bit nonsensical, but if you can put that aside, it’s a cosy film set in a small town with a sense of community and a bucket load of Christmas spirit. You’ve got snow, Christmas tree shopping, hot chocolate and romance, and I’m here for it.
7). A Bad Moms Christmas
Description: Under-appreciated and overburdened moms Amy, Kiki and Carla rebel against the challenges and expectations of the Super Bowl for moms: Christmas. As if creating the perfect holiday for their families isn’t hard enough, they’ll have to do it while hosting and entertaining their own respective mothers when they come to visit.
Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn and Kristin Bell star in A Bad Moms Christmas, which is the follow-up to hit comedy Bad Moms. It’s a raunchy watch that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and you’re guaranteed a laugh. Arrange a virtual watch party with your gal pals and crack open the wine.
8). Midnight at the Magnolia
Description: Longtime friends and radio hosts, Maggie and Jack, fake it as a couple for their families and listeners in the hopes of getting their show nationally vindicated.
Midnight at the Magnolia is another film new to Netflix in 2020. Now, I’m not saying it’s going to win an Oscar or be your new festive favourite – it’s a little flat compared to the other films on this list. However, the locations make this worth a watch while you’re writing your cards, wrapping your presents, or baking gingerbread biscuits. It’s set in Chicago at the end of December so there’s plenty of snow, and a number of the scenes are set in a jazz club which is cosy and beautifully decorated. It is predictable – as is the nature of romantic comedy – but it’s a really easy watch if you’ve had a long day and want to switch off for a bit, or you just want something on in the background.