It is Beginning to Look a lot Like…Netflix?

Get Into the Holiday Spirit With These Comforting Netflix Originals


Snowy streets, small towns, cheesy meet-cutes, borderline bad acting and maybe a prince? In recent years, Netflix and other streaming platforms have released their own original Christmas movies. While they are not classics like “Elf”, “Home Alone” or “Love Actually” these movies are full of cheer and sure to leave you in the holiday spirit, and there are enough of them to last the entire season (which starts November 1, of course).

A Christmas Prince (2017)

To me, this movie (along with the sequels, “A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding” (2018) and “A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby” (2019)) perfectly encapsulates the genre. It takes place in the picturesque kingdom of Aldovia, where daily activities include sledding, horseback riding and baking Christmas cookies. Conveniently, this is the perfect setting for an ‘enemies to lovers’ trope between Amber, a “career-woman” from New York City, and Prince Richard, the misunderstood heir to the throne. When Richard’s evil cousin returns and a case of mistaken identity throws Amber into the mix with the royal family (as Princess Emily’s tutor), chaos ensues. Is Amber the key to saving Christmas? Or will she return to father Rudy with nothing but a news story? 


The Princess Switch (2018)

As a key player in Netflix’s rise as a mass-Christmas movie producer, this trilogy (there are two sequels, “The Princess Switch: Switched Again” (2020) and “The Princess Switch: Romancing the Star” (2021)) stars Vanessa Hudgens in what eventually grows to be the three leading roles. When Chicago baker Stacey and coworker Kevin (he’s just a friend, guys) fly to Belgravia for a Christmas baking competition, Stacey is shocked to discover that she and the duchess of Montenaro (who is reluctantly engaged to the prince of Belgravia) are practically identical (how this is possible is a bit unclear (something about distant cousins), but also unimportant). Obviously, the two switch places and, in a parent-trap-esque scenario, begin to find themselves, and love, in the most unlikely of places. 

Admittedly, these movies get considerably worse as the trilogy progresses, but the first one is a must-watch. Belgravia is the ultimate Christmas town (seriously, who would not want to live there), and the plot is deep enough to let you forget about the outside world and lose yourself in Christmas magic.


Falling For Christmas (2022)

Speaking of the “Parent Trap”, I was beyond excited to learn that Lindsay Lohan would be starring in one of this year’s Netflix original Christmas movies. I began planning my watch party as soon as I found out. Right off the bat, I really appreciate the pun in the title, especially since it had multiple implications between Lohan, a stuck-up rich girl, literally falling off a cliff and soon after falling for a rugged inn owner. Unfortunately, this may have been where the creativity ended. Now, I am all for the classic tropes: temporary memory loss, a single dad, a love triangle and a small town decked out for Christmas, so this was very enjoyable. However, if you are looking for a plot twist or suspense this may not be the movie for you. Here, the “plot twists” arrived exactly when I expected them to, and they were exactly what I expected them to be.


Love Hard (2021)

Last year, “Love Hard” hit number one on Netflix just three days after its release, and it was well deserved. While still including the classic elements of a Netflix original (a small town, an “unlikely” match, and a Christmas-obsessed family), “Love Hard” watches like a higher-budget, ‘real’ movie. Natalie has built a career on her horrible online dating life but thinks it is the real deal when she matches with Josh. Unfortunately, he lives across the country in a quaint town in upstate New York. So, naturally, Natalie flies across the country, with an order to write a story, and surprises… a catfish. Somehow, she is convinced to stay for Christmas, posing as Josh’s girlfriend while simultaneously chasing his ex-best friend. All of the lies come to a head at a surprise party towards the movie’s end as the characters learn lessons about embracing who you are. 

While this movie has plenty of cringe-worthy moments, they notably come at times when the audience is supposed to cringe. Furthermore, characters such as the narcissistic brother and scenes like a politically-correct rendition of “Baby it’s Cold Outside” are legitimately funny and make this a delightful watch.


Christmas With You (2022)

Hot take: While “Falling for Christmas” seems to be the headliner this year (primarily  due to Lohan), I found “Christmas With You” to be significantly more charming, unique, and enjoyable. A young teen named Cristina lives in a perfectly quaint and festive (of course) town. She wants two things this Christmas: to meet her favorite pop star (Angelina) and, for her single father to find love. As with most single dads in movies, this second wish seems totally out of the question, but amazingly, in hopes of of “connecting with her fans” Angelina decides to come meet Cristina! As luck would have it, a snowstorm leaves Angelina stranded with the family just long enough to discover that Miguel (single dad) may have the talent she needs to land number one on the record charts… just in time for Christmas, of course. Soon enough, they are singing, dancing, and preparing for a Quinceanera. All platonicly, of course.

While, yes, we have all seen the clash-of-two-worlds trope, it is usually done using the high-stakes, money-dominated business world. Seeing the entertainment industry featured instead felt like a fun spin, not to mention that the song created by Angelina and Miguel is pretty good. I also think the best friend/producer character needs a shoutout?? She was believable in her role and had a legitimate personality, unlike some best friend characters who get used as nothing but a punching bag. Overall, this movie was a 10 and represented the Latinx community. Not only was this needed, but it led to unique storylines such as preparing for the Quinceanera, an excellent (and perhaps more realistic) spin on a Christmas Eve ball.


The Noel Diary (2022)

If there is one thing I have learned from years of devouring rom-coms, it is that if you put two people in a car together for an extended period of time, they are most likely going to fall in love–especially at Christmas. So how lucky are we that this is a key component of another new movie this holiday season?! Compared to the upbeat kingdoms of Aldovia and Belgravia (and even the quaint villages which apparently dot the northeast) this movie has some darker undertones as it revolves around the death of, and estrangement from, multiple parents. After missing the funeral, Jacob Turner returns to his mother’s home to take care of the estate and is soon approached by a stranger, Rachel, looking for her biological mother. Supposedly Rachel’s mother worked for Jacob’s family for years and saw Jacob as something like her own child… and yet Jacob cannot even remember her name. I found this to be a bit of a stretch, but necessary in order to incite said car ride.

While oozing with potential, the movie is full of loose ends. Driving issues are wrapped up by implications and most major plot points occur through montages. Nothing at all against a good montage (and these are still enjoyable), but in order to shine they require dialogue and conflict to exist around them. Also, fun fact: Jacob is a famous author. While a potentially intriguing plot point, it has seemingly impacted his personality in exactly zero ways and is similarly impactful of the story. 


Christmas Inheritance (2017)

Meet Jake: A kind-hearted, home-town loving inn owner who has been through the wringer after getting divorced while ‘Silent Night’ played in the background. Also, he is an artist (who designs ice sculptures) and hates New York City. Ellen is the heir to a multi-million dollar company. She is headed to Snow Falls (where Jake lives) on a mission to deliver a Christmas card (apparently critical for the company’s success) and return to New York before Christmas… and her fiance’s work party. That is right. She has a fiance. Good thing, too, because Jake is clearly all wrong for her, despite a meet-cute in which he runs over her suitcase with his car. That will not stop them from being friends, though! From random hobbies, dueling lovers and mysterious old men, this movie has it all, including being snowed in in Snow Falls. Who could have seen that coming?!


The Holiday Calendar (2018)

Of course, I saved the best for last. Seriously. If you watch one Netflix original this season, have it be this one. It is too good. Abby dreams of being a photographer but instead is stuck playing a Christmas elf for the holidays. As December begins, she is gifted an antique advent calendar by her grandfather. While it is just a calendar, she cannot help but notice that it  begins to predict her future. For real, these coincidences are too good to be true (Seeing a Christmas tree (in December) on the very same day the calendar gives you a Christmas tree?? It is too much to handle, I’m telling you). Furthermore, as the month continues, she seems to be guided toward a suave single dad (the hottest catch at elementary school pick-up). Hold up. Who is that over there? Oh, it is HER CHILDHOOD BESTIE BACK FROM TRAVELING THE WORLD AND READY TO PUT DOWN ROOTS. No. Way. He is more attractive than ever too.

Due to the nature of the advent calendar, this movie allows you to live through a long holiday season and enjoy a montage or two. The movie is just ridiculous enough to laugh at yet intriguing enough to keep watching and rooting for the happy ending, effectively achieving all of the Christmas/rom-com feels.