15 best Christmas movies and TV shows on Netflix

It’s nearly Christmas and yet you are completely without festive cheer. Don’t worry, it’s not because you are dead inside, it’s just that you haven’t yet begun watching Christmas movies!

Well, help is at hand. We have trawled through the Netflix archives and found the best Christmas movies and TV shows on Netflix – completely updated to make sure there’s no turkeys on the list.

We haven’t just compiled the movies that will get you in the spirit, but also ones that use the theme of Christmas in interesting ways – whether it’s a couple of slasher flicks or an indie rom-com.

We have also added in the TV specials that are the creme of the Christmas crop – including last year’s A Very Murray Christmas which stars Bill Murray. We’re guessing the title Netflix And Bill didn’t make the cut…

A Very Murray Christmas is a concept that seems to good to be true. It’s a variety show exclusive to Netflix that’s hosted by the brilliantly barmy Bill Murray. The premise is slight: Murray is set to host a live Christmas special but New York is snowed in and the audience doesn’t turn up. This doesn’t stop him trying to put on the show of his life, which ends in a heady mix of comedy and singalong tunes. It’s not perfect but it’s got enough charm to whip up the Festive spirit in even the Scroogiest of Scrooges.

With a stellar voice line-up (James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent and Hugh Laurie are just a few A listers who lend their dulcet tones), great animation and a Christmas feel-good story that doesn’t suck, Arthur Christmas ticks all the right boxes for a Christmas movie. 

Plot-wise, Santa has missed off someone on his list so it’s down to his goofy son to deliver the goods. Cue 97 minutes of mishap and mayhem, the kind Aardman Animations do best.

Black Mirror has been given a new lease of life on Netflix, thanks to a new six-episode series that mines the latest technology trends for nightmare scenarios. This feature-length episode was released in 2014 and stars John Hamm and Rafe Spall. The episode consisted of three mini stories that combined to unleash  all manner of psychological terror that just so happens to occur over the Christmas period. 

There’s some nice references to previous Black Mirror episodes, which makes this special even more mind-bending, given its one episode of a show that consists of the three mini stories that each hint at other Black Mirror stories within their storytelling. Our heads hurt just thinking about it.

This one-off episode of the brilliantly British Blackadder sees the entire cast of the show ported into a grotesque Dickensian world. Rowan Atkinson plays Ebenezer Blackadder, owner of a moustache shop who, spinning the tale on its head, is someone who is nice to everyone. This soon changes when a ghost shows him the world where bad guys have all the fun and turns Blackadder into a horrible person.

Bojack goes meta in this Christmas special, which centres around BoJack and Todd watching a Christmas edition of Horsin Around, the show BoJack used to star in. It’s best to catch up with this brilliant cartoon before delving into this Christmas special, although it does stand up well on its own as a perfect sendup of all those cheesy ’80s sitcoms.

Let’s get this out of the way: Die Hard is a Christmas movie. It’s set over the festive period and while it doesn’t exactly eschew festive spirit, it does have Xmas tunes and a whole subplot that’s about making sure families are together for Christmas. Oh, and it also has some great action sequences and Bruce Willis in his absolute prime. Yippee-ki yay indeed.

The Christmas movie gets an indie makeover with Happy Christmas. Directed by Joe Swanberg and starring Anna Kendrick, Lena Dunham and Melanie Lynskey, the festive season is a backdrop to a story that focuses on Jenny (Kendrick) moving in with her older brother after a bad breakup. If you like your Christmas flicks to be a lot more real – booze is drunk, arguments are had, flirtations with pot dealers and plentiful – then Happy Christmas is for you.

Who’d of thought that the ultimate feel-good Christmas movie would come from a film that is about a boy who is left alone at Christmas, but Home Alone is the perfect Christmas movie. Why? Well, underneath all the japes and hi-jinx Kevin McCallister gets up to being alone and defending his home from robbers all he actually wants is his family back. Even Uncle Frank, his Father Christmas has time. Brilliant.

Little known fact for you: Jingle All The Way stars both the Terminator and Darth Vader. Well, Jake Lloyd who played the young Anakin in the Phantom Menace but, hey, it’s a fact that stops me writing about Jingle All The Way. That’s the thing with this movie – it’s pretty bad. Like, really bad. But if you put it on, you can’t help but watch it. Arnie is a bad dad that needs to buy his son a Turbo-Man toy to satiate his guilt that he never sees his family. But a man called Sinbad gets in his way.

Now 20 years old, this Alan Partridge special is worth it for possibly the funniest ever Christmas TV moment. We won’t give it away but it features a giant flaming cracker that’s “five foot high, the height of a large cow, and 23 ft long. That’s about the length of a small Chinese restaurant.” Wonderful stuff.

This is what happens when you lack festive spirit at Christmas – it unleashes Krampus, a demon antithesis to Saint Nic that punishes non believers into a pulp. 

Although the folklore of Krampus is centuries old, this is a fun version of the tale that starts off like any warring family movie and turns into something a whole lot sinister. Parks and Rec’s Adam Scott is great as Tom, who is trying to save his family from being torn apart.

Not just a clever title, actually it pretty much is just a clever title but The Santa Clause is definitely one of the more watchable movies that riffs off the Santa mythos. Tim Allen in his movie debut plays a divorced adman for a toy company who takes on the role of Santa when the gift bearer dies on his roof. The high-concept idea doesn’t always work but Allen has enough schtick to make the movie watchable. And anything with ’80s stalwart Judge Reinhold is alright by us.

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has been subject to many a film interpretation but Scrooged is one of the best. Set in the ’80s where greed and opulence was rife, Bill Murray plays a cynical TV executive who is haunted by three ghosts. Murray’s laconic humour steals the show, while Richard Donner’s direction breathes life into the age-old tale.

When it was first released in 1984, Silent Night, Deadly Night caused a boatload of controversy as it was a film that sullied the idea of Christmas. This was because the movie, which centres on a killer who dons a Santa Suit to murder his victims, was released around the Christmas period. This created the ultimate PR storm that resulted in angry families picketing the movie and it getting pulled from cinemas. While this splatter movie doesn’t warrant all the furore surrounding its original release, it’s a decent watch for those who want to turn all this Christmas cheer into jeer.

Now, we would have like to have put It’s A Wonderful Life in here – that Christmas movies that pummels your emotions all the way up to its beautiful finale. But due to Netflix’s short-term rights issues, it fell off Netflix sometime earlier in the year. So, instead here’s Fireplace 4K – a loop of a log fire burning bright in glorious 4K, the perfect accompaniment to any tech-savvy house this Christmas.