Christmas Films

List Of The Best Christmas Films And Television Specials of All Time

Tis’ the season to indulge in the Christmas spirit through the magic of the holiday season through your screen. Be it the enchantment of Christmas films that ignite cheer and hope. The incantation of Christmas television specials cast on us. Christmas films and television specials are those special gifts that hold a special place in our hearts. Christmas movies, depending on your stomach for kindness and goodwill, are the bastions of holiday pop culture.

The holiday special is a venerated yearly tradition that has gone through more changes than Scrooge himself. What’s your pick? Is it a song and dance spectacular? A heartwarming fable? Short answer: You can have them all.

The holiday special occupies a singular space in pop culture. Specifically, inviting collective nostalgia and repeated viewings. Even new holiday specials have the sweetly musty air of something from another time. As time and television schedules seem to move at an ever-increasing clip, the holiday special is a welcome respite, giving us anachronistic hours that can inspire the warm fuzzies in even the coldest heart.

The 10 treats below represent the classics, the new favourites, and a bit of the quirky fringe films and television specials. As the shoehorn into the holiday just because we like ’em so dang much. Nothing goes better with a mug of hot chocolate or mulled wine. Who doesn’t enjoy a story set to the jingle jangle of Christmas bells? And even if you’re a non-conformist who doesn’t love Christmas and the holidays as much as everyone else, there’s something in here for you, too.

So grab whatever gets you in the spirit and settle in. These are the 10 best Christmas films and television specials that will keep you warm while the sun hides out on the opposite side of the world.

The Princess Switch, The Princess Switch 2: Switched Again and The Princess Switch: Romancing the Star

Photos: Wikipedia / Imdb  / Imdb

In 2018, Vanessa Hudgens made her Netflix Christmas debut with The Princess Switch. This is the streaming giant’s foray into Hallmark holiday fare. That would mark a new era for the star and the genre. Whereas we can say that the long story short, Hudgens plays double duty as a princess. And a normal Chicago baker who’s given up on love. And it was a hit. Consequently, this film ushered in the Netflix Original Christmas Movie Cinematic Universe. Specifically, in which Hudgens met a Christmas knight and also returned for a Princess Switch sequel.

That is not all. While the delightful Vanessa returns again as Stacy( the baker), Margret( Princess of Monteraro) and Fiona( Margret’s feisty cousin) in The Princess Switch: Romancing the Star, which premiered on November 18, 2021, on Netflix. Furthermore, Fiona enlists her ex-boyfriend, Peter Maxwell( Remy Hill). Whereas Peter is an expert in the art of espionage. He helps her recover the stolen artefact in The Princess Switch 3. The details of Fiona and Peter’s break-up aren’t really covered, but it soon becomes clear they have unfinished business in the movie.

Last Christmas ( 2019)

Last Christmas Film Poster
Last Christmas/ Photo: IMDB

The Netflix film starring Emilia Clarke of Game of Thrones fame as Kate. Specifically, she plays an elf who works at an all-year-round Christmas shop. Kate works for Santa, played by Michelle Yeoh of Crazy Rich Asians and Shang Chi fame. The romantic comedy plays into the Christmas cheer with its decorations and trinkets in the background.

But an unexpected turn of events reveals that the cherry stranger, Tom ( Henry Golding of Crazy Rich Asians fame). Specifically, it gives the audience a shock as he gives his heart to Kate, quite literally. Find out how by watching the film Netflix if you enjoy acerbic fun. Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding are the appealing stars of a fairy-tale London romantic comedy that’s very precious.

Even more so, as the title takes its name from Wham’s melancholy 1986 ditty. Specifically, which took on a new level of poignancy when the singer passed away on December 25th, 2016. After Emma Thompson was approached with an offer to pen a script based on the song. The British screen icon, her collaborator/husband Greg Wise and her cowriter Bryony Kimmings instead conceived a Christmas movie that borrowed heavily from his music. Not only this, but Emma Thompson also plays Kate’s mother in the film and delights the audience with her Yugoslavic accent.

A Christmas Prince Trilogy

Photos: IMDB / WikipediaIMDB

A Christmas Prince was one of Netflix’s first forays into the Christmas genre, and upon first glance, it’s full-on Christmas garbage. But if you really sit back and let go of the fact that you can call literally every twist and turn, then you come to realize that A Christmas Prince is actually the perfect Christmas movie. Most importantly, there’s no plot to follow or anything: it’s just full-on Christmas spirit. It is bottled in the story of a journalist and a rogue prince in a country that isn’t even real.

Specifically, the trilogy of the Christmas Prince is a series of films that focuses on the love story of two people, worlds apart; King Robert and journalist Amber Moore. In “A Christmas Prince”, the king’s sister needs a tutor. In an effort to get an exclusive story, Amber lies about her identity and intent before entering the kingdom. As they become closer, Robert begins to fall in love with Amber. But how will he react when he discovers who she really is?

Whereas “A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding” travels further into the future. With Amber juggling organizing a Christmas fairy-tale wedding while helping Aldovia modernise by helping its people. Furthermore,  ” ” A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby” forays into the arrival of Amber and Robert’s first child as we continue to follow them on their journey together available to watch on Netflix.

Home Alone Classics

Photos: IMDB / IMDB

Only one film can claim that title, and that film is Home Alone, which is undoubtedly and without question the Best Christmas Movie of All Time. There might be space for a debate as to whether Home Alone 2: Lost In New York deserves the prestigious label but, really, with Home Alone being the original article, I think it’s only right that we let it stand as a number one.

There’s a chance that this might be news to you, and you may be taken aback by the revelation that Home Alone is the best seasonal blockbuster ever conceived and brought to the screen. You may be hollering “I demand an explanation!” and so, duly, I’ll explain it to you. First, though, I just want you to know that Home Alone‘s optimum status does not make your personal favourite festive flick an inferior or bad film. It just means that it’s not the Best Christmas Movie of All Time. You can watch the Christmas Classic available for streaming on Disney+.

Last Holiday

Last Holiday Film Poster
Last Holiday/ Photo: Microsoft

Queen Latifah kills it (pun intended) as a terminal patient mistakenly diagnosed by a faulty MRI machine. What ensues is a woman who has always played it safe. While she takes her savings and embarked on a European vacation to meet her culinary inspiration. The problem with all of that is when you don’t have a terminal disease and spend all your money, what comes next?

“Last Holiday” is a movie that takes advantage of the great good nature and warmth of Queen Latifah. Whereas this film uses it to transform a creaky old formula into a comedy that is just plain lovable. Specifically, Latifah plays a sales clerk named Georgia Byrd. Consequently, Georgia works in a big chain store in antediluvian New Orleans, giving cooking demonstrations. Whereas at home alone in the evenings, she prepares elaborate gourmet dishes, watches TV cooking shows and trains herself to be a great chef. Then, more often than not, she eats a lonely Lean Cuisine, because she’s on a diet.

The need for dieting comes to a sudden halt when she receives bad news. Consequently, she has three or four weeks to live. Consequently, her HMO won’t cover the expensive treatment, which might not work anyway. So Georgia throws caution to the wind, cashes in her 401-K, and buys a ticket to Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic. Moreover, that’s where her hero, Chef Didier (Gerard Depardieu), rules the kitchen, and she decides to go out in style, eating everything on the menu and treating herself to all the services of the spa and the ski slopes.

You have to watch on Amazon Prime Video to find out what happens next.

Jingle All the Way

Jiggle All The Way Film Poster
Jiggle All The Way/ Photo: RottenTomatoes

Arnold Schwartzenegger plays a busy man who has continuously let his young son down, and promises. On Christmas, he will get him the Turbo-Man action figure. As it is the most coveted toy of the holiday season. But he’s not the only dad who’s made this promise, which leads to a real showdown with another father, hilariously played by Sinbad.

The Polar Express

The Polar Express Film Poster
The Polar Express/ Photo: IMDB

People who saw the behind the scenes process of this motion-captured animated hit. You might wish you could unsee the image of Tom Hanks in a bodysuit with hundreds of little dots all over him. For those who haven’t, don’t ruin the magic for yourself. Whereas this classic tale of a Christmas Eve trip to the North Pole is told in such hyper-realistic animation that you might just start to feel like you’re on the locomotive yourself.

RuPaul’s Drag Race Holi-Slay Spectacular( 2019)

RuPaul’s Drag Race: Holi-Slay Spectacular
RuPaul’s Drag Race: Holi-Slay Spectacular/ Photo: IMDB

Latrice Royale, Shangela, Kim Chi and other fan-favourite Drag Queens vie for the title in a Christmas Special. What title do you ask? The title of Drag Race Xmas Queen in this holiday special. While it is a Christmas miracle! Specifically, the VH1 film stars 20 RuPaul’s Drag Race queens. The stars include Kylie Sonique Love, Gottmik, Brooke Lynn Hytes, Peppermint, Heidi N Closet, Manila Luzon, Jan, Latrice Royale, Laganja Estranja, and more. The Drag Queens sway in unison to bring the  Christmas cheer in their sparkly outfits as they have come to slay.

Friends, “The One With the Holiday Armadillo”

A scene from the Friends Episode” The One With the Holiday Armadillo starring Courtney Cox(Monica), David Schwimmer( Ross) with his son, Ben
A scene from the Friends episode ” The One With the Holiday Armadillo, starring Courtney Cox(Monica), David Schwimmer( Ross) with his son, Ben( Cole Sprouse) / Photo: Tell-TaleTV

Specifically, the Friends Christmas episodes might not be *quite* as iconic. Like the show’s Thanksgiving episode, but Ross’s Weird Turtle Man. My bad— er, Holiday Armadillo — will always hold a special place in our hearts. The NBC hit’s seventh season gave us the show’s first and only Chanukkah episode, aka Christmas Special. Ross Geller (David Schwimmer) did his best to combine Christmas and Hanukkah for his son Ben (Cole Sprouse) – all while dressed up as a placental mammal with a leathery armour shell. Watch Now on Netflix

This Is Us, “Last Christmas”

Randall played by Sterling K. Brown putting the kids to school
Randall played by Sterling K. Brown putting the kids to school/ Photo: Pinterest

Word to the wise: Don’t watch this holiday episode or Christmas Special of your favourite NBC drama without a box of tissues nearby. (But you wouldn’t expect anything less than a whole bunch of emotional twists and turns from This Is Us, would you?)

“Last Christmas” serves as the This Is Us fall finale, so it’s fitting that my feelings about this specific episode are more or less the same as my feelings about the series as a whole: The parts are greater than the sum. Don’t get me wrong, I look forward to my weekly visits with the Pearson clan — we laugh! We cry! We talk about hats! — but I’m still waiting to fall head over heels in love. Most days, I think I’m only one more heartfelt floor chat away, but episodes like “Last Christmas” have me questioning that theory. Watch This is Us now on Hotstar for Indian audiences.

Grey’s Anatomy, “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”

Aerial View of the Christmas Tree in Meredith Grey’s House
Aerial View of the Christmas Tree in Meredith Grey’s House/ Photo: TVatemyWardrobe

Yep, even your favourite medical drama knows how to get into the Christmas spirit. With a Christmas Special that rewinds all the way back to season 2 for a show that’s not really about the holidays … but is holiday-adjacent, nonetheless.

A young boy, Justin, needs a heart transplant but doesn’t seem to want it. As a result of his treatment, Dr Burke and Cristina spar over philosophical differences — namely whether the boy’s desire to live has any impact on the result.

Meanwhile, the interns rally around Alex to help him prepare to re-take his medical boards after Meredith learns that he failed them. Initially, Izzie is furious at them for helping him, but comes around and helps him in the true spirit of the holiday. On a superficial level, she decorates the house so that it closely resembles Santa’s workshop. She loves Christmas!

Richard was pressured by his wife to spend more time at home. Miranda is pressured by her unborn son, whose kicking is making her job especially difficult. Derek is feeling depressed in spite of having reconciled with Addison and confides to her that Meredith wasn’t a fling. In the midst of her own internal struggles, Meredith tells Izzie and George how much they mean to her.

In the end, despite the hassles and gripes, the inconveniences and the hurt feelings, the surgeons and interns cling to the ones they love. Watch now on Hotstar for Indian audiences.

Black-ish, “Stuff”

Andre Johnson(Anthony Anderson) and Rainbow Johnson
Andre Johnson(Anthony Anderson) and Rainbow Johnson/ Photo: Entertainment Weekly

In this one part heartwarming, one part hilarious episode of ABC comedy Black-ish. The Johnsons try to help their kids rediscover the true meaning of Christmas (and spoiler alert: it’s not “stuff”).

“Stuff” is an emotional highlight of the series. It offers a third act as nuanced, layered, and effective as anything we’ve ever seen before. By focusing on the much-maligned Pops/Dre relationship, Black-ish‘s Christmas episode surprisingly rises to the top of this year’s batch of holiday-themed instalments.

Modern Family, “Undeck the Halls”

Hayley Dunphy( Sara Hyland), Luke Dunphy( Nolan Gould), Phil Dunphy( Ty Burell), Alex Dunphy( Ariel Winter) and Claire Dunphy( Julie Bowen)
Hayley Dunphy( Sara Hyland), Luke Dunphy( Nolan Gould), Phil Dunphy( Ty Burell), Alex Dunphy( Ariel Winter) and Claire Dunphy( Julie Bowen)/ Photo: IMDB

“Undeck the Halls” is the tenth episode and mid-season finale from Season 1 of Modern Family, it aired on December 9, 2009. Phil and Claire cancel Christmas for their kids until they confess to wrongdoings at the house. Jay is hesitant to celebrate Gloria and Manny’s holiday traditions. While Mitchell and Cameron accidentally get a mall Santa fired. This is the first Christmas episode.

Queue up the very first Modern Family Christmas episode to watch the shenanigans that unfold. When Phil and Claire threaten to “cancel” Christmas … and to marvel at how much the Dunphy kids have grown since season 1, watch now on Hotstar

Conclusion

There’s no place like home for the holidays. Get cosy and unpack a digital stocking’s worth of Christmas movies and other seasonal favourites. Let me know your favourites from the vast collection of Christmas Films and television specials in the comment section below.

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