Looking for something to get you in that Christmas mood? Got Netflix? Then you’re in luck, because the streaming service is well-stocked with seasonally-themed movies and TV specials alike.
Whether you’re looking for Yule LOLs, winter chills or family-friendly festive fun, there’s something for you in our list. So grab a mince pie and some egg nog, fire up the telly and get ready to stream.
Additional words by Stephen Graves
Charles Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol is made all the more entertaining by the zaniness of Bill Murray's character Frank – an egotistical and sardonic television producer who thinks it a good idea to staple antlers to a mouse.
Frank must go through his redemption with the crude, cigar-smoking Ghost of Christmas Past, the hyper-active, ball-busting ghost of Christmas Present and the ominously creepy Ghost of Christmas Future. The nutcase from Police Academy running around is the cherry on top of this well iced Christmas cake.
Created by the talented folks at Aardman Animations, Arthur Christmas is an animated Christmas spectacular that pops from the screen.
It follows the titular Arthur Christmas – unsurprisingly – in his quest to save Christmas after a prezzie goes undelivered. Cue a heart-warming comedy that kids and adults alike will appreciate.
Knowing Me, Knowing Yule
For those unacquainted with Alan Partridge’s earlier TV forays, Knowing Me, Knowing Yule – a special extended Christmas edition of his ill-fated talkshow – is well worth a trip back into the 1990s.
Set inside a studio mock up of the presenter’s actual Norwich home, the show starts off well enough, but in true Partridge fashion things quickly deteriorate as he insults and offends guests, embroils himself in a product placement scandal and threatens to start a fire with an oversized Christmas cracker. When the icing on the cake is a live performance of “Ding Dong, Merrily On High” by Mick Hucknall, you know it’s going to be a memorable evening.
For many, an annual screening of Home Alone is as much a Christmas tradition as munching mince pies, wrapping presents and singing carols (badly). So there’s something seasonally reassuring about the presence on Netflix of Kevin McCallister and his one-boy war against a pair of idiotic burglars.
For all its slapstick action and memorable lines of dialogue, we think it’s Home Alone’s depiction of Christmas and family that makes it such an enduring Yuletide classic. But maybe we’re just soppy like that.
The Royle Family Christmas Special 2000
There have been several Christmas-themed episodes of The Royle Family - at one point it was practically a yearly tradition in itself - and this is actually the second (a later special is also on Netflix). It contains all the best stuff we've come to associate with Craig Cash and the late Caroline Aherne's long-running sitcom, in which we're both encouraged to laugh at and with a working class, TV-obsessed Manchester family.
While some might regard the fun-poking as cruel, there's no doubting the genuine warmth with which Cash and Aherne observe family life's trials and tribulations - and never is it warmer than in these festive episodes.
Jingle All the Way
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s more family-friendly fare is not exactly well-regarded by film fans, and Jingle All the Way is certainly no Citizen Kane even within that small and very particular niche.
And yet there’s something to be said for its light satire on commercialism – as well as its abundance of holiday-specific cheer – that makes it worth a watch this year.
White Christmas (Black Mirror)
Black Mirror's 2014 seasonal special certainly deserves a spot here. In a departure from the series' regular episodes, it consists of three separate tales - all weaving together to form an overall uber-story starring Rafe Spall and Mad Men's Jon Hamm.
If you're familiar with and a fan of Black Mirror's "technology is actually bad" theme, you'll find plenty of that to feast on here, as it takes aim at augmented reality (and its potential uses for pick-up artists), smart home gadgets, digital copies of human consciousness and the ability to "block" people in real life. Merry Christmas, tech fans!
Bruce Willis at his best in a vest, wading about knee-deep in dead terrorists. Nakatomi Plaza didn’t know what hit it when – full of bad guys – it got between John McClane and his family Christmas dinner.
C4 explosives, Steyr machine guns and a rocket launcher later, a sequel was inevitable. Plus Run D.M.C’s Christmas In Hollis brought the streetwise Ho, Ho, Ho to this all-time action great.
Silent Night, Deadly Night
There's nothing holy about this slasher film. It’s about an axe-wielding Santa – so it's definitely not one for the kids. But it does put a completely different spin on what Santa does to the badly behaved. Kind of.
It's more to do with the psychological effects of witnessing your parents getting hacked to death by a man posing as Santa. But it does involve skewering a girl on the antlers of a mounted antelope head. Ouch.
The Office (UK) Christmas Special
This final two-part tranche of the UK Office, originally screened a year after the end of the second series, revisited beloved characters (and yes, it’s possible to love David Brent and Gareth Keenan) and gave a satisfying and appropriately funny send-off to one of the finest UK sitcoms of the last 20 years.
The mockumentary format seems well-worn by now, and it probably was back in 2003, but the awkwardness and unintended humour it engenders still works brilliantly. So do yourself a favour and take a trip down memory lane with the Wernham Hogg team.