Below are 6 acclaimed family Christmas movies currently available on Netflix. I have only included films that received a positive Rotten Tomatoes rating from both critics and audiences. I expected to find a slew of movies to recommend, but there were shockingly few choices that fit these criteria – and some of them that did will be leaving Netflix soon as of this writing. So, consider these the current creme de la creme of family movies on Netflix.
Why Are There So Few Movies on This List
As I mentioned in the introduction, there were shockingly few films I found that had positive feedback from both audiences and critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Why do you think that is? I have a couple of theories.
While everyone wants to have a good time at the movies, I think critics and audiences are looking for different things.
Critics, in general, are more apt to be affected by quality of performance, the success of the screenplay and characteristics the average viewer may take for granted, such as the cinematography, production design and music. As someone who has reviewed movies for a number of years, I find myself often disliking films that seem to be general consensus favorites.
I think the average audience member cares more about how a movie makes you feel than the success of the craftsmanship involved. A motion picture with a happy ending that leaves you with a smile on your face and a warm heart will more likely be forgiven for its shortcomings.
And let’s face it – a happy ending in a holiday movie is almost a requirement. No one wants to leave a movie feeling down during Christmastime.
Top 6 Family Christmas Movies on Netflix
So, I now give you the 6 Netflix Christmas movies I found that are family-friendly and have positive scores from both critics and audiences on Rotten Tomatoes. I have also embedded trailers for each of them so you can get a preview before sitting down to watch the movie.
I will also give you my personal thoughts on the movies included that I have had the chance to see. As usual, I have listed the movies in alphabetical order.
Keep in mind that Rotten Tomatoes scores are subjective. Some are based on dozens and dozens of reviews; others by just a few. Divisive films are more likely to have lower ratings than those middle-of-the-road films pretty much everyone likes if not loves.
1) ALIEN XMAS (2020)
FEATURING THE VOICES OF: Keythe Farley, Dee Bradley Baker, Kaliayh Rhambo, Michelle Deco and Barbara Goodson.
PLOT: Based on the 2006 book by Stephen Chiodo and Jim Strain, when extraterrestrials attempt to steal Earth’s gravity, only the gift-giving spirit of Christmas – and a small Alien named X – can save the world.
ROTTEN TOMATOES CRITIC RATING: 100% (based on 7 reviews)
ROTTEN TOMATOES AUDIENCE RATING: 68% (based on 50+ ratings)
NOTE: This is actually a 42-minute special rather than a full-length feature.
2) A BOY CALLED CHRISTMAS (2021)
STARRING: Henry Lawfull, Maggie Smith and Kristen Wiig
PLOT: An ordinary young boy called Nikolas sets out on an adventure into the snowy north in search of his father who is on a quest to discover the fabled village of the elves, Elfhelm. Taking with him a headstrong reindeer called Blitzen and a loyal pet mouse, Nikolas soon meets his destiny.
ROTTEN TOMATOES CRITIC RATING: 84% (based on 31 reviews)
ROTTEN TOMATOES AUDIENCE RATING: 61% (based on 250+ ratings)
3) THE CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES (2018)
STARRING: Kurt Russell, Darby Camp and Judah Lewis
PLOT: 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.
ROTTEN TOMATOES CRITIC RATING: 68% (based on 62 reviews)
ROTTEN TOMATOES AUDIENCE RATING: 76% (based on 1,000+ ratings)
MY THOUGHTS: This was an enjoyable albeit frustrating experience because, with a couple little tweaks and some editing, this could have been awesome. Russell excels in his modern take on Santa. Camp and Lewis are likable protagonists, and their rapport with Russell feels genuine. The scenes showing Santa going from house to house so quickly are clever.
However, I was not personally fond of the elves in this movie. One particular scene in which an elf is charging between the legs of a male character while brandishing a chainsaw feels totally out of place and completely unnecessary. The family plot involving the deceased dad and overworked mom feels overly familiar, and 15 minutes off the running time would have helped the flow.
4) CHRISTMAS WITH YOU (2022)
STARRING: Aimee Garcia, Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Deja Monique Cruz
PLOT: Angelina, a pop star, escapes from her daily life to grant a young fan’s wish in small-town New York, where she not only finds the inspiration to revitalize her career but also a shot at true love.
ROTTEN TOMATOES CRITIC RATING: 65% (based on 17 reviews)
ROTTEN TOMATOES AUDIENCE RATING: 60% (based on 100+ ratings)
MY THOUGHTS: I have to be honest – I totally forgot about the existence of this movie until I was doing research for this article. I was not able to find any evidence that I even bothered doing a review. I vaguely remember thinking it was cute and that Garcia was appealing, but I have no specific recollections. Which could be a good thing (it wasn’t memorably awful) or a bad thing (t wasn’t memorably wonderful).
5) JINGLE JANGLE: A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY (2020)
STARRING: Madelin Mills, Forest Whitaker and Keegan-Michael Key
PLOT: Decades after being betrayed by his apprentice, a once joyful toy maker finds new hope when his bright young granddaughter arrives on his doorstep.
ROTTEN TOMATOES CRITIC RATING: 90% (based on 77 reviews)
ROTTEN TOMATOES AUDIENCE RATING: 70% (based on 500+ ratings)
6) KLAUS (2019)
FEATURING THE VOICES OF: Jason Schwartzman, Norm McDonald, J.K. Simmons, Rashida Jones and Joan Cusack
PLOT: After proving himself to be the worst student at the academy, a postman is sent to a frozen town in the North where he discovers a reclusive toymaker named Klaus.
ROTTEN TOMATOES CRITIC RATING: 95% (based on 78 reviews)
ROTTEN TOMATOES AUDIENCE RATING: 96% (based on 2,500+ ratings)
Have you seen any of these family-friendly Christmas movies? If so, please share your thoughts below. And let us know if you come across any other titles on Netflix that you think belong on such a list.
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