It’s peak Christmas movie season, which means lots of cheesy, pretend dating tropes, handsome princes and charming small towns.
Not all Christmas movies are rom-coms, though – some are magical family flicks that are a fun time for everyone.
Whether you’re looking for a cosy rom-com or a family adventure to settle in with after the big feed, here are seven Christmas films from 2021 to choose from.
1. The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star (Netflix)
Great connoisseurs of Christmas movies will tell you The Princess Switch is as silly, albeit irresistibly fun, as they get.
The Princess Switch introduces us to two identical strangers (both played by Vanessa Hudgens) who meet by chance at a royal baking competition in the wintery country of Belgravia.
Chicago baker Stacy DeNovo agrees to switch places with Lady Margaret Delacourt, Duchess of Montenaro, so the latter can explore Belgravia before she marries its Crown Prince Edward (Sam Palladio).
The second film in the franchise added a third identical character played by Ms Hudgens.
Australian actor Remy Hii starred in the third and latest movie, which (sadly) doesn’t feature a fourth identical character.
Why you’ll like it: It’s a silly movie and doesn’t pretend to be anything else.
2. 8-Bit Christmas (Binge)
If you’re looking for a family flick, 8-Bit Christmas has a lot of heart.
In 1980s Chicago, an 11-year-old boy named Jake Doyle (Winslow Fegley) is desperately trying to get his hands on a Nintendo entertainment system for Christmas. It’s tough considering his parents are a hard no on the subject.
Jake and his friends even hang out with a super rich and obnoxious kid just to be near one.
He needs a Christmas miracle.
In present day, adult Jake (Neil Patrick Harris) is telling this story to his young daughter, who really, really wants a phone.
He isn’t exactly a reliable narrator, but that’s the fun of it.
Why you’ll like it: This nostalgia-fuelled film has lots of heart and Patrick Harris is great in it.
3. Love Hard (Netflix)
Natalie Bauer (Nina Dobrev) is a dating columnist whose career thrives off her many dating disasters.
But that all appears to change when she matches with ‘perfect’ Josh on a dating app.
After chatting to Josh non-stop in the lead up to the silly season, Natalie decides to surprise him and his family, promising her boss that Josh will be the end to her dating woes.
Unfortunately, Natalie soon discovers that she’s been catfished by Josh (Jimmy O. Yang) who used another man’s pictures on his dating profile.
Josh promises to set up Natalie with the real man in his photos, his friend Tag (Darren Barnet), if Natalie pretends to be his fake girlfriend for Christmas.
She agrees, of course.
Why you’ll like it: If you can see past the catfishing plot, which some viewers have taken issue with, Love Hard is just like any feel-good Christmas movie.
4. Home Sweet Home Alone (Disney+)
Home Sweet Home Alone is the latest offering from the beloved Home Alone franchise.
It’s a spin-off, so don’t compare it to the originals because you won’t be doing yourself any favours.
In it, 10-year-old Max Mercer (Archie Yates) has been accidentally left behind while his family holiday in Japan for the festive season.
So when a married couple attempting to retrieve a priceless heirloom set their sights on Max’s family home, it’s up to him to protect it from the trespassers.
Why you’ll like it: As a standalone film, it’s an enjoyable one for the whole family. There are even some nods to the originals.
5. A Castle for Christmas (Netflix)
To escape some bad press, a best-selling author (Brooke Shields) journeys to Scotland, where she falls in love with the castle her father used to work at.
She even wants to buy it.
The trouble is, the grumpy duke (Cary Elwes) who owns it isn’t very obliging.
Why you’ll like it: It’s as feel-good as Christmas rom-coms get.
6. Christmas on the Farm (Stan)
Emmy Jones (Poppy Montgomery) is an Australian author based in New York whose memoir about life on a Queensland farm is picked up by massive publishers London & London for $1 million.
But the truth is, the book is actually about Emmy’s late mother Clementine.
When the publishers announce that they’re travelling to Australia for an authentic ‘Clementine’ Christmas before signing the deal, Emmy rushes home and becomes her mother, roping in her cousin David (Hugh Sheridan) and his husband Miles (Nicholas Brown) to help maintain the facade.
Emmy thinks she can pull this off until London & London CEO Ellison London (Jeanette Cronin) arrives with her son Jack (Darren McMullen), who Emmy recognises from a messy night.
If he remembers who she is, then Emmy’s ruse will be over.
Why you’ll like it: The Australian talent in this movie just makes it an even more enjoyable rom-com.
7. Single All The Way (Netflix)
Peter (Michael Urie) is tired of his family asking him about his single status every time he comes home for Christmas.
So this year, he’s super excited to bring his new boyfriend Tim … until he finds out Tim is married.
Equal parts devastated and infuriated, Peter enlists his best friend/roommate Nick (Philemon Chambers) to pose as his fake boyfriend.
But before they can announce their fake relationship, Peter’s mum Carole (Kathy Najimy) tells him that she has arranged a blind date for her son with her spinning instructor James (Luke Macfarlane).
As the pair go on a first date and a second, Nick starts to re-evaluate his feelings for Peter.
Why you’ll like it: It’s cheesy, emotional and you can guess the comforting, predictable plot from the very start. Perfect.
If these seven films aren’t enough for you or you have a soft spot for Hallmark-esque Christmas movies, you can find dozens of more festive favourites on free-to-air channels and the various streaming platforms.