10 Best Movies In Netflix’s Christmas Movie Universe, Ranked

Move over MCU, Netflix Christmas movies have their own shared universe now. Starting with A Christmas Prince and Christmas Inheritance in 2017, the dutiful elves at the streaming platform have been making holiday movies to rival Hallmark and Lifetime, and while they don’t deliver the same quantity (Hallmark and Lifetime released a staggering 76 new holiday movies between them in 2021), Netflix Christmas movies have the edge with innovative twists on traditional tropes, as well as decent budgets.

RELATED: The 10 Best Christmas Movies On Netflix, Ranked According To IMDb

Their interconnectedness (Movies like Holiday in the Wild can be seen on the televisions of characters in movies like The Holiday Calendar), along with their strong casts and fun storylines, ensure that these Netflix Christmas movies will become holiday favorites for some fans, though some deliver a little more Christmas magic than others.

10 Christmas Inheritance (2017)

The only thing stopping ambitious Ellen Langford from inheriting the family business is a trip to idyllic Snow Falls, where she must hand-deliver a Christmas card to her father’s old partner. A snowstorm –and a brush with romance at the town inn– may change her priorities just in time for Christmas.

The concept of the snobby big-city woman falling in love with a small-town guy and “learning the meaning of Christmas” is a cheesy Christmas trope, but this Netflix Christmas movie has a few of Santa’s tricks up its sleeve to make it a little more clever than cloying. Fans watching The Holiday Calendar will notice that Christmas Inheritance pops up on TV.

9 A Christmas Prince (2017)

Netflix's The Christmas Prince

The one that started it all, A Christmas Prince is the first movie in the Netflix Christmas movie universe and the film that has the widest influence on all the rest. It follows a hard-hitting journalist who travels to Aldovia to cover a spread on the country’s extremely eligible prince, who happens to take his love life more seriously than learning to rule his country.

The movie has a fairly standard plot, but cheesy fun and engaging performances elevate this familiar fairytale. It gets mentioned in Holiday Calendar and gets a mention in The Princess Switch, while its characters pop up in several other Netflix holiday favorites.


8 A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby (2019)

The third movie in the franchise, A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby sees Amber and Richard’s happily ever after jeopardized when a sacred treaty of truce disappears from the kingdom, threatening to place an ancient curse on their burgeoning family just as Amber is about to give birth.

This movie eschews certain tropes from the sequel (in which Amber questions her place as queen) in favor of examining Aldovian history and building on ancient traditions. This is the movie that highlights a map showing the kingdoms of Aldovia and Belgravia to be neighbors, placing significance on The Princess Switch franchise to the trajectory of A Christmas Prince in a huge way.

7 The Holiday Calendar (2018)

The Holiday Calendar catches up with two friends who have lost touch over the years but are brought together when they return to their hometown for the holidays. Abby, a photographer, discovers that an old Advent calendar she inherited might just be able to predict her Christmas wish and bring her one step closer to love.

RELATED: The 5 Most (& 5 Least) Realistic Storylines In Netflix Christmas Movies

The movie captures the special way traditions and heritage can connect generations, as well as how heirlooms given as holiday gifts provide a tether to reflect on between the past and the present. A Christmas Prince, as well as Christmas Inheritance, are both on the TV in this movie when Abby is looking for something to watch, mirroring exactly what it’s like for fans trying to decide on a holiday movie.

6 The Knight Before Christmas (2019)

Combine Kate & Leopold with A Christmas To Remember and Netflix has The Knight Before Christmas, where a true-as-tinsel knight travels 900 years into the future and lands smack dab into Vanessa Hudgens’ life. As she helps him get his holiday bearings, they share a bond as strong as King Arthur and Gwenevere.

Not only does The Knight Before Christmas feature Sir Cole watching Holiday Calendar and Holiday in the Wild, it also mentions the fictional kingdom of Aldovia from A Christmas Prince with the same acorn ornament that was so important to that movie’s plot. The medieval meet-cute is unique, and fans will be amused at Sir Cole’s child-like enthusiasm over holiday decorations and modern society in general.

5 The Princess Switch (2018)

A young baker wonders if she has what it takes to strike out on her own when she enters a baking contest in the beautiful country of Belgravia, and ends up switching places with Lady Margaret, the Duchess of Montenaro, an identical-looking woman who wants to experience the holidays without the royal headache of her official responsibilities.

RELATED: 10 BTS Things We Didn’t Know About The Princess Switch

Vanessa Hudgens is effortlessly charming as both Stacy and Lady Margaret in this reimagining of Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper. This movie is on a television set in A Christmas Prince, then actually referenced in A Christmas Prince 3, which creates an odd paradox in that the movies and characters exist for each other in the universe. Where once Aldovia was a fictional place in a movie, now it exists for the characters of The Princess Switch. 

4 The Princess Switch: Switched Again (2020)

The Princess Switch: Switched Again. Vanessa Hudgens as Stacy / Margaret / Fiona in The Princess Switch: Switched Again. Cr. Mark Mainz/NETFLIX © 2020

Vanessa Hudgens returns as both Stacy and Lady Margaret, this time without the Christmas movie trope of a royal pretending to be a regular person. Instead, they’re both royalty, with Stacy taking on the responsibilities of being Princess of Belgravia, and Lady Margaret preparing to become queen of Montenaro. Her responsibilities have caused her to break up with Kevin, forcing Stacy to hatch a plan to reunite them, all while trying to foil a plot against the Montenaro royal treasury by a third look-alike, Margaret’s cousin Lady Fiona Pembroke (also Hudgens).

The plot becomes even zanier in this sequel as another look-alike appears, but Hudgens’ fun with the part(s) is infectious. While the characters in the first movie watched A Christmas Prince on television, the king and queen of Aldovia featured in the movie make a cameo as themselves in this sequel at the coronation.

3 The Princess Switch: Romancing The Star (2021)

A promo picture for Netflix's The Princess Switch 3 - all three of Vanessa Hudgens' characters

Margaret and Stacy run into trouble when an Aldovia relic gets stolen, forcing them to turn to ex-thief Lady Fiona despite the bad blood between them all. Relying on the highly intelligent but duplicitous Fiona creates both mayhem and hilarity, but the relatives strive to work through their differences together to maintain Aldovian tradition.

Over-the-top Fiona takes center stage in The Princess Switch: Romancing the Star, and it’s hard not to think of Cruella when she dons some of her more outrageous couture. It manages to carry the same sense of fun Christmas calamity as the previous two movies, and Count Simon featured in A Christmas Prince ends up running into Fiona in this third installment, cementing this movie in the Netflix Christmas movie universe despite the interconnected plot.

2 A Castle For Christmas (2021)

Netflix A Castle for Christmas

When a best-selling author angers fans by killing off the main love interest in her new book, she heads to Scotland while the scandal dies down, exploring her family’s connection to an old castle. Once she finds out it’s for sale, she enters into a unique agreement with the obstinate lord of the manor, and through the terms of the exchange, they exchange their hearts as well.

Not only does the movie feature breath-taking views of Scotland, the scenery is as beautiful as performances by the charming Brooke Shields and Cary Elwes as they go from begrudging acquaintances to making grand romantic gestures. It’s also refreshing to see a Christmas movie focused on protagonists in their ’50s. Mrs. Donatelli and Frank from The Princess Switch check into a romantic suite at the inn, making their characters real to the characters in A Castle For Christmas. 

1 Holiday In The Wild (2019)

Krisin Davis and Rob Lowe in Holiday in the Wild

There might not be snow in Africa, but it sure feels like Christmas in this less conventional festive favorite. Holiday in the Wild sees a divorced mother leave her tumultuous life stateside to travel halfway across the world at an elephant sanctuary for her solo second honeymoon, where the animals are as dreamy as Rob Lowe in khaki.

Filled with gorgeous cinematography and surprisingly sincere performances, this movie reminds fans that cobblestone streets and snow-covered cottages aren’t Christmas prerequisites when it comes to holiday movies. Holiday in the Wild can be seen on the television in Vanessa Hudgens’ house in The Knight Before Christmas!

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