Finding a movie with the word “Christmas” in the title on Netflix is easy. You have your 12 Dogs of Christmas, Christmas In Compton, Country Christmas, Christmas Cupid, Christmas Town, and dozens of other movies you’ve never heard of. Now, finding a Christmas movie that you can actually sit through without wanting to drown yourself in egg nog, that’s a little trickier.
There are some solid Christmas movies available for streaming on Netflix, but there’s also some noticeable absentees that were there just a month or two ago. Why Netflix chose to torture its users and remove National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation just before the holiday season is a mystery, but it’s the reality we’re living in. Fortunately, there’s a number of substitutes ready to fill the Griswold void.
1. The Muppet Christmas Carol — 4.3 stars out of 128,841 ratings
I’ve never read A Christmas Carol, but I have seen the Muppet version at least a half-dozen times. Sorry, Charles Dickens, but Gonzo and Rizzo the rat are much more charismatic storytellers. It’s probably one of the Muppets’ strongest movies, delivering both humor and heart, and you won’t find a better actor to slip into the role of Ebenezer Scrooge than Michael Caine. All in all, it’s a safe bet that the entire family will enjoy. Rotten Tomatoes 86, IMDB 7.7
2. White Christmas — 4.2 stars out of 733,297 ratings
Bing Crosby’s croon sounds even better this time of year and White Christmas has been a holiday staple for 60 years now. If there’s any film that’s a certified Christmas classic, it’s this romantic musical comedy and Clark Griswold favorite — with a score by Irving Berlin — about a pair of soldiers teaming up with two sisters to save a picturesque Vermont inn. Rotten Tomatoes 89, IMDB 7.6
3. The Nightmare Before Christmas — 3.9 stars out of 6,489,244 ratings
Few movies work equally well at Halloween and Christmas, and sure, Nightmare might lean more towards the creepy side, but that’s to be expected from a Tim Burton movie. If you missed the story about Jack Skeleton’s plot to kidnap Santa Claus and bring some joy to Halloweentown back in October, now’s your chance to revisit the stop-motion animation masterpiece. Rotten Tomatoes 91, IMDB 8.1
4. Scrooged — 3.9 stars out of 701,580 ratings
Scrooged might be the freshest cinematic take on Charles Dickens’ classic, and if you like your Christmas movies a little on the weird side, you really can’t go wrong here. Bill Murray is in top form as Frank Cross, a cynical and money-driven TV executive that’s trying to put together a televised production of Ebenezer Scrooge in between being visited by his own Christmas specters. The movie came out 26 years ago, but the mentality of Frank Cross seems more relevant than ever thanks to today’s one-dimensional reality TV programming. Rotten Tomatoes 72, IMDB 7.0
5. Love Actually — 3.8 stars out of 4,418,453 ratings
There’s Love Actually and then there’s every other cheesy Hallmark Channel rom-com that’s trying to be Love Actually. The intertwining stories of more than a dozen Londoners finding their way into each other’s lives over the holidays boast an all-star cast of Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, and a pre-zombie-splattering Andrew Lincoln. If you put the movie on for some background entertainment while the family’s over, don’t forget that it does have its fair share of nudity. So just be ready to check your cell phone or something when that awkwardness hits the room. Rotten Tomatoes 73, IMDB 7.7
6. Ernest Saves Christmas — 3.8 stars out of 132,189 ratings
The 12-year-old me was excited to see that Ernest is now streaming on Netflix, but adult me is kind of surprised he ranks this high. This was the second theatrical release in the Ernest franchise, and while it’s not quite as good as his camp outing, Jim Varney does bring some incredibly goofy gags to this yarn about Ernest’s attempt to help a runaway girl and convince a kind-hearted children’s TV host he’s the next Santa Claus. If you enjoyed it as a kid, you’ll probably still get a nostalgic kick out of watching it. Know what I mean, Vern? Rotten Tomatoes 41, IMDB 5.4