Christmas is right around the corner, as the stores full of decorations will attest to, so it's not too early to curl up with a hot chocolate and watch a warm and fuzzy festive film.
Every year, a new batch of holiday hits land on UAE streaming services, and 2021 is no exception to the rule. This year, Netflix has a bumper crop of flicks to choose from, featuring a host of Hollywood heavyweights, including Maggie Smith, Nina Dobrev, Vanessa Hudgens, Brooke Shields, Kristen Wiig and Jennifer Coolidge.
Here we round up all the new Christmas films for 2021, and collect the classics from years gone by that you can also catch on various UAE streaming sites, including Amazon Prime and OSN Streaming.
'Love Hard', Netflix
Release date: November 5
Starring: Nina Dobrev, Jimmy O Yang, Darren Barnet, Harry Shum Jr
A Los Angeles girl, unlucky in love, falls for an east coast guy on a dating app and decides to surprise him for Christmas, only to discover that she’s been catfished. This light-hearted romantic comedy chronicles her attempt to reel in love.
'The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star', Netflix
Release date: November 18
Starring: Vanessa Hudgens, Nick Sagar, Remy Hii
The third instalment of The Princess Switch is here. The film starring Vanessa Hudgens has become a modern festive fixture. This time around, when a priceless relic is stolen, Queen Margaret and Princess Stacy (Hudgens) enlist the help of Margaret's cousin Fiona (also Hudgens), who teams with a man from her past to retrieve it. Naturally, you can expect a touch of romance, which results in an unexpected switch.
'A Castle for Christmas', Netflix
Release date: November 26
Starring: Cary Elwes, Brooke Shields, Vanessa Grasse
If you're a fan of Made of Honour, this is the Christmas film for you. To escape a scandal, bestselling author Sophie Brown (Shields) travels to Scotland, where she falls in love with a castle, which she tries to buy, and falls for the grumpy duke (Elwes) who owns it in the process.
'A Boy Called Christmas', Netflix
Release date: November 26
Starring: Maggie Smith, Kristen Wiig, Henry Lawfull, Jim Broadbent
Oh, what a cast! Netflix's high-budget Christmas offering for 2021 tells the story of Nikolas, who 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, Miika (Stephen Merchant), Nikolas soon meets his destiny in this magical story that proves nothing is impossible. The film is based on Matt Haig's novel of the same name.
'Single All The Way', Netflix
Release date: December 2
Starring: Jennifer Coolidge, Kathy Najimy, Michael Urie
Desperate to avoid his family’s judgment about his perpetual single status, Peter (Urie) convinces his best friend Nick (Philemon Chambers) to join him for the holidays and pretend that they're now in a relationship. But when Peter’s mother (Najimy) sets him up on a blind date with her personal trainer, the plan goes awry.
Christmas films from years gone by that you can find on UAE streaming sites:
Starring: Emma Roberts, Luke Bracey and Kristin Chenoweth
Strangers Sloane (Roberts) and Jackson (Bracey) share one thing in common – they both hate being single during the holidays … any holidays!
Fed up with their families constantly asking when they’re going to settle down and get a partner, after they meet by accident, the pair hatch a plan to pretend to be a couple for every holiday season throughout the year. Bet you can’t guess what happens?
‘Elf’, Amazon Prime
Starring: Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel and James Caan
When little orphan baby, Buddy, crawls into Santa’s sack one Christmas Eve, he gets taken back to Lapland and raised among the elves. However, it’s soon pretty clear Buddy’s not one of them, given that he’s about three feet taller for starters.
So, he heads to New York in search of his real father, armed only with his elf-ish naivety and unshakeable belief in Christmas. Guaranteed you'll be laughing at the "Santa's coming!" freak out scene for years to come.
‘Operation Christmas Drop’, Netflix
Starring: Kat Graham, Alexander Ludwig and Virginia Madsen
Vampire Diaries star, Kat Graham swaps the supernatural goings-on in Mystic Falls for a US Air force base, starring as a congressional aide, Erica Miller.
She's sent to the base, which just so happens to be on an island by her boss, Congresswoman Angie Bradford (Madsen), Erica has secretly been assigned the trip to earmark the base for closure.
Having to forgo her Christmas for work, pretty soon she’s clashing with Air force hottie, Captain Andrew Jantz (Ludwig) who has suspicions about her visit.
‘It's A Wonderful Life’, Amazon Prime
Starring: James Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore
One of the most famous (and famously tear-jerking) Christmas movies of all time is available on the streamer. Starring Stewart as George Bailey, we meet the savings and loan clerk on Christmas Eve as he contemplates ending it all amid money and life struggles.
Luckily, an angel, Clarence (Henry Travers) is sent down to earth to show George what would have happened to the people of his home town of Bedford Falls, had George never existed to carry out the good deeds he is so loved for.
Watch this, and you’ll know what happens every time a bell rings. I’m not crying, you are!
‘Arthur Christmas’, Amazon Prime
Starring: James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent and Bill Nighy
With a stellar A-list cast providing the voices, including Hugh Laurie, Imelda Staunton, Eva Longoria and Sanjeev Bhaskar, this hilarious animation follows Santa as he makes his annual Christmas Eve round. But this isn't the Santa from the storybooks. Christmas has become a big, corporate operation involving a spaceship-style sleigh and technology that Apple would kill for.
However, when one little girl in England doesn’t get her present, Santa’s son Arthur, fires up the old-school sleigh and gets his jingle on to ensure no child is left gift-less.
‘The Princess Switch: Switched Again’, Netflix
Starring: Vanessa Hudgens, Nick Sagar and Lachlan Nieboer
Fans of 2018's sweetly entertaining The Princess Switch will be thrilled to see Hudgens back, doing double duty as both down-to-earth Chicago girl, Stacy De Novo, and the heir to the throne of Montanero, Lady Margaret Delacourt.
In this sequel, Lady Margaret inherits the throne, but her relationship with Kevin hits the skids, and once again it’s Stacy to the rescue.
– This article was first published on November 3, 2020