Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at the 20 best holiday films of 2020, starting with our personal fave… Kristen Stewart stars in the super-cute Hulu rom-com "Happiest Season" as a young woman who discovers her longtime girlfriend, Mackenzie Davis's Harper, is still in the closet when they travel to spend Christmas with Harper's conservative family. Mary Steenburgen and Victor Garber portray Harper's extremely intense parents, while Alison Brie plays Harper's competitive older sister. The movie, which debuted on Nov. 25, has an 84% fresh rating with critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Now keep reading for more…
Real-life couple Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn share the screen as Santa and Mrs. Claus in Netflix's "The Christmas Chronicles 2," which debuted on Nov. 25. The family comedy may have received mixed reviews, but we'll watch just about anything that features one of our all-time favorite Hollywood power couples!
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Jillian Bell brings the funny as Eleanor, a trouble-prone novice fairy godmother, in the Christmas-set Disney+ flick "Godmothered," which debuted on Dec. 4. Despite lukewarm reviews, we loved everything about this charming family comedy, in which Isla Fisher stars as Eleanor's charge.
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We fell in love with Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey as two holiday-hating singles who meet at Christmas and agree to serve as each other's dates at every holiday celebration for the next year in the Netflix rom-com "Holidate," which debuted on Oct. 28.
"The Christmas House," which debuted on Nov. 22, is the first Hallmark Channel holiday film to prominently feature a same-sex couple. That alone makes it worth checking out! "Mean Girls" alum Jonathan Bennett and Brad Harder star as a married couple — Brandon and Jake — eagerly awaiting news regarding their attempts to adopt their first child. Treat Williams and Sharon Lawrence, meanwhile, star as Brandon's loving and supportive parents who invite him and his husband home for the holidays to revive their tradition of transforming their home into the titular "Christmas house."
Not be outdone, Lifetime also released its first holiday film centered around an LGBTQ romance this year! "The Christmas Setup," which debuted on Dec. 12, stars Ben Lewis as Hugo, a New York City lawyer visiting his mother (Fran Drescher) — who plays matchmaker with her son and his childhood crush, Patrick — in Milwaukee for the holidays. And here's an extra kicker: The object of Hugo's affections is played by actor Blake Lee — who's married to Ben in real life!
If "merry and bright" isn't your thing when it comes to movie-watching, check out "Fatman," which debuted on Nov. 13. Mel Gibson stars in the extremely dark action flick as jaded Chris Cringle, who's struggling to pay his bills in a modern world where children have become increasingly naughty. Further complicating matters, a rich kid from the naughty list sends a hitman played by Walton Goggins to assassinate Santa after he receives a lump of coal as his only Christmas gift.
A Christmas musical? Yes, please! Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker stars as a toymaker who teams up with his adorable granddaughter (Madalen Mills) to save the day after his former apprentice (Keegan-Michael Key) steals his greatest creation in the Netflix family film "Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey," which debuted on Nov. 13.
Shockingly, it was just this year that Lifetime released its first holiday movie featuring a cast of predominantly Asian heritage: "A Sugar & Spice Holiday" debuted on Dec. 13. Jacky Lai stars in the Christmas rom-com as Suzie, an architect who reconnects romantically with a childhood pal (Tony Giroux) when she returns home for the holidays following her grandmother's death … and follows in the late family matriarch's footsteps by entering a local gingerbread house competition.
Vanessa Hudgens returns to the dual roles of Princess Stacy De Novo Wyndham and Lady Margaret Delacourt in "The Princess Switch: Switched Again" — the Christmas-themed sequel to 2018's "The Princess Switch" — which debuted on Netflix on Nov. 19. The rom-com wasn't a huge hit with critics, but you won't want to miss the former child star as she takes on a third role — Margaret's villainous cousin Lady Fiona Pembroke — in the cute comedy.
Melissa Joan Hart directed her "A Very Merry Toy Store" and "Holiday in Handcuffs" co-star Mario Lopez in "Feliz NaviDAD," which debuted on Nov. 21. In the Lifetime holiday rom-com, the "Saved By the Bell" alum stars as a jaded widower who falls for a beautiful musician played by AnnaLynne McCord after his daughter helps him set up a dating app.
"Love, Lights, Hanukkah!" centers around Christina ("The L Word" alum Mia Kirshner), a restauranteur who learns she's of Jewish descent — and has biological family nearby — after taking a DNA test following the death of her adoptive mother. The rom-com, which debuted on Dec. 12, follows Christina as she embraces her first Hanukkah while balancing the Christmas traditions with which she was raised … and falling for a food critic played by former "Boy Meets World" star Ben Savage.
Former The CW stars Jessica Lowndes ("90210") and Chad Michael Murray ("One Tree Hill") headline the Lifetime rom-com "Too Close For Christmas," which debuted on Dec. 4. They star as a mismatched pair forced together by their siblings' union (her sister is married to his brother). The plot may be basic, but the cast makes it well worth the watch!
The IFC Films documentary "Dear Santa," which debuted on Dec. 4, chronicles the U.S. Postal Service's 100-year-old Operation Santa Program: Members of the public adopt some of the letters children send to Santa each year to help make their Christmas wishes come true. The heart-warming doc scored a 95% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Yet another first for Lifetime? The network released its first-ever sequel to one of its original holiday films this year. Kelly Rowland was back on the small screen as Jacquie Liddle as she plans her wedding to Thomas Cadrot's Tyler while dealing with her drama-prone family in "Merry Liddle Christmas Wedding," the sequel to 2019's "Merry Liddle Christmas." The comedy debuted on Nov. 28.
Hollywood gave us one notable Thanksgiving-set movie this year: "Friendsgiving," which debuted on Oct. 23. Malin Akerman and Kat Dennings star as besties whose plans for a quiet Thanksgiving are derailed when they're joined by some unexpected guests at their Turkey Day meal. Ben Stiller produced the comedy, which also features funny ladies Jane Seymour, Aisha Tyler, Chelsea Peretti, Christine Taylor, Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho and Fortune Feimster as well as Jack Donnelly, Deon Cole and Ryan Hansen.
Don't drop the ball by missing Kat Graham and Alexander Ludwig in Netflix's "Operation Christmas Drop," which debuted on Nov. 5. The former "The Vampire Diaries" star portrays a congressional aide who falls for a warm-hearted Air Force captain, played by the "Vikings" actor, while visiting his base in Guam during Christmas to determine whether or not it should be shuttered.
Tiffany Haddish produced the Lifetime holiday rom-com "Christmas Unwrapped," which debuted on Oct. 24. "Greek" alum Amber Stevens West stars as an investigative journalist who falls for her subject: a philanthropist played by Marco Grazzini who gives away millions of dollars in expensive gifts every holiday season but insists they're all from Santa. You'll have to tune in yourself if you wanna get the scoop on the real benefactor…
A Christmas film that isn't actually set during Christmas? We'll take it! Especially considering the cast. Susan Sarandon stars as a woman with a degenerative disease who assembles her family for one last Christmas dinner before she takes her own life in the drama "Blackbird," which debuted on Sept. 18 and is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Kate Winslet and Mia Wasikowska star as her adult daughters, Sam Neill portrays her husband and Rainn Wilson appears as her son-in-law.
Yes, there were multiple movies this year that featured Christmas parties but weren't set during Christmas. (Only in the upside-down world that is 2020!) In "The War with Grandpa," which debuted on Oct. 9, Robert De Niro stars as a widower whose increasingly harmful pranks with his grandson (Oakes Fegley) reach a head at his granddaughter's Christmas-themed birthday party in September. Critics loathed the family comedy, which performed well with everyone else, scoring an 85% fresh audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.