It’s December, which I think we can all agree means it’s time to binge awful Netflix Christmas movies.
For every prestige Netflix series, there’s an outrageous Christmas movie. And these movies pretty much guarantee three things: 1) it’ll star ya girl Vanessa Hudgens. 2) A charming prince will sweep Vanessa Hudgens or another woman who’s given up on love off her feet and 3) they’ll live in a totally fake country somewhere in Europe with a name that ends in “-via”.
Don’t talk to me unless it’s to discuss Netflix’s “A Christmas Prince” trilogy and it’s extended cinematic universe
— Macielle (@macyhdz) December 17, 2019
From December 1 to 31, The Princess Switch, The Christmas Prince and Knight Before Christmas are the only good pieces of cinema.
But what’s the best Netflix Christmas movie? Because I’m a serious travel journalist, I decided that the only way to reach a definitive answer is by ranking the fictional country in each film.
I’m not including any movie set in a real place, so goodbye Let It Snow and Kurt Russel as Santa in The Christmas Chronicles, which is set in Massachusetts. Yuck.
Here’s every original Netflix Christmas movie, ranked by its fictional country setting:
#4 Christmas Inheritance
Fictional setting: Snow Falls, America
Snow Falls sounds festive, like a town that would only exist in December. It’s small, suitably snow-covered, and we’re led to believe that it goes all out for Christmas (party girl Ellen is sent there by her dad/boss to deliver Christmas letters, which is normal). But where’s the proof, Christmas Inheritance??
It’s almost 4am and I can’t sleep because “I come from a long line of pastry chefs” was a genuine line in another Netflix Christmas nightmare, Christmas Inheritance. These screenwriters are loose cannons
— Klit Harington (@KimboFemiSlice) December 12, 2019
Does this look like a street that’s decked with boughs of holly? The decorations we see in Snow Falls are the bare minimum at best. I want to get a headache from all the technicolour festive decorations in Netflix Christmas movies, thank you very much.
#3 The Knight Before Christmas
Fictional setting: Bracebridge, Ohio
The plot of this movie, which follows a knight from medieval England who is transported to modern day America, is flawless. But Bracebridge, Ohio is not a good fictional setting for a Netflix Christmas movie and I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.
So far, the most unrealistic part of #TheKnightBeforeChristmas is a high school teacher affording a massive house with a massive guest house.
— Brita Long (@belle_brita) November 21, 2019
There’s no Bracebridge in the real Ohio, but there is one in Ontario, Canada. That’s where most of the film was shot, and it does look like a Christmas wonderland. In fact, it’s home to Santa Village, a massive Christmas-themed amusement park, where they also went to film.
“They added more lights and it started snowing, and it was one of those moments where I couldn’t help but feel the spirit,” Vanessa Hudgens told Entertainment Weekly.
Let’s look at the facts about The Knight Before Christmas‘ Bracebridge. It puts on a big Christmas banquet for the residents every year. The streets are lined with snow-covered Christmas decorations. Vanessa Hudgens can afford a to live in a massive house without any housemates. It’s festive as hell, but it’s still called Bracebridge and it’s still in Ohio.
#2 A Christmas Prince
Fictional setting: Aldovia, Europe
The movie that started it all. A Christmas Prince set the standards for what we expect in a Netflix Christmas movie, including a vaguely European country and a technically-hot-but-mostly-bland prince (don’t @ me).
— Dory (@dory1028) December 8, 2019
Aldovia has it all: grand castles surrounded by snow-covered forest, a charming village with colourful, snow-covered houses, majestic horses galloping across snow-covered hills. If it’s a Christmas stereotype, it’s in A Christmas Prince.
The latest sequel, A Royal Baby, even made up another fake country! Penglia is a vaguely Southeast Asian monarchy that’s had a truce with Aldovia for 600 years.
I thought Aldovia was like the size of Liechtenstein. But apparently it stretches from Croatia to Romania, and there’s an East Asian kingdom west of the Caspian Sea.
It’s a whole alternate history! pic.twitter.com/SvRpqSRHPi
— Adam L. (@UpstateAdamL) December 6, 2019
#1 The Princess Switch
Fictional setting: Belgravia, Europe
You knew this was going to top the list. The Princess Switch really is all that — two Vanessa Hudgens’, two technically-hot-but-mostly-bland men, a spiritual Parent Trap reboot and one big-ass baking competition set in Belgravia.
In creating Belgravia, Netflix went balls-to-the-wall bonkers for Christmas. The entire town lives for those 31 days in December when ’tis the season. Even the royal family attends the annual baking competition, where contestants “will have five hours to prepare the most spectacular Christmas cake.” I can hear the tinsel crunching underneath Santa’s boot from here.
me after watching the princess switch pic.twitter.com/fqjf5eS6If
— abs | ia bc college (@strangerthcr) November 18, 2018
But thanks to this ridiculous baking competition, Belgravia is the most fully-realised fictional setting in any of the Netflix Christmas movies. For whatever that’s worth.
(Lead image: A Christmas Prince, The Princess Switch, The Knight Before Christmas / Netflix)
Alana is the staff writer on AWOL who thinks the best way to travel is by taking spontaneous detours and stopping at every local bakery to try the cakes. She writes a lot about Australian TV, Big Things, cursed food, and theme parks. You can follow her on Instagram @alana.dotcom. It’s mostly dogs she meets along the way.