Ah, Christmas—it’s one of the most romantic times of the year, probably because the twinkling lights and snowy nights have a way of feeling magical. It’s also the best time of year to watch a variety of rom coms, if only because there are so, so many holiday movies that cater specifically to the hopeless romantics in us. So if you’re someone who’s in love with love, you won’t want to miss these movies and TV shows this year—here’s our guide for what to watch, based on the kind of hopeless romantic you are.
For the hopeless romantic who’s exhausted of modern dating.
Watch: Home for Christmas, streaming on Netflix
Home For Christmas is a Norwegian Christmas rom com following Johanne, the only single sibling left of a large family who’s always stuck sitting at the kid’s table during the holidays. When her family begins to pressure her to be in a relationship, Johanne lies that she has a boyfriend and agrees to bring him to Christmas dinner. Cue Johanne’s panic over finding a date, which leads her to try speed dating, online dating, and a bunch of other modern methods that so many people turn to when looking for a significant other. Home For Christmas really nails how exhausting (and sometimes horrifying) modern dating really is while still giving us hope that somewhere out there, love is waiting for us.
For the hopeless romantic whose favorite dating trope is friends to lovers.
Watch: The Holiday Calendar, streaming on Netflix
While When Harry Met Sally may have some good New Year’s vibes near the end, The Holiday Calendar is all about trying to find love during the Christmas season—and realizing that maybe the right person for you has been there all along. The Holiday Calendar stars Kat Graham as Abby Sutton, who receives a seemingly magical advent calendar for her grandfather. Every morning, the calendar opens to reveal a small toy that predicts something that happens later in the day—and all these events seemingly lead her to the handsome stranger Ty. But it’s Abby’s best friend Josh who really steals our hearts, because even as Abby is swept up in new romance, nothing is sweeter than the person who is there for you through it all.
For the hopeless romantic who prefers a whimsical love.
Watch: Elf, streaming on HBO Max
Look, I know Elf is not primarily a rom com, but it does have a very sweet love story wrapped inside of all the other funny moments that keep us coming back to watch it every year. Not only is it the heartwarming story of a son who finally gets to reconnect with his estranged father, but it’s also an extremely sweet love story between Buddy the Elf and Jovie, the cynical retail worker who opens her heart to Buddy’s childlike wonder. Elf is a great reminder about how simple love can be if you let it—and how fun and childlike we can become when we know we’ve found the one.
For the hopeless romantic who loves a rom com that’s heavier on the “com.”
Watch: Love Hard, streaming on Netflix.
In this Netflix holiday film, Nina Dobrev plays Natalie Bauer, a New York-based dating columnist who always has the worst luck with men. After disaster date after disaster date, Natalie follows her friend’s advice and extends her Tinder search radius—and very soon matches with a man named Josh Lin. After spending a few weeks talking to him, she decides to surprise him in his hometown for Christmas, only to arrive at his house and realize he isn’t exactly who he claimed to be. While this movie still has some sweet moments, it definitely leans more into the comedy aspect, which makes for a particularly fun Christmas Eve viewing party.
For the hopeless romantic who gets nostalgic over the holidays.
Watch: Love, Actually, streaming on Peacock
Truth be told, Love, Actually didn’t age all that well, which may put off newer viewers who want to give it a try. But for those of us who like to turn back to our favorite holiday movies again and again, Love, Actually is pretty much a classic. Rewatching it can feel like a tradition in itself, and the familiarity of it will remind you of all the other cozy Christmases of the past. If you haven’t rewatched it yet this year, this is your sign.
For the hopeless romantic who struggles with being single around the holidays.
Watch: Single All The Way, streaming on Netflix
Being single around the holidays can suck—Single All The Way’s Peter knows that feeling well, since he’s always the single sibling at his family Christmas. In an attempt to keep his family from meddling in his love life, he convinces his best friend Nick to come home with him for the holidays—and to pretend to be his boyfriend. What Peter doesn’t expect is that this year, his mom plans to set him up with the seemingly perfect James—and what he really doesn’t expect is that even when he’s spending time with his dream guy, he can’t seem to stop thinking of Nick. Anyone who hates being single around the holidays will understand Peter’s frustrations with the situation, but it’s also a nice reminder that just because you always feel like you’re single doesn’t mean you always will be.
For the hopeless romantic who prefers a little extra drama (and yearning) in their romances.
Watch: The Noel Diary, streaming on Netflix
The Noel Diary is set around Christmas, so you get all the fun wintry and holiday settings, but besides that, it doesn’t necessarily feel like a Christmas movie. That’s probably because the plot itself is pretty heavy: It follows novelist Jake Turner (played by Justin Hartley) who heads back to his late mother’s home to settle her estate. That’s where he meets Rachel, a mysterious woman who might be related to his tragic past whose on her own journey to uncover the truth about her mother. As the two work together to understand how their lives intertwined, they also bond over their shared grief and realize they may not be as alone as they feel in the world. The only problem? Rachel’s already engaged.
For the hopeless romantic who believes love transcends time.
Watch: The Knight Before Christmas, streaming on Netflix
Let me be clear: This is definitely one of those Netflix films that feels a little Hallmark-y. It’s not meant to be super deep, but it’s sweet and just fantastical enough that it encapsulates the magic of the season. The movie follows Sir Cole, a knight from 1334, who runs into an old crone in the woods who magically transports him to 2019. That’s where he meets Vanessa Hudgins’s Brooke, a high school science teacher who believes Sir Cole is suffering from amnesia and delusions. She offers to let him stay with her until he can figure out how to get back home, unaware that he can’t do that unless he fulfills the old crone’s quest—but in the meantime, they bond over plenty of Christmas traditions, which is pretty cute.
For the hopeless romantic who knows that love comes in many forms—and they’re all equally beautiful.
Watch: A Storm For Christmas, streaming on Netflix
This is another Norwegian Netflix show that doesn’t disappoint. The premise feels a bit like Love, Actually in that it revolves around a large cast of characters who are all spending the holiday stuck in an airport (thanks to a big storm) and whose lives seamlessly weave together as they pass the time and panic over their shared misfortune. But what’s so special about this show is that it’s full of all different kinds of love—the love between spouses, between parents and children, between strangers who bond over shared circumstances, between good samaritans and the people whose lives they touch in small but meaningful ways. This show is a great reminder to be good to your fellow human, because we never know what they may be going through, but we do know that our kindness and empathy can be more important than we ever fully realize.