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Inside Netflix's 2020 Plans For Holiday Domination

Dolly Parton as an angel, a Vanessa Hudgens triple threat, and Debbie Allen's Hot Chocolate Nutcracker are all on the roster.
  • Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn return in The Christmas Chronicles: Part 2. (Netflix)
    Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn return in The Christmas Chronicles: Part 2. (Netflix)

    It's become a new holiday tradition. Just as the calendar edges its way into November, Netflix begins rolling out a cornucopia of holiday-themed original content. This year is no exception, and with more families staying at home this year, it's arguably never been more welcome.

    Here's an overview of the yuletide wonders Netflix has released in recent weeks, as well a peek at what's on the way:

    Holidate

    Rather than focusing on a single holiday, this romcom delivers a year's worth of annual events, including Christmas, Valentine's Day, St Patrick's Day and more. Emma Roberts (in a pivot away from her scream queen roles) and Luke Bracey star as two single strangers who share a mutual loathing of the pressure to find a date over the holidays. Agreeing to be each other's plus-ones for a calendar of celebrations, their claim they aren't attracted to each other is as transparent as the disdain for being in a relationship during the Fourth of July weekend, Halloween, and Thanksgiving.

    Operation Christmas Drop

    Forgoing Christmas with her family in a bid to earn a promotion, congressional aide Erica Miller (Kat Graham) heads to an island Air Force base in the Pacific. Due to budget cuts, Operation: Christmas Drop  — which air drops medicine and supplies to remote islands — is at risk of getting the axe. Erica and Captain Andrew Jantz (Alexander Ludwig) are determined to show lawmakers why they should refrain from defunding this holiday tradition.

    Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

    It wouldn't be the holidays without a family musical adventure, and Netflix has pulled out the stops for Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey. The film stars Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker as legendary toy maker Jeronicus Jangle and Keegan-Michael Key as his apprentice Gustafson. Also on hand are Madalen Mills, Anika Noni Rose, Ricky Martin, Hugh Bonneville and Phylicia Rashad, with original songs by John Legend.

    Dash & Lily

    Based on Rachel Cohn and David Levithan's best-selling YA Dash & Lily book series, an unexpected holiday romance develops between optimistic Lily (Midori Francis) and cynical Dash (Austin Abrams) as they share messages through a red notebook left in strategic locations around New York City.

    The Princess Switch: Switched Again

    The Crown it is not, but it wouldn't be the holidays on Netflix without Vanessa Hudgens, and in this Princess Switch sequel there are three lookalikes to contend with. Duchess Margaret has unexpectedly inherited the Montenaro throne, which means a fancy coronation to get the switch shenanigans going. Having broken up with boyfriend Kevin (Nick Sagar), Stacy is intent on getting her friends back together again. Obstacles include a royal wanting to steal the Queen's heart and hand, and the arrival of socialite cousin Lady Fiona (aka Hudgens in a blonde wig). 

    Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas

    In a year that's found us all spending more time at home, the decorating part of the season will no doubt be dialed up to bring additional cheer. Enter veteran interior designer Benjamin Bradley (aka "Mr Christmas"), whose special focuses on family, friends, and traditions designed to celebrate those nearest and dearest (including relatives who are no longer with us). 

    Dolly Parton's Christmas on the Square

    Have a Holly Dolly Holiday with 14 original Dolly Parton songs and Christine Baranski playing an unpleasant rich woman by the name of Regina Fuller. Going full Scrooge, Regina returns to her small hometown, not to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, but to evict them so she can sell the land to a mall developer. Instead of ghosts, a sparkly angel (played by Parton) leads the townsfolk to soften Regina's spirit. An old flame also waits in the wings in this holiday musical directed by Debbie Allen that's sure to warm the coldest of hearts.

    The Christmas Chronicles: Part 2 (November 25)

    Hollywood royalty Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn are back as Santa and Mrs. Claus in yet another tale that sees the holiday season under threat. In this family adventure directed by Home Alone's Chris Columbus, two years have passed since Kate (Darby Camp) saved Christmas with her brother; now she's coming to terms with her mother's new boyfriend and his son Jack (Jahzir Bruno). Kate and Jack switch an unhappy vacation in Cancun for the North Pole when the nefarious magical Belsnickel (Hunt for the Wilderpeople's Julian Dennison) attempts to destroy the North Pole by stealing the Christmas Star.

    Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker (November 27)

    It's a double Debbie Allen Christmas on Netflix this year (she also directed Dolly Parton's Christmas on the Square), with the iconic multi-hyphenate being spotlighted in this documentary from Shondaland. Focusing on Allen's annual Hot Chocolate Nutcracker production, viewers are invited to take a peek behind the curtain while celebrating the long and storied career of the award-winning entertainer. The Nutcracker is a holiday staple, and this front row access reveals how Hot Chocolate Nutcracker and Allen's work have impacted so many.

    Sugar Rush: Christmas (November 27)

    The second Sugar Rush Christmas special will be adding all things jolly to the sweet-treats format. Racing against the clock, the teams will have to conjure up a festive sensation to take home the big cash prize.

    The Holiday Movies That Made Us (December 2)

    Going deep on two holiday movie favorites, The Holiday Movies That Made Us is an in-depth look at Elf and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Featuring interviews with cast and crew — as well as behind the scenes footage — this is for the fans who want to know more about their beloved holiday classics.

    The Great British Baking Show: Holidays, Season 3 (December 4)

    Four previous fan favorites return to the tent to make yuletide treats, plus the cast of Derry Girls brings chaotic and delightful energy while competing for the title of Star Baker. These two specials aired in the UK in 2019, which is why Sandi Toksvig is on hand, wearing appropriately jolly attire, as she and Noel Fielding encourage the bakers.

    Home for Christmas Season 2 (December 18)

    In the first season of the Nordic romantic dramedy, thirty-something nurse Johanne (Ida Elise Broch) had 24 days to find a date for her family's Christmas gathering after she lied about having a boyfriend. Hijinks ensued and after several dates (and hookups) her plan was unsuccessful — though one person professed his love. The season ended with the doorbell ringing and a shot of Johanne's face without revealing who was at the door. The cozy Christmas romance returns to reveal whether it is one of Johanne's suitors, adding more relationship onto the seasonal fire.

    Emma Fraser has wanted to write about TV since she first watched My So-Called Life in the mid-90s, finally getting her wish over a decade later. Follow her on Twitter at @frazbelina

    TOPICS: Netflix, The Christmas Chronicles: Part 2, Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, Dash & Lily, Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square, The Great British Baking Show, Holidate, Holiday Home Makeover with Mr. Christmas, The Holiday Movies That Made Us, Home for Christmas, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, Operation Christmas Drop, The Princess Switch: Switched Again, Sugar Rush