Today, Netflix released A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby, the third installment of its popular A Christmas Prince film trilogy, which follows the Christmastime exploits of a prince from the fictional European country of Aldovia.
The film is one of 17 Christmas-themed movies and specials that the streaming service will release this holiday season—nearly double the Christmas content it released last year. In fact, every year, Netflix produces about twice as much Christmas entertainment as it did in the year prior:
“Christmas content” includes original films, TV series, individual episodes, and specials that revolve around the holiday. Some do not technically include “Christmas” in the title, instead opting for something more inclusive, such as the films Let It Snow and Holiday Rush. But do not be mistaken, these are Christmas movies.
Netflix isn’t the only one driving this trend. Disney, for instance, includes several Christmas movies (both new and classic) on its streaming service, Disney+. American cable network Lifetime also doubled its Christmas output this year compared to last.
The undisputed leader in this Christmas movement, however, is the Hallmark Channel, the one true Christmas prince (sorry, King Richard of Aldovia.)
Hallmark first began churning out Christmas movies in 2009, in an effort to marry its original programming with the enduring brand of its greeting card division, the Wall Street Journal reported. Its Christmas movies proved to be both popular and also sound investments. Between October and the end of the year, Hallmark is routinely one of the highest rated cable networks in America.
Since then, Hallmark has drastically increased its volume of Christmas movies every year, while other networks and streaming services follow suit, hoping to cash in on the pop culture frenzy.
Christmas movies of this sort are so popular because they are intentionally simplistic, reducing the entire holiday experience into lowbrow romantic comedies. “Hallmark’s tried-and-tested formula makes for great mindless watching, and the indulgence of settling in for a Hallmark movie binge with a bottle of wine has even become a kitschy pleasure that people proudly cop to on social media,” wrote Quartz’s Katherine Foley and Sam Rigby—our resident Christmas movie experts—in a story last year.
And not only is there more Christmas content every year, but it’s getting here sooner.
Netflix’s first-ever piece of holiday content, the 2014 Christmas special episode of animated comedy series BoJack Horseman, premiered Dec. 19 of that year, just a few days before Christmas itself. One year later, the Bill Murray musical special, A Very Murray Christmas, debuted on Dec. 4. By 2018, Netflix was already releasing Christmas content in early November. This year, the Netflix Christmas rom-com Holiday in the Wild came out Nov. 1, before you threw away your Halloween decorations.
This closely mirrors the “Christmas Creep” of the global holiday shopping season, which begins earlier and earlier every year. There is now so much Christmas entertainment to consume that it doesn’t all fit in the months of November and December. The time of the October Christmas movie is nigh.
Netflix’s Christmas season extends into the new year now too. The Princess Switch: Switched Again, the sequel to the 2018 Christmas rom-com The Princess Switch, isn’t due out until January.