‘Home for Christmas’ on Netflix could become your new holiday must-watch

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No spoilers for Home for Christmas
On Saturday I wrapped presents and started watching a series that Kristy Puchko at Pajiba recommended. It’s a Norwegian holiday romcom called Home for Christmas, or Hjem til Jul. The premise is that a 30-year-old nurse is being pressured by her family to couple up and have kids. Johanne is pushed to the kids area at family dinners and won’t earn a seat with the adults until she has a partner. She has a full life with a great career, friends, family and patients she cares about, but her family constantly nags her about the fact that she’s single. At the beginning of Advent Johanne tells her family that she has a boyfriend, thus earning an extra seat at the table. She then sets out on a 24-day quest to find one. Speed dating, terrible internet dates and hijinks ensue.

I went into this series of six thirty minute episodes expecting a cute European twist on a Lifetime movie, with some more modern elements. I came away absolutely delighted and hoping for a second season. It’s uplifting, funny, heart-warming and full of Christmas cheer yet it avoids being predictable or schmaltzy. There are so many cute secondary characters who pop up at key moments, some with rich backstories. There are also multiple references to Love Actually, which is Johanne’s favorite Christmas movie. It’s like the filmmakers are acknowledging that modern classic while giving more realistic twists to the sometimes hackneyed romances. (See Kristy’s review for a better explanation of this, and a breakdown of the Love Actually plotlines that Home for Christmas nods to.)

I started watching Home for Christmas in English because I didn’t expect to pay much attention to it and it was easier. I ended up watching the last two episodes in Norwegian and it was richer. I recommended this to my mom and she binged it in a day too! It’s very likely that we’ll rewatch this together over Christmas break. We usually watch Hallmark and Lifetime movies together, but this wonderful series is worth so many rewatches.

If you’ve already seen Home for Christmas or don’t mind reading spoilers, Kristy has theories and questions about the series in this follow-up article.

Have a wonderful holiday everyone and thank you so much for reading, commenting and listening!

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photos credit: Stefan Borup / Netflix via Netflix press

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35 Responses to “‘Home for Christmas’ on Netflix could become your new holiday must-watch”

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  1. Biff says:

    My friend co-wrote this!!!!! I am a 30 something nurse who is single, so she used to call me while writing this. So fun to see this popping up on my favorite gossip site

    • Celebitchy says:

      That’s so cool! It’s such a wonderful series with so many thoughtful moments and so much detail. Tell her we love it!

    • Anne says:

      I binged it a week ago and I LOVED it. My friends also love it. Tell your friend that she did an awesome job and you were a great inspiration. :)

      • Biff says:

        I didn’t recognize myself in the Johanne character, unfortunatly. It didn’t stop me from trying to score some “cool aunt” points with my nieces this christmas. Their response: ” Have YOU done it with a 19 year old?!? EEEW!”

        Sooo…yeah…took me down a couple of notches :)

    • Seeker542 says:

      Tell her she did a fantastic job! I loved it 😊

  2. Shannon says:

    This is so cute. It’s definitely NOT rated G so before you sit down and watch this with your granny, be warned! Depending on the granny of course! ;)

    • FHMom says:

      Thanks for the warning. Would age would you recommend it for?

    • Lightpurple says:

      Glad you added: “depending on the granny.” My 91 year old great aunt is a huge Quentin Tarantino fan. As is her 93 year old brother. They avidly watched Game of Thrones and would have animated telephone conversations about it on Monday afternoons. Yet people try to steer them to the Hallmark Channel because of their age.

  3. ShazBot says:

    oooh thanks…I have a few hours of baking ahead of me tonight, so I think I’ll put this on!

    • Giddy says:

      Yes! I need this while baking and wrapping. Thanks for the info.

      • Seeker542 says:

        I watched this a few nights ago and I really enjoyed it! There’s nothing really to spoil but the message about who you connect with and making the most out of your life.

        I’d also like to add that Merry, Happy Whatever is great and very much worth watching! These are some of the highlights of my Christmas viewing.

  4. Esmom says:

    Thanks for the recommendation, sounds right up my alley I could ave used it this past weekend, actually, when I was sick with the stomach flu and hardly able to move for two solid days.

  5. Jess says:

    Yay. Thanks. Will start this tonight as I start wrapping presents!

  6. Original T.C. says:

    Thanks, I will definitely check it out.

  7. stepup says:

    Is it an all-white cast? In our house, we’re no longer watching movies and shows with zero diversity.

    • Ela says:

      I watched it and I was so surprised for a Norwegian series there are a few diverse supporting characters.

    • horseandhound says:

      there are countries where the majority of people are white. and in some the majority are black or asian. would you expect an angolan show to be diverse? there would be only black people and that would be reasonable.

      • stepup says:

        I expect it from every show, no matter the locale. That’s how we’re doing it in our house. I know these conversations about diversity irk you so, horseandhound.

        Oh, and just because a place is a majority X, doesn’t mean there are no Y, Z, or Q.

      • horseandhound says:

        @stepup, I respect your family’s decision. I am just not a fan of looking at things that way. I watched shows that were all black and all white and I like when people have the freedom to create content as they wish and when the characters develop naturally out of somebody’s imagination without rigid rules. I don’t think I have to see myself in every movie or show to enjoy it. for example, I found lara jean from to all the boys I’ve loved before very relatable although I’m not asian and loved the movie nappily ever after to the bits even though I don’t have black hair. but I hear you.

      • stepup says:

        It’s not about “seeing myself.” That’s a subtle slight (implicit bias) folks like to throw around, insinuating that a call for diversity is somehow oversensitive or self-centered. It’s about work and a desire to see everyone. For example, we rented “The Terror” this weekend after looking into it and learning that there were a few First Nations charachters. I’m neither British nor First Nations, so it wasn’t about “seeing myself.” It’s about putting our money and viewership where our mouths are, and being part of a movement that wants to see the diversity of the world reflected in our shows and films.

      • horseandhound says:

        @stepup, okay. you explained that well. I can understand that.

      • Shirleygailgal says:

        Dear Step-Up and HorseandHound ~ thank you both for a glorious conversation about diversity discussed with respect, courtesy and graciousness. I love you both and am grateful. You are both a beautiful example of how to express different opinions without crudeness, meanness, pettiness, racism, sexism, all other
        ‘ism’s and ‘ness’es. Just a lovely conversation about diversity that started slightly acrimoniously and resolves in appreciation and understanding. Also, in the last horseandhound comment I read: at step-pup….and laughed, then realized it was still step up but I loved reading ‘pup’ from horse and hound. Dog-on-the-brain sneaks into my reading once again…I guess I better go feed ‘em!

      • horseandhound says:

        @Shirleygailgal, thank you for your comment. I really appreciate it. I sometimes disagree with the majority of people on this site and it really hurts me when people dismiss my comments in a heartbeat without even trying to understand. it’s really nice when people want to discuss with you and when several viewpoints get to be considered. I am convinced that willingness to talk to people who don’t agree with you on some issues is very beneficial and that both parties come out of it enriched. ps. I’m glad the dogs got their food :)

    • Original T.C. says:

      @Step-Up

      I’m off work for the week so starting watching the series. I was pretty shocked to see a Black woman within the first 10min of episode 1. And OMG, her Black bartender friend is seriously hot. She also goes on a speed dating thing where several BM are included. Unfortunately so far in the 3 episodes I’ve seen they only have few lines.

      It kind of bugs (more interactions with hottie BM bartender please!). However this is set in Norway so frankly I was expecting only white characters which I don’t mind in a country that is almost all White. Whereas in America, I found out that *none* of the movies on the Hallmark channel have leading roles for Black or Hispanic or Asian. Now that’s disgraceful for an entire TV channel in America so I’m fully boycotting that channel.

      Yes America is a majority’ White country but has like a 50:40 ratio of whites and nonWhites. And soon Whites will be in the minority. That’s why the GOP and their supporters are clinging to power so as a minority, they continue to rule over the majority POCs.

  8. SarahSarah says:

    Virgin River is really good. Can’t wait for the second season!

  9. Nicegirl says:

    Watched it this weekend on your Twitter recommendation. Glad I did, it was cute & heartwarming.

    Though I’m a sucker & was like, “Girl- do you see that bartender?”

  10. Meg says:

    Working from home just started watching and i love that the protagonist has piercings and tattoos, but isnt covered like it defines her character and is instead just part of her. More subtlety

  11. Claudia says:

    I just watched the first episode and loved it. Thanks for the recommendation!

  12. JV says:

    I watched this a few weeks ago– easily the best “Christmas” thing I have watched in a long time!

  13. Lucas says:

    I loved this show. Kisses from Brazil.

  14. BeanieBean says:

    Gah! I may have to subscribe to Netflix. I’ve resisted so far, but this looks really good.

  15. Angie says:

    Thanks for the tip!! Excited to watch.

  16. Seeker542 says:

    I watched this a few nights ago and I really enjoyed it! There’s nothing really to spoil but the message about who you connect with and making the most out of your life. I’d also like to add that Merry, Happy Whatever is great and very much worth watching! These are some of the highlights of my Christmas viewing.

    (Original comment displaced in thread)