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There's a secret way to find hidden Christmas movies on Netflix

Scrolling through Netflix takes forever, but there's a simple trick for finding the genres you want, fast.

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Netflix has thousands of movies and shows in its catalog, but scrolling is exhausting.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Netflix has so many TV shows, movies and documentaries. It can be difficult to find something to watch, because sifting through the seemingly endless list of content can easily take more time than actually watching something. If you don't already have something in mind to watch (like, say, one of our recommendations for the best Netflix movies or the best Netflix TV shows to stream), you're at the mercy of the algorithm. The streaming platform will highlight TV shows and movies you may like based on your profile and what you've watched before. It's a start, but it won't help you find Christmas movies quickly, or any other niche genres you might be interested in.

But there's a secret trick for filtering Netflix's library by genre to find exactly what you're browsing for: Netflix codes. These codes each correspond to a different genre, which the algorithm uses to categorize and serve up recommendations. Instead of passively accepting the algorithm's picks, learn how to use Netflix codes to find your own next binge-watch.

Read more: Here's how to turn off Netflix's pesky autoplay trailers

What are Netflix codes?

Netflix codes -- though not a new discovery -- are based on a number system the service uses to categorize films and shows by genre and subgenre. Note that codes can only be used on Netflix's website, not in its apps. 

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This is what you'll see when you visit the Netflix codes website. 

Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

Where can I find Netflix codes?

Check out netflix-codes.com for a full list. There are about 20 categories like anime, foreign movies and classic movies. Those categories are broken down into more specific subgenres. For example, horror movies -- coded 8711 -- houses 12 more codes like deep-sea horror movies, zombie horror movies, teen screams and more.

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How to use Netflix codes

The easiest way is by installing the Better Browse for Netflix extension for Chrome. Here's how:

1. Go to the Chrome Web Store and search "Better Browse for Netflix."
2. Click Add to Chrome.
3. Click Add Extension
4. Log into your Netflix account in a new tab.

At the top of the Netflix home screen, you should see a new option -- Browse All -- next to My List. Click that to search manually or scroll through the subgenres available. 

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Use the code 5475 and you'll unlock a trove of romantic comedies on Netflix. 

Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

Another way is through the Netflix codes website. Here's how:

1. Visit netflix-codes.com in your PC or mobile browser. 
2. Find the genre or subgenre you want to explore. 
3. Tap the code next to the genre or subgenre you want.
4. If you're on a device that has the Netflix app installed, the app should open and take you directly to the genre or subgenre you chose. If you don't have the app installed, it'll open Netflix through the browser and you can view the specific movies and shows available. 
5. Tap the title you want to watch. 

You can also use the Netflix codes manually in your browser. Here's how: 

1. Visit netflix-codes.com in your PC or mobile browser. 
2. Find the genre or subgenre you want to explore. 
3. In another tab, type in <http://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/INSERTNUMBER>, but replace INSERTNUMBER with the specific genre or subgenre code.
4. You'll be taken to Netflix to peruse the titles available in that section. 

From there, you can either make a mental note of the movie you want to watch and go back to the app on your preferred device, or log in to watch in your browser.

Use Netflix Codes to find Christmas movies

There are over a dozen different Netflix codes that surface Christmas content, which is grouped by country of origin, age-level and mood. We found a bunch of hyper-specific Christmas-related Netflix codes so far and will add to the chart below if we spot any more:  

Netflix Codes for Christmas Movies

1394527 Romantic Christmas Movies
1415060 Feel-good Romantic Christmas Movies
1418977 Feel-good Christmas Movies
1418978 Feel-good Christmas Family Comedies
1474014 Christmas Animated Movies
1474015 Christmas Comedies
1474016 Christmas Dramas
1474017 Christmas Children & Family Movies
1475065 Feel-good Christmas Comedies
1475066 Feel-good Christmas Children & Family Films
1475071 Goofy Christmas Children & Family Films
1475072 Romantic Christmas Comedies
1475073 Romantic Christmas Dramas
1476024 Christmas Children & Family Films from the 1990s
1527063 European Christmas Children & Family Films
1527064 British Christmas Children & Family Films
1721544 Canadian Christmas Children & Family Films
1726277 Christmas for Kids