Do you feel that? The crisp breeze in the air? Can you smell the sharp scent of pine cones and evergreen trees? It’s (nearly) the holiday season, so hoop-de-do! In our opinions, it’s never too early to start watching festive films and spirited specials—there are way too many classics and new holiday movies combined to get through in just December alone. Our suggestion: Start in November. Now. Get cracking.
If you thought there weren’t any new classics headed to the Christmas movie canon this year, you’re wrong. There are so many on the way!
A Christmas Carol will be rebooted approximately 87 times this year, making it the Pinocchio of the Christmas season this year—both seem to have been rebooted over and over again in the Year of Our Lord 2022. Psych, there are only three: Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds’ take on the classic will come with Apple TV+’s Spirited; Netflix will release an animated version; and the terribly hilarious (or hilariously terrible?) A Christmas Karen will grace our screens with a blessed chorus of “Can I Speak to Your Manager?”
There’s a whole flurry (no pun intended) of other reboots coming, like a new take on Tim Allen’s The Santa Clause (or now, Clauses), as well as an update on little Ralphie in A Christmas Story Christmas. We’re going to see Dolly Parton save Christmas again this year. Oh, and don’t forget: The marvelous, grand return of Lindsay Lohan will be broadcast on Netflix this holiday season. Here’s hoping she’s onto Freaky Friday 2 next.
Suffice it to say, there’s enough new entertainment to make a 2022 Holiday Movie Advent Calendar. Read about those films and a handful of other specials in our round-up of what to watch this holiday season.
FALLING FOR CHRISTMAS (Nov. 10, Netflix)
And you thought Santa Claus was the big star of the season—ha! The true holiday wishes of those around the world are about to be answered with the long-awaited return of one Lindsay Lohan. Lohan plays a spoiled hotel heiress, whose bonk on the head in a skiing accident results in a little amnesia and a lot of mirth and merriment once she’s rescued by the kind-but-hunky innkeeper, played by Chord Overstreet. Tale as old as time, or as old as 1987’s Overboard (this time, with a little tinsel on it).
SPIRITED (Nov. 11, in theaters; Nov. 18, Apple TV+)
Love ’em or hate ’em, Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell have teamed up for a musical based on A Christmas Carol. Ryan Reynolds stars as Ebeneezer Scrooge. Will Ferell will play Buddy the Elf—er, the Ghost of Christmas Past. With these two agents of chaos, surely, there will be hijinks galore. (Seriously, though, can we just get Elf 2 already?)
THE SANTA CLAUSES (Nov. 16, Disney+)
Tim Allen didn’t return as Buzz in Lightyear earlier this year, but he will be returning for the reboot of his Christmas classic The Santa Clause—now a sequel series, and now titled The Santa Clauses. There are multiple Santas now? Or multiple clauses? Who knows! The basic premise is that an aging Santa (aka Scott Calvin, played by Allen) has to find his replacement. Honestly, just hire Harry Styles and call it a day.
A CHRISTMAS STORY CHRISTMAS (Nov. 17, HBO Max)
File this one under “Sequels That Could Potentially Tarnish a Classic Legacy.” We’re wary of this continuation of A Christmas Story, among the most beloved holiday films of all time. Peter Billingsley will return as Ralphie, who returns to his old house to give his own kids an unforgettable Christmas while reconnecting with old friends and dealing with the passing of his father. Hopefully, emotional heft will keep this cash grab from floundering, but time will tell whether this is a story of its own or a footnote in that of its predecessor.
CHRISTMAS WITH YOU (Nov. 17, Netflix)
Who’s sexier than Freddie Prinze, Jr.—just in general? Freddie Prinze, Jr., as a doting single father and local music teacher! His character happens upon a chance romance with pop star Angelina (Aimee Garcia), whose career is flailing because she can’t connect with her fans (or maybe because her stage name sucks, who knows!). Think Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson in Marry Me, but at Christmas and with a much smaller budget—aka appointment viewing.
THE GREAT BRITISH BAKING SHOW HOLIDAYS (Nov. 18, Netflix)
That trailer might be for last year’s The Great British Baking Show Holidays, but you know what? Same tent, same rules, same holiday spirit. GBBS has been a bit of a disaster this year (to say the least), and yet, we’re still looking forward to taking notes on all the deliciously festive bakes that appear on this year’s special. If you want your Christmas cookies to be the best of the bunch at family gatherings, tune in to get some inspo.
A CHRISTMAS KAREN (Nov. 18, on VOD)
We wouldn’t be doing a holiday list justice without mentioning this year’s big star: A Christmas Karen. The cheesy movie will follow the same basic premise as A Christmas Carol, but instead of Scrooge, the story will hone in on a “Karen.” She hates joy, always calls for the manager, loves to ruin kids’ days…you get the gist. Yes, this movie’s a little less glitzy than the rest, and you’re going to have to pay to watch it on VOD. But if you watch with plenty of spiced wine and good company, you’ll have a night to remember.
THE NOEL DIARY (Nov. 24, Netflix)
Justin Hartley, beloved star of This Is Us, is starring in his own Christmas tale. And break out the tissues, because it might be just as sad as his NBC drama! He’ll play a bestselling novelist who returns home to settle his estranged mother’s estate and, in the process of sorting through her papers, finds some groundbreaking information about her. He also finds a mysterious woman in the process—could this be a holiday romance or a holiday tragedy?
HOLIDAY HARMONY (Nov. 24, HBO Max)
Brooke Shields stars in this Christmas romantic drama—that should be enough to sell you on Holiday Harmony alone. The film follows an up-and-coming singer who gets the opportunity of a lifetime on Christmas; alas, she can’t make it to her destination on time. Produced by Lauren Swickard, the star of Netflix’s beloved A California Christmas, A Holiday Harmony is for any of the romantics in the crowd. And it debuts on Thanksgiving, making it the perfect movie to throw on in the background while mashing potatoes and stuffing the turkey.
A CHRISTMAS MYSTERY (Nov. 24, HBO Max)
Another Thanksgiving release! A Christmas Mystery is for folks who want something less romantic and more festive and wintery to throw into the mix this holiday season. A small West Coast town has spent the last century in good cheer, thanks to a strip of Santa’s magical jingle bells. This Christmas, however, the bells go missing. A gaggle of kids go on a quest to find them and save the town before the big day.
THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY HOLIDAY SPECIAL (Nov. 25, Disney+)
After you see the sure-to-be-legendary Black Panther: Wakanda Forever in theaters this November, follow it up with another MCU hit at home on Disney+. Marvel’s out-of-this-world Guardians of the Galaxy crew are clubbing in Hollywood this Christmas, a gift for Earthling Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), who misses his home. But that’s not enough. The team decides to steal Kevin Bacon for their leader, the best Christmas gift of all.
SANTA CAMP (November, HBO Max)
Strap yourself tight into that sleigh, because this one is going to take you for a ride. Santa Camp is a documentary that follows a group of professional Santas, Mrs. Clauses, and elves, who gather at Santa Camp to learn the tricks of their trade. This year, the organizers are tackling a historical problem among the Santa community: a noticeable lack of diversity. After all, the only true qualification for Santa-ship is the amount of jolliness that exists within one’s soul.
A HOLLYWOOD CHRISTMAS (Dec. 1, HBO Max)
Along with Lauren Swickard, her IRL A California Christmas husband Josh Swickard is also taking to HBO Max with his own spirited flick this holiday season. He’ll team up with Missi Pyle to star in A Hollywood Christmas, which follows an up-and-coming filmmaker as she attempts to make a name in the biz. But as a harsh studio exec enters her life, the young creator realizes she’s actually in a Christmas rom-com of her own, with her life following all the typical tropes. Meta Christmas movie? Count us in.
VIOLENT NIGHT (Dec. 2, in theaters)
Stranger Things’ David Harbour as a drunken, violent Santa defending a family from robbers? No need to say more. Give us the violence, give us the holiday cheer, and give us David Harbour as sexy Santa!
SCROOGE: A CHRISTMAS CAROL (Dec. 2, Netflix)
No disrespect to Charles Dickens, but this is just an animated, musical version of A Christmas Carol. There are a few big names in the voice cast, like Luke Evans and Olivia Colman. Otherwise, this movie is made for plopping your kids down in front of the television to watch, distracting them while you wrap presents.
MATT ROGERS: HAVE YOU HEARD OF CHRISTMAS? (Dec. 2, Showtime)
Las Culturistas co-host; Celebrity Jeopardy! almost-champion; Mariah Carey’s successor. Come December, these are all descriptors that will be applicable to everyone’s favorite mustachioed mega-babe, Matt Rogers. Rogers’ holiday-themed comedy special will premiere on Showtime and feature guest appearances galore, including his Las Culturistas co-host Bowen Yang. If this special is half as joyous, hilarious, and brazenly gay as Rogers’ role in this past summer’s I Love That for You (also, iconically, on Showtime), we’re all in for a holiday treat.
SOMETHING FROM TIFFANY’S (Dec. 9, Amazon Prime Video)
Zoey Deutch brings her well of charm and charisma to this adaptation of the Melissa Hill novel. A young woman’s (Deutch) life is turned upside down, when an engagement ring meant for one of her friends shakes up her long-term relationship. If you can afford anything from Tiffany’s while also living in New York City during the holidays, you live a life so charmed, you can make it through any interpersonal snafu.
IT’S A WONDERFUL BINGE (Dec. 9, Hulu)
You may be familiar with The Binge, a comedy in which alcohol and drugs are banned entirely, except for one day of the year. But what you might not know is there’s a Christmas-themed sequel coming out this year. This time, “The Binge” falls on Christmas, meaning all of the drugs, drinking, and partying will come at the most festive time of the year. Go crazy with that mulled wine, people!
DOLLY PARTON’S MAGICAL MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS (December, NBC)
This holiday special will follow the backstage goings-on of a Dolly Parton holiday spectacular, as Parton tries to uplift the spirits of a beleaguered world. Whether or not it shares any plot devices with Parton’s 1986 holiday special, A Smoky Mountain Christmas, is yet to be determined. But if so, we can consider this a major win. No one does country Christmas cheer quite like Dolly.