January 30, 2023

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The Best New Christmas Movies in 2022

You’re exhausted from all that Christmas shopping you just did — your thumbs are sooooo tired from scrolling and clicking — and now you just want to veg out on the couch and watch a Christmas movie. Why not try something new? Did you know there’s a new Christmas movie about a killer robot Santa Claus? Did you know there’s a movie about a haunted yule log? Did you know there’s a movie about a Christmas-hating woman who falls for a Christmas-loving man? I don’t know which of those three is the scariest.

Our list of the best new Christmas movies to watch this year features continuations of classics you’re familiar with, the typical cheesy-yet-charming basic cable originals, and even a documentary about being Santa Claus, no matter who you are. And of course, if you’re looking for the familiar classics, it’s all good; we have a list of the best Christmas movies and where to stream them. And if you’d rather check out all the Christmas movies and specials coming out and where and when to watch them, check out our ultimate guide to Christmas movies and specials. It’s longer than Santa’s naughty list.

New Christmas movies out now and streaming

Falling for Christmas (Netflix)

Chord Overstreet and Lindsay Lohan, Falling for Christmas

Scott Everett White/Netflix

Lindsay Lohan starring in a Christmas movie is really all the info you need about Netflix’s Falling for Christmas. If that’s not enough to entice you, then yes, she does play a spoiled heiress to her dad’s Aspen resort business, and yes, she does get amnesia, and yes, she does fall for a local lodge keeper (Chord Overstreet). It’s a primo example of not watching a holiday movie for the actual plot, but for the spectacle (or lack thereof) of it all. It is exactly what you’d expect it to be, and that’s a predictably good and corny time. [Review]      

A Christmas Story Christmas (HBO Max)

A Christmas Story Christmas

A Christmas Story Christmas

HBO Max

Continuations and remakes of Christmas classics, whether we asked for them or not, are big business. In this sequel set in the 1970s, Ralphie (Peter Billingsley) is now all grown up, catches up with old friends, and must give his own family the magical kind of Christmas his dad gave him. Reviews are mixed for this new take (our own Matt Jacobs didn’t care for it), but it knows how to mine the nostalgia you’re looking for. [Review]        

Santa Camp (HBO Max)

Santa Camp

Santa Camp

John Tully/HBO Max

Christmas movies don’t have to be confined to a small town baker trying to save her bakery or a small town innkeeper trying to save her inn or a small town candle maker trying to save her candlery. Documentaries also work well to capture the Christmas spirit, especially ones like Santa Camp, which follows an annual gathering of wannabe Santas as they welcome their first diverse Santas and empower Mrs. Clauses. It’s a heartwarming film that isn’t afraid to challenge norms, and the ending may just make your heart burst wide open.      

Spirited (Apple TV+)

Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell, Spirited

Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell, Spirited

Apple TV+

Yep, it’s another take on A Christmas Carol. Only this time, it’s the Ghost of Christmas Present who is examining his life, thanks to a particularly unique Scrooge. Spirited definitely has the most famous cast (apologies, Lacey Chabert) of this year’s Christmas movies, with Will Ferrell playing the spectral rep of Christmas and Ryan Reynolds suiting up as the miserly human who’s supposed to be the one who’s changing. Did we mention it’s a musical?    

Three Wise Men and a Baby (Nov. 19, 8/7c Hallmark)

Three Wise Men and a Baby is like Hallmark’s version of The Avengers, because it brings together three big Hallmark stars. Andrew Walker (My Family Christmas Tree), Tyler Hynes (Unexpected Christmas), and Paul Campbell (Christmas by Starlight) play three dudes who find themselves caring for a baby over the holidays, and yep, there will be diaper jokes. (It’s against the law to not have a stinky diaper joke in movies like these.) Some Hallmark movies are streaming on Peacock.

Santa Bootcamp (Nov. 19, 8/7c Lifetime)

Melissa Joan Hart goes behind the camera for this film, which stars The Walking Dead‘s Emily Kinney as an event planner who must put on an extravagant Christmas gala for a mall magnate. In searching for the perfect Santa, she attends a Santa bootcamp where she meets an instructor (the fab Rita Moreno) who — you’ll never guess — teaches her to love Christmas again. Does she also fall for the handsome mall magnate? You bet your butterscotch.            

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (Nov. 25, Disney+)

Chris Pratt, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

Chris Pratt, The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

Screengrab/Disney+

What in the heck? Yes, despite the infamy of The Star Wars Holiday Special (or perhaps because of it), Disney+ is trying out a holiday special set in the Guardians of the Galaxy universe. When Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) misses Christmas, Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) set out to find him an unforgettable Christmas present. Their plan may involve kidnapping Kevin Bacon.

12 Days of Christmas Eve (Nov. 26, 8/7c Lifetime)

This Lifetime movie is a family affair, with Kelsey Grammer playing a workaholic businessman whose personal and familial relationships have deteriorated and Spencer Grammer playing his daughter. When he gets into a car accident, Santa gives him the opportunity to relive Christmas Eve a dozen times in order to fix his life, reconnect with his family, and understand the spirit of Christmas.    

Haul out the Holly (Nov. 26, 8/7c Hallmark)

Christmas and Lacey Chabert go together like cats and broken tree ornaments, and this year’s Chabert entry is this goofy rom-com about a woman who stays at her parents’ house while they’re away, only to find out that the community has certain standards for its holiday decorations, and she better comply OR ELSE. She’s gonna need a bigger Nutcracker!      

Mickey Saves Christmas (Nov. 27, 7/6c ABC; Nov. 28, Disney+)

Mickey Saves Christmas

Mickey Saves Christmas

Disney

Rankin/Bass has made the stop-motion animated film a staple of the holiday season thanks to hits like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman. Disney saw that as a challenge, I guess, and made its own stop-motion holiday film in Mickey Saves Christmas. It follows the tried-and-true formula of someone screwing up Christmas (way to go, Pluto), and a race against time to make sure everyone gets their presents.

More holiday TV guides:

A Hollywood Christmas (HBO Max, Dec. 1)

Josh Swickard and Jessika Van, A Hollywood Christmas

Josh Swickard and Jessika Van, A Hollywood Christmas

Randy Shropshire/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

How about a Christmas movie about being in a Christmas movie? The meta thing has been done before (A Christmas Movie Christmas), but in my opinion, it hasn’t been done enough. In this one, a movie director (Jessika Van) filming a Christmas movie finds her real life interrupted by a lot of Christmas movie tropes. Sure, why not? 

Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas (Dec. 1, 8/7c NBC, Peacock)

Dolly Parton, Dolly Parton's Magic Mountain Christmas

Dolly Parton, Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas

Katherine Bomboy/NBC

Dolly Parton is in this. There, that’s all you need to know to watch it. But if you must know what it’s about, here you go: Dolly and friends are making a network TV holiday musical special (mo’ meta!), and between big music numbers and production chaos, she is guided through her past by three wise, presumably bearded mountain men. 

Hotel for the Holidays (Dec. 2, Freevee)

Madelaine Petsch and Max Lloyd Jones, Hotel for the Holidays

Madelaine Petsch and Max Lloyd Jones, Hotel for the Holidays

Shane Mahood/Amazon

Ahh yes, the ol’ hotel over Christmas story. This time it’s Riverdale‘s Madelaine Petsch as manager at a posh hotel during winterfest who gets trapped in a love triangle involving the charming hotel chef and a guest who just so happens to be royalty. Choose the prince, girl! You don’t want a guy who smells like cheese all the time. This one’s a real gift, as it’s on Amazon’s free streaming service, Freevee.

Reno 911! It’s A Wonderful Heist (Dec. 3, 8/7c Comedy Central)

Reno 911! It's a Wonderful Heist

Reno 911! It’s a Wonderful Heist

Prashant Gupta/Comedy Central

The world has changed a lot since Reno 911! made its debut in 2003, but you’d never know it based on the Comedy Central franchise’s latest offering: a feature-length Christmas special that boasts the same hilarious cast, the same hot pants, and the same sorts of hijinks. In the Jimmy Stewart sendup, Lieutenant Jim Dangle (Thomas Lennon) is considering suicide after facing the financial consequences of converting to crypto. Thankfully, guardian angel Terry (Nick Swardson) shows him how the world would be different had he never been born. It’s not a spoiler to say that everyone in the Reno Sheriff’s Department would have been better off.

It’s a Wonderful Binge (Dec. 9, Hulu)

Eduardo Franco and Dexter Darden, It's a Wonderful Binge

Eduardo Franco and Dexter Darden, It’s a Wonderful Binge

Hulu

Sick of the saccharine Christmas cheer and looking for something on Santa’s naughty list? Check out this Hulu original film that’s a sequel to the raunch-com The Binge. It’s a Wonderful Binge is another parody of The Purge, except instead of murder it’s all drugs and alcohol that are legal for one day of the year, and this year that day just so happens to fall on Christmas. Light up them trees, boys.

Something From Tiffany’s (Dec. 9, Amazon Prime Video)

Kendrick Sampson and Zoey Deutsch, Something From Tiffany's

Kendrick Sampson and Zoey Deutsch, Something From Tiffany’s

Erin Simkin/Prime Video

Prime Video’s big Christmas movie of the year is this classic “whoops my engagement ring for my girlfriend got switched with another guy’s gift and now his girlfriend has the ring so I need to get it back from her but maybe I should just fall in love with her instead” plot. So relatable. 

Christmas Bloody Christmas (Dec. 9, Shudder, AMC+)

Christmas Bloody Christmas

Christmas Bloody Christmas

Shudder

If you can’t get out to theaters to see Violent Night, but you still want to see a Santa Claus go on a murderous rampage, then stay home and watch this not-very-good-but-pretty-fun film about an animatronic Santa that ditches its prime directives and begins killing all humans. It’s a gory, grindhouse alternative to the sugary flicks about romance and learning the true meaning of Christmas. It’s also showing in theaters.

Adult Swim Yule Log (Dec. 11, HBO Max)

Adult Swim Yule Log

Adult Swim Yule Log

Adult Swim

You know those corny yule log videos made for people who don’t have fireplaces so they can experience the calming sensation of a crackling fire without all the smoke and charred squirrel bits falling from the chimney? Adult Swim’s take on the sensation comes from Too Many Cooks creator Casper Kelly, and turns the simple joy of flaming logs into a nightmarish horror film that compacts an entire season of American Horror Story into 90 minutes. It’s entirely absurd and features pretty much no correlation to Christmas, but it’s a good prank to pull on your mom when you go home and visit.

I Believe in Santa (Dec. 14, Netflix)

Christina Moore, I Believe in Santa

Christina Moore, I Believe in Santa

Netflix

There’s nothing like sloshin’ down some spiked eggnog and watching a Christmas movie that’s so bad that it’s good. This year’s best new film for that is I Believe in Santa, which is about a woman who hates Christmas and falls for a man who… LOVES CHRISTMAS! And yes, he believes in Santa Claus. It’s more elevated in self-awareness than a Hallmark movie, but it also has a squishy core of earnestness that makes it the perfect movie to outwardly hate on but secretly love. Just watch the trailer

Snow Day (Dec. 16, Paramount+)

Snow Day

Snow Day

Paramount+

Getting another reimagining/sequel/continuation of a holiday classic is like getting a pair of socks for Christmas; it’s not what you were hoping for, but you’ll take it because it’s there. This musical reinterpretation of the 2000 film once again sees a bunch of kids living their lives to the fullest when school is canceled due to excess frozen precipitation. 

New Christmas movies coming soon

Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas to All (Dec. 20, 8/7c CBS and Paramount+)

Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas to All!

Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas to All!

CBS

Thanks to a couple rare modern-day holiday classic songs, Mariah Carey is the closest thing we have to the Queen of Christmas Present. She takes the stage at Madison Square Garden in this musical special that’s all about the music. Yes, she will sing “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” because CBS does not want a riot on its hands. 

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse (Dec. 25, Apple TV+)

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

Apple TV+

This adaptation of Charlie Mackesy’s book follows four unlikely friends — the titular quartet of creatures — as they teach each other about kindness and courage. It’s a short film full of charming animation that’s perfect for when you want to get the family together for a film but bedtime is just around the corner. 

Call the Midwife Holiday Special (Dec. 25, 9/8c PBS)

Helen George, Francesca Fullilove, Megan Cusack, and Leonie Elliot, Call the Midwife Holiday Special (2022)

Helen George, Francesca Fullilove, Megan Cusack, and Leonie Elliot, Call the Midwife Holiday Special (2022)

Ray Burmiston/Neil Street Productions

Midwives work around the clock, even on Christmas. The PBS series has been more reliable for Christmas cheer than Santa Claus himself — I’m STILL waiting for that pony, dude — with 10 Christmas specials in the books and an eleventh on the way this year. In this episode, the tragic train crash is in the past and the midwives are delighted when their first patient is a familiar face.

Looking for more Christmas movies? Check out our list of the best Christmas movies and where to watch them, or our Ultimate Guide to Christmas movies and specials.