In 2020, Happiest Season garnered a lot of attention for being the first major Hollywood LGBTQ+ Christmas movie with a same-sex couple at the center. It premiered on Hulu and became a major hit. It was one of the most talked about new holiday movies of 2020. Happiest Season may be one of the first mainstream LGBTQ+ Christmas movies, but it’s not the only one.
Before Happiest Season, there were a few LGBTQ+ films set around the holidays that featured gay or bisexual characters as the main protagonist or one of the necessary supporting characters. 2020 especially began to build upward momentum when many networks and streaming services opened up the world of Christmas movies to include more diverse stories, especially those involving same-sex couples or gay characters. Since Happiest Season, there have been more LGBTQ+ Christmas movies created.
Let’s look at several LGBTQ+ Christmas movies that you can stream, purchase, or rent.
Happiest Season (2020)
Happiest Season starts with Abby (Kristen Stewart) planning to propose to Harper (Mackenzie Davis), but she then learns that she’s going to have to go back into the closet while they’re around Harper’s family. Harper’s family is a bunch of ambitious, kind of jerky people, except for Jane (Mary Holland). Happiest Season is mainly a coming-out story.
The film explores Harper finally being brave enough to tell her family about her true self. The biggest strength of Happiest Season is the supporting cast, especially Mary Holland as Jane, Mary Steenburgen as Harper’s mother, Aubrey Plaza as Riley, and Daniel Levy as John. Happiest Season was released on Hulu in November 2020.
Make The Yuletide Gay (2009)
Degrassi: The Next Generation star Adamo Ruggiero stars alongside Keith Jordan in Make the Yuletide Gay. The film has almost the same premise as Happiest Season. When abandoned by his family during the holidays, Nathan (Adamo Ruggiero) surprises his boyfriend Olaf (Keith Jordan) by joining him for the holidays. Olaf then gives Nathan a surprise by informing him that his family doesn’t know that he’s gay.
Make the Yuletide Gay is one of those comedies with a lot of winks and nods to its own jokes. It’s a little cheesy at times but the film is sweet with its heart in the right place. Despite Olaf’s parents being very quirky (with names Anya and Sven – yes I think they may have a case against Frozen too), he still worries that they may reject him if he reveals that he’s gay. Make the Yuletide Gay is available to rent or buy on your favorite VOD service.
The Christmas House (2020)
The Christmas House is Hallmark’s first movie featuring an LGBTQ+ couple as key characters. It follows the star of the fictional series Handsome Justice, Mike (Robert Buckley) as he heads back home to help his family turn their home into the Christmas house. Quickly, Mike learns that this Christmas isn’t going to be as happy and magical as he expects.
Jonathan Bennett plays Mike’s brother Brandon, and Brad Harder plays Brandon’s husband Jake. Treat Williams and Sharon Lawrence play their parents. Ana Ayora plays Andi, Mike’s hometown love interest. The Christmas House was quite different from many Hallmark Christmas movies, in a good way--mainly because it dealt with more somber topics before it got its Christmas cheer. Brandon and Jake’s storyline was a subplot, but an important one as it dealt with them trying to adopt.
The LGBTQ+ storyline was seamlessly and naturally added into the fold without Hallmark making a big deal about them being a same-sex couple, or adding any prejudice or coming out storylines.
In 2021, Hallmark made a sequel to this movie called The Christmas House 2: Deck Those Halls. It’s also available to stream or rent.
Let It Snow (2019)
Let It Snow features a collection of interconnecting stories happening around Christmas time and focused on young love. One of the stories focuses on a lesbian couple. The two girls had a magical day together, but when one of them tries to show her affection to the other in public, she’s ignored and rejected.
Let It Snow is a simple Netflix Original Movie that’s great for some good ol’ Christmas fluff. At first, it seems like Dorrie (Liv Hewson) and Kerry’s (Anna Akana) romance story might be one of the few in Let it Snow without a happy ending, but then it gets the cheesy happy ending that it deserves.
Holiday Heart (2000)
Holiday Heart follows a drag queen named Holiday Heart (Ving Rhames) as he takes in a drug addict, Wanda (Alfre Woodard), and her daughter, Niki (Jesika Reynolds). Holiday Heart is dramatic with a capital D, so much so that it becomes melodramatic at times, but honestly, aren’t many holiday movies?
Holiday Heart has the right intentions with Holiday being the most sensible, sane, and kind character of them all. He’s also very secure with himself and never tries to hide his identity. It’s a movie about pride and kindness, and the families you make.
A New York Christmas Wedding (2020)
A New York Christmas Wedding is a 2020 Netflix Christmas movie about Jennifer (Nia Fairweather), a woman who is about to marry her fiancé David (Otoja Abit) on Christmas Eve, but then she saves a young man named Azrael (Cooper Koch) and gets to see what would have happened had she pursued feelings for her best friend.
In 1999, around Christmas, Jennifer (Camilla Harden) had a falling out with her best friend Gabrielle (Natasha Goodman). The falling out leads to a chain of tragic events, including Jennifer burying the side of herself that was in love with Gabrielle. Azrael turns out to be Jennifer’s guardian angel and gives her a life with Gabrielle (Adriana DeMeo). A New York Christmas Wedding is all about second chances and even has a religious storyline with Chris Noth as Father Kelly. I would say the film is less about Gabrielle and Jennifer’s love story and more about Jennifer discovering what and who she wants.
The Unattainably Perfect Gay Christmas/Red Lodge (2013)
Originally this film was entitled Red Lodge, but on Amazon Prime, it’s called The Unattainably Perfect Gay Christmas. The film starts with Jordan (Joseph Lim Kim) proposing to his boyfriend Dave (Richard Pierre-Louis), but Dave is hesitant to respond. This leads to an awkward Christmas with Jordan’s family.
The Unattainably Perfect Gay Christmas is a film that feels authentic. Everything that happens and is said between Dave, Jordan, and their family feels believable. I appreciated that the film felt so realistic and simple. The movie also has an appearance by Stephnie Weir as a “psychic” that’s the highlight of the film because it’s just so funny.
Dashing In December (2020)
Dashing in December is a Paramount Network original film that premiered in 2020. Juan Pablo Di Pace, Peter Porte, and Andie MacDowell star in this film. It centers around two gay men meeting when Wyatt (Peter Porte) returns to his hometown for the holidays. He’s arrived to help his mother and maybe sell their ranch.
It starts as an enemies to lovers story as both main characters make assumptions about the other. However, eventually, they realize that they may just be a good fit. It feels like a Hallmark or Lifetime movie with a little bit more depth.
The Christmas Setup (2020)
The Christmas Setup is Lifetime’s first Christmas film centered on a gay couple. It features real-life married couple Blake Lee and Ben Lewis. Hugo (Ben Lewis) travels home to Milwaukee to spend Christmas with his best friend, Madelyn (Ellen Wong), his mother, Kate (Fran Drescher), and his brother, Aiden (Chad Connell). His mother tries to play matchmaker by setting Hugo up with his old high school crush, Patrick (Blake Lee).
The Christmas Setup was part of Lifetime’s massive 30 new Christmas movies. The Christmas Setup is adorable and obviously, as a real-life married couple, Blake Lee and Ben Lewis have great on-screen chemistry.
Under The Christmas Tree (2021)
Under the Christmas Tree is a Lifetime original movie. Charlie (Tattiawna Jones) and Alma (Elise Bauman) are immediately drawn to each other. However, their relationship hits an immediate barrier when Charlie wants Alma’s tree but she refuses to sell it.
These women may seem like they’re from different worlds, but their chemistry, kindness, and business-savvy nature make them a good match. The Under the Christmas Tree cast includes Ricki Lake and Enrico Colantoni.
Single All The Way (2021)
Single All the Way is one of the best Netflix Christmas movies. It follows best friends Peter (Michael Urie) and Nick (Philemon Chambers) as they travel to Peter’s home. Many members of Peter’s family find it bewildering that Nick and Peter aren’t together because they seem so meant to be.
It’s a charming film that shows that sometimes your soulmate may just be that best friend that you ignored romantically for years.
The world of Christmas LGBTQ+ movies continues to grow. In 2022, Hallmark announced plans to team up with Jonathan Bennett yet again. He is the lead in the network’s first-holiday movie with a gay romance as the main romance. The Holiday Sitter is one of the Hallmark holiday movies we couldn’t wait to watch.
The Holiday Sitter premiered on Hallmark on December 11.
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Spent most of my life in various parts of Illinois, including attending college in Evanston. I have been a life long lover of pop culture, especially television, turned that passion into writing about all things entertainment related. When I'm not writing about pop culture, I can be found channeling Gordon Ramsay by kicking people out the kitchen.