Happiest Season is getting a lot of attention because it’s the first mainstream LGBTQ+ holiday movie with a same-sex couple at the center. The film follows Kristen Stewart's Abby as she plans to spend the holidays with her girlfriend, Harper (Mackenzie Davis), and her family. Immediately, things aren’t what Abby expects when she learns that Harper has not told her parents that she’s gay. 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 important supporting characters. 2020 especially is a year where many networks and streaming services are opening up the world of Christmas movies to include more diverse stories, especially those involving same-sex couples or gay characters. Let’s look at several LGBTQ+ Christmas movies that you can stream, purchase, or rent, and a few upcoming ones.
Happiest Season (2020)
Happiest Season starts with Abby planning to propose to Harper, 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), who is perfect. 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.
Stream it on Hulu here.
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 on 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.
Rent it on Amazon Prime here.
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. The Christmas House premiered on November 22, 2020. It’s currently not available to stream on Hallmark’s streaming service. For now, you’ll have to catch it on one of Hallmark’s repeat showings.
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 (Anna Akana)’s 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.
Stream it on Netflix here.
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. Holiday Heart is available to stream on Amazon Prime.
Stream it on Amazon here.
A New York Christmas Wedding (2020)
A New York Christmas Wedding is a 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.
Stream it on Netflix here.
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.
Stream it on Amazon here.
Dashing In December (2020)
Paramount Network will premiere in December Dashing in December. 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.
Based on the trailer, it seems like a typical rom-com setup with two men from different backgrounds at first having a clash of cultures, but then they get to know each other and fall in love. It seems like a cute Christmas movie that fits well into the Christmas TV movie world. Dashing in December premieres on Paramount Network on December 13, 2020.
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 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 is part of Lifetime’s massive 30 new Christmas movies. The Christmas Setup looks adorable and the added power of Fran Drescher makes this a must-see movie. The film premieres on Lifetime on December 12, 2020.
The world of Christmas LGBTQ+ movies is very small, but I hope that this is just the start and they’ll become the norm, especially cheesy romance ones. The world needs a little more love, in every form.