Holiday Movies, Make the Yuletide Gay

Ethan Thorpe

Who’s ready to make the yuletide gay this year? It’s a banner year for LGBTQ representation in holiday movies, with both Hulu and Hallmark releasing new flicks with LGBTQ characters in the lead. And at least seven more have come out in 2020 with some sort of queer representation. “Compared to previous years, and the number of LGBTQ-inclusive films that are out, it’s like night and day,” GLAAD’s CEO and president, Sarah Kate Ellis told CNN. “We’ve really gone from zero to 100.” It’s not just Christmas movies that are seeing better representation either; this year saw the highest percentage of LGBTQ characters onscreen since GLAAD first started tracking those numbers 20 years ago. But don’t wave your Pride flags for the entertainment industry just yet, because we still have a long way to go (read our LGBTQ rights timeline). Of an estimated 879 regular characters on broadcast scripted prime-time programming, only about 10% (or 90 characters total) are explicitly LGBTQ, GLAAD reports. Seeing LGBTQ characters onscreen makes members of the community feel seen. Seeing two people who look like you in the media (especially for young or still-closeted LGBTQ people) can validate those who may not have anywhere else to turn. Here are a few favorite holiday films with some new options and old favorites.

Single All the Way

Directed by Tony winner Michael Mayer and starring a stacked cast that includes Michael Urie, Philemon Chambers, Luke MacFarlane, Barry Bostwick, Jennifer Robertson, and comedy screen legends Jennifer Coolidge and Kathy Najimy, Single All the Way tells the story of a gay man named Peter who is “desperate to avoid his family’s judgment about his perpetual single status,” according to the film’s official (and relatable AF) description. “Desperate to avoid his family’s judgment about his perpetual single status, Peter (Michael Urie) convinces his best friend Nick (Philemon Chambers) to join him for the holidays and pretend that they’re now in a relationship,” the film’s official description reads. “But when Peter’s mother (Kathy Najimy) sets him up on a blind date with her handsome trainer James (Luke Macfarlane)— the plan goes awry.”

Single All the Way premieres on December 2, 2021 (Netflix)

Christmas House 2

A sequel to The Christmas House, Hallmark’s first original Christmas movie featuring a same-sex couple, will be coming out this holiday season! The Christmas House 2: Deck Those Halls, brings back the original cast, including Jonathan Bennett and Brad Harder, who played the adorable couple in the first film. Other cast members returning include Robert Buckley, Ana Ayora, Treat Williams, and Sharon Lawrence. In case you’ve forgotten, the original Christmas House saw the two brothers returning home for the holidays at the request of their mother as they prepare to sell the family home. While Buckley’s character, Mike, finds himself reconnecting with his high school sweetheart, Brandon (Bennett) comes home with his husband Jake, as the couple are awaiting a call about the adoption of their first child.

Christmas House 2 Premiere date TBA (Hallmark Channel)

Under the Christmas Tree

Marketing whiz Alma Beltran (Elise Bauman) and Christmas tree whisperer Charlie Freemont (Tattiawna Jones) cross paths when Charlie finds the perfect tree for the Maine Governor’s Holiday Celebration – right in Alma’s back yard. While they initially spar, romantic sparks soon begin to fly between the two women as the enchanting tree and some Christmas fairy dust from the town’s patisserie extraordinaire (Ricki Lake) bring out the best in them and spark each other to take leaps of faith and fight for love and Christmas magic.

Under the Christmas Tree.premieres on Dec 19 (Lifetime)

The Christmas Set-Up

Centered on two gay men. It was the first LGBTQ Christmas film for Lifetime last year. It followed Hugo, a New York corporate lawyer, who gets set up by his mom, Kate.

Hugo and Patrick’s attraction to each other is undeniable and it looks as though Kate’s well-intentioned Santa-style matchmaking is a success. But as Hugo receives word of a big promotion requiring a move to London, he must decide what is most important to him.


Happiest Season

This Hulu holiday film made a big splash when it came out this year. Harper (Mackenzie Davis) brings her girlfriend Abby (Kristen Stewart) home to meet her family, but on the way there, she reveals a catch: Harper’s not out to her family yet. Abby agrees to pretend to be her straight roommate and, well, chaos ensues. We laughed, we cried, we debated in the group chat all the way through. (Hulu)

Dashing in December

Get your cowboy boots ready: Christmas cynic Wyatt Burwall returns home for the holidays to convince his mom to sell the family’s Colorado ranch. But Wyatt falls for hunky ranch hand Heath Ramos, who dreams of saving the property (not to mention its Winter Wonderland attraction). Watch to find out if he melts Wyatt’s Grinchy heart.


After she learns her pimp was unfaithful, trans sex worker Sin-Dee enlists the help of her friend Alexandra to get back at him. As they tear through Los Angeles on Christmas, things get rowdy. This one’s decidedly not for kids, so watch after yours go to bed if you’ve got little ones around.

Let It Snow

A snowstorm in a small town brings a group of young people together, and the love stories are as plentiful as the flurries. One of those centers on Dorrie and Kerry, a lesbian couple. It’s as light and fluffy as new-fallen snow, and the perfect watch for a lazy December afternoon.

Make the Yuletide Gay

With lots of winks and nods to its own cheesiness, this campy holiday romp follows themes lots of us will recognize. Nathan has nowhere to go for the holidays, so he surprises his boyfriend Olaf. Turns out, Olaf has his own bombshell: He hasn’t told his family he’s gay. This one’s as sweet as a Christmas cookie.

Red Lodge

This 2013 movie is renamed The Unattainably Perfect Gay Christmas on Amazon Prime, but it’s a great holiday watch by any name. Jordan proposes to his boyfriend Dave in the days before Christmas, but he waffles about his decision. As you can imagine, that makes for one awkward family holiday.

A New York Christmas Wedding

As her wedding approaches, Jennifer still feels like there’s something missing in her relationship with her fiancé, David. Then, she meets an angel who shows her what her life would have been like if she’d gotten together with her childhood best friend Gabrielle instead. A queer Christmas story with a woman of color as the lead? All the way in.

Dash & Lily

Based on the Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares young adult series from authors Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, Netflix’s newest holiday rom-com series tells the story of the budding romance between two New Yorkers named Dash (Euphoria’s Austin Abrams) and Lily (The Birch’s Midori Frances), who communicate their innermost thoughts, hopes, and feelings with each other using a red notebook. From the looks of the official trailer the series also features queer characters, most notably Lily’s brother Langston (Troy Iwata)!

This is just a short list of the many LGBTQ flicks being offered this season. Check your local listings for air days and times. Happy watching!