The only reason classic Christmas movies are so cherished is because they came from a time before the great flood of streaming content, back when the idea of a Hallmark Christmas movie was just a glint in the eye of a studio executive. But we no longer have to be beholden to holiday movies we've seen year after year, because Christmas movies are a big business now. This year has been a particularly prolific year for festive films, with Hallmark, Lifetime, Netflix, and more churning out the cheer like this was the last Christmas we'll ever have. No need to dust off that VHS copy of Miracle on 34th Street, flip on the smart TV and watch a new Christmas movie instead.
Below you'll find the best new Christmas movies coming out in 2021, but if you don't find what you're looking for here, check out our list of where to stream the best Christmas movies on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and more.
Note: Not all images and trailers for Hallmark's movies were available as of press time.
Premiered Thursday, Nov. 25 on Hallmark Channel
We've waited seven years for a sequel to The Nine Lives of Christmas, and we finally got it! Brandon Routh and Kimberly Sustad return for another cat-tastic catastrophe when they're cat-tasked with finding a new cat-home for a cat-litter of cat-kittens. Fact: Kittens and Christmas should be in every movie. [Trailer]
Premiered Saturday, Nov. 27 on Hallmark Channel
It's not a Hallmark Christmas without a Lacey Chabert movie, and this year's is Christmas at Castle Hart, in which Chabert plays a woman who goes to Ireland to learn about her Irish roots. There, she meets the Earl of Glaslough, who mistakes her for an event planner and has her plan his epic Christmas party. This stuff writes itself. [Trailer]
Premiered Sunday, Nov. 28 on Hallmark Channel
I thought this might be a holiday riff on the classic Seinfeld episode, "The Contest," but it's a hands-above-the-table love story about two exes (Hallmark mainstay Candace Cameron Bure and John Brotherton) who become rivals in their town's contest to win money for charity. But what they'll really win is each other's hearts. [Trailer]
Premiered Friday, Dec. 3 on Hallmark Channel
Why should Christmas get all the fun? Jewish people love to have important jobs in the big city but return to their quaint hometown for the holidays to remember what the holidays are all about and fall in love with someone with a weird occupation, too. The details here are slim — Lucifer's Inbar Lavi celebrates Hanukkah by searching for her secret admirer — but what more do you need?
Note: Not all trailers for Lifetime's movies were available as of press time.
Premiered November 26 on Lifetime
Country star Reba McEntire plays one half of a former music duo who is years past her professional and personal breakup with her longtime partner (John Schneider), but because this is a Christmas movie, their daughter convinces them to reunite for her school concert, and musical genius — and love — flows once again. [Trailer]
Premiered November 27 Lifetime
Child, it was Kelly Rowland's destiny to be a Lifetime Christmas movie star, and the singer/actress returns for her third movie in the Liddle franchise with Merry Liddle Christmas Baby. See, the first movie introduced the characters and brought them love, the second saw the couple take the next step with marriage, so naturally, the third one is all about expanding the family by pushing out some kids. It's right there in the song: First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the third movie in the trilogy featuring babies. [Trailer]
Premiered November 28 Lifetime
Tia Mowry stars in this cheeky film about a Detroit woman who heads up her church's annual Christmas pageant and makes the mistake of overpromising that Motown legend Smokey Robinson will perform. With the help of her ex, they go on a quest to get Smokey and maybe — MAYBE — fan the old flames of love. Does she get Smokey to perform? We may never know... maybe that picture of her with Smokey Robinson about to perform holds a clue?
Premiered December 3 on Lifetime
It's reunions galore in A Christmas Dance Reunion, in which a lawyer (High School Musical's Monique Coleman) helps the Winterleigh Resort celebrate its final Christmas season by throwing a party loaded with Christmas traditions, including the grand Christmas Dance. But when she's there, she meets up once again with the owner's nephew (High School Musical's Corbin Bleu), and you'll never guess what happens next unless your guess was that they get back together. [Trailer]
Premiered December 12 Lifetime
Haylie "Not Hilary" Duff and Aaron O'Connell play a couple on the verge of engagement at their favorite holiday getaway, but can their families, who join them on this Christmas vacation, get along? They had better, or there might not be a sequel.
Premieres Sunday, December 19 at 8/7c on Lifetime
The fact that this is a same-sex Christmas romance on Lifetime is fascinating and wonderful, but it's also, somehow, only the second most interesting thing about this film. The biggest draw here is that one character is described by the network as "a Christmas tree whisperer," which, whatever that is, is amazing. Don't whisperers tame things or calm them with a preternatural sense of kinship or comfort? If she's a Christmas tree whisperer, then that would make me one, too, because no Christmas trees have ever run away from me. Anyway, in the movie, the Christmas tree whisperer mixes it up with a marketing whiz when the perfect tree is in her backyard. Ricki Lake plays the town's pâtissière, and Lifetime says she uses some Christmas fairy dust to get the sparks going between the two main characters. This sounds like it may be the greatest Christmas movie ever made. [Trailer]
Now on Netflix; premiered Nov. 16
If your favorite actress is Vanessa Hudgens, then I have some pretty good news for you. The third movie in the Princess Switch franchise is here, with Hudgens once again playing three different characters, all of whom are royalty. This time — hoo boy, get ready for this — the trio must stop a jewel thief from getting away with the Vatican's most prized treasure, the Star of Peace. And yes, there will be some princess switching. [Trailer]
Now on Netflix; premiered Nov. 5
Sick of the same old "hot girl meets hot guy at Christmas" rom-com and looking for something different? Jimmy O. Yang plays a not-traditionally-hot guy who catfishes an unlucky-in-love writer (Nina Dobrev), who decides to surprise him in person for the holidays. When she finds out who he really is, he makes a deal to get her the guy he was pretending to be (Darren Barnet). Christmas magic ensues (after several comical rom-com adventures, of course). [Trailer]
Now on Netflix; premiered Nov. 26
Based on Matt Haig's 2016 book, A Boy Called Christmas is a sorta Santa Claus origin story about 11-year-old Nikolas who journeys to the North Pole to find his missing father and ends up saving an Elven village from losing its spirit. There's an adorable CGI mouse in it, something that is sorely lacking from the Hallmark movies above. [Trailer]
Now on Netflix; premiered Dec. 2
Single All the Way is this year's play on the perpetually single adult returning home for the holidays only to be grilled by his family about why they're single all the time. This time Michael Urie plays the single person, and he brings along his best friend (Philemon Chambers) to pretend to be his boyfriend. But their plans get ruined when the family plays matchmaker, only to later realize that he should be with his best friend instead. Let this be a lesson to you all: Marry your best friend immediately! [Trailer]
Now on Apple TV+; premiered Nov. 26
You know those people who start blasting Christmas music on Nov. 1? Jeremy Morris is one of those people, to the nth degree. The Christmas fanatic is the subject of this documentary, which follows Morris as he tries to festively light up his house like he wants it seen from the North Pole but runs into problems with one of the world's most sinister groups: the neighborhood homeowners association. [Trailer]
Now on HBO Max; premiered Nov. 24
People these days don't understand the 1983 classic A Christmas Story because they don't understand wanting a BB gun so badly. But make it a Nintendo, and they'll see what the fuss was about. That's essentially the premise of this film, in which a man (Neil Patrick Harris) recalls everything he went through to try to get a Nintendo Entertainment System for Christmas when he was a kid in the 1980s. In 20 years we'll get a movie about a boy who really wanted Robux for Christmas. [Trailer]
Premiered Sunday, Nov. 28 at 8/7c on The CW
OK, who let grandpa get control of The CW's schedule? The CW, known for its young superheroes and troublemaking teenagers, is going back, back, back in TV history with a new The Waltons Christmas special 50 years after the first The Waltons holiday special, A Homecoming: A Christmas Story, aired on CBS and launched the long-running family drama. In this update, the Depression-era family gathers for a Depression-era Christmas, but John Boy (Logan Shroyer) must set out into the wilderness to search for his dad (Ben Lawson) when doesn't show for Christmas dinner. Some things never change.
Premiered Wednesday, Dec. 1 on The Roku Channel
Zoey's Extraordinary Christmas could make for an extra extraordinary Christmas if enough people watch the Roku original film. As Roku attempts to get into original programming, it's considering saving Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist since NBC canceled the musical dramedy after two seasons, and a lot of that decision will come down to how the Christmas film does (Seasons 1 and 2 are now on Roku). But enough of the show's life-or-death situation, what's the film about? Zoey (Jane Levy) tries to recreate the holiday magic she's familiar with during her first Christmas without her father. You want to see the cast belt out carols? You will get to see the cast belt out some carols. [Trailer]
Premiered Friday, Dec. 3 on AMC+
Keira Knightley stars in this British dark comedy about a family gathering for Christmas in the English countryside. You're saying, "That doesn't sound dark at all!" but I left out one little detail: It's the end of the world, as a deadly cloud of poisonous gas is coming to wipe out all of humanity the next morning. Better get those Christmas returns in early! [Trailer]
Now on Disney+; premiered Nov. 12
It has "sweet" in the title, so it's not exactly a remake of the 1990 Macaulay Culkin classic, but it does feature a young boy (Jojo Rabbit's Archie Yates) accidentally left behind when his family goes on vacation over Christmas and leaves him to fend off a pair of criminals trying to break into the house. Yep, the "sweet" makes all the difference. [Trailer]