A swath of new Christmas movies and TV shows tumble out of the stocking each year, and 2022 is no exception. The Hallmark Channel alone released an incredible 40 new Christmas titles this year. Netflix has been releasing original Christmas fare for years. Even Amazon Prime Video contributed an original holiday film to the 2022 canon.
If you’re bored of the usual slate of classics and kids Christmas movies, it’s worth adding some of this year’s newcomers to your watch list. They may not all be triumphs of cinematic achievement, but they will definitely deliver holly jolly vibes. (And don’t miss some of last year’s newbies either, like 8-Bit Christmas and Home Sweet Home Alone.) Let’s run through a few of 2022’s festive offerings.
The best new Christmas movies (and shows) of 2022
Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell make for an odd couple in this reimagining of — you guessed it — A Christmas Carol. Ferrell is the Ghost of Christmas Present, but instead of showing Reynolds’ Scrooge the error of his ways, it’s Present who must reexamine his own past, present and future. Expect big musical numbers and the hit of cheer you’re after from this serviceable bite of Christmas confectionary. The flick is also getting a limited run in theaters from Nov. 11.
Also known as A Christmas Story 3, this threequel comes a decade after the previous flick in the Parker family franchise. It all began in 1983 with classic holiday comedy A Christmas Story, following Ralphie reminiscing over his family Christmas. This followup, 30 years later and set in the mid-’70s, sees a grownup Ralphie return to his former home in Indiana, where his mother convinces him to rekindle a magical Christmas of old.
Violent Night (out now in theaters)
Not all Christmas tales are bloodless. This black comedy action flick stars David Harbour as an action hero Santa Claus who steps in to save the day when a group of mercenaries attack a wealthy family’s estate.
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Lindsay Lohan’s comeback includes a nostalgic reprise of her Mean Girls-era rendition of Jingle Bell Rock and a whole lot of Christmas romance tropes. There’s a failing inn, a charming widower, a precocious child and even a Christmas miracle. Lohan stars as a spoiled nepo baby who gets amnesia after an unfortunate skiing accident. She rediscovers the true meaning of Christmas after being rescued by a local single dad and ski lodge manager, with whom she naturally falls in love. Almost every shot includes Christmas string lights in soft bokeh relief.
Erin Simkin/Prime Video
A cross between Breakfast at Tiffany’s, While You Were Sleeping and every other made-for-streaming Christmas movie, Amazon’s contribution to the 2022 lineup features another amnesia MacGuffin. Two men accidentally swap little blue boxes meant for each other’s girlfriend, setting off a comedy of errors when the wrong woman gets a marriage proposal. Do they end up swapping girlfriends, too?
This holiday romp features bigger names (Brittany Snow, Justin Long) and raunchier jokes (thanks to producer Vince Vaughn) than most of the year’s other new Christmas flicks, with just as many twinkle lights. Snow plays Jesse, a recently dumped woman whose ex-boyfriend’s parents invite her to come home for the holidays anyway. Christmas With the Campbells premiered in theaters and is now streaming on AMC Plus.
That it’s a new Freddie Prinze Jr. rom-com may be all many people need to hear before streaming this holiday treacle, which follows a burnt-our pop star who travels to a small town to make a young fan’s Christmas wish come true, finding love (and a Christmas pop hook) along the way.
Part musical Christmas special, part comedy hour, Matt Rogers’ sendup of the yuletide season is chock full of songs, jokes and innuendo. It’s more naughty than nice, a welcome complement to some of the season’s more family-friendly fare.
The perfect Teleparty film for the holiday season is one that’s so bad it’s good, and I Believe in Santa totally fits the bill. A “famously” Christmas-averse journalist falls for a vest-loving lawyer who turns out to be a Christmas superfan. It’s not just that he has a life-size Santa doll in his house (though he very much does). He also believes Santa is real. And the clashing of faiths becomes fertile ground for, well, not quite narrative tension, but at least entertainment.
Yep, it’s another adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but this one is notable for its starry voice cast, including Jessie Buckley, Olivia Colman, Luke Evans and Jonathan Pryce. Netflix says it’s a “supernatural, time-travelling, musical adaptation.” A good one for the kids, for sure.
If you haven’t caught the earlier episodes of this comedy gem on Netflix, this might be a good place to start. The semi-improvised show sees celebrities join Will Arnett’s incompetent detective Terry Seattle on a murder investigation — but these guests haven’t seen the script. It’s up to them to track clues and name the murderer in the end. Jason Bateman and Maya Rudolph are along for the ride in the Christmas special — a lovely gift for the holiday.
How about a Christmas TV show fittingly set closer to the north? This Norwegian limited series follows a group of people stranded at Oslo airport, with the clock counting down to Christmas. Will they make it in time? Will they form unlikely friendships in this time of hardship? Don’t answer these rhetorical questions, just watch the six episodes.
Other new movies to stream this Christmas
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While it’s not strictly a Christmas movie, Disenchanted is a no-brainer to watch over the silly season. It uses the genius idea of turning the pure and loving Giselle into an evil stepmother — technically she became a stepmother in 2007’s Enchanted. This sequel brings back Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden and Idina Menzel, and adds Maya Rudolph.
It’s animated, it’s aimed at all the family and it’s astonishingly good. Guillermo del Toro rarely disappoints and his take on Pinocchio is no exception. More than just a kids’ story, del Toro unfurls a trademark moving gothic fairy tale rooted in what it means to be alive. With significant deviations from the story we all know and memorable new creature creations, including skeletal rabbits and an ethereal wood sprite, this version of Pinocchio is perfect for Christmas. Warning: You will shed a tear at least once.
What better way to spend Christmas than by arguing over a whodunnit. Daniel Craig is back as Benoit Blanc in Rian Johnson’s followup to the mold-breaking Knives Out. This time Craig’s detective tackles a new case abroad with a similarly starry cast, including Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe and Kate Hudson.
This rare pure sci-fi adventure from Disney hits Disney Plus just in time for Christmas. Strange World follows a family of explorers who journey to a monster-crawling world. There, they investigate the cause of a dying plant, while massaging a few family differences on the way.
Netflix’s Christmas Day offering doesn’t take place at Christmas, but it has everything you could ask for from a Christmas movie. Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical is based on Tim Minchin’s hit stage musical. Fill your living room with the barnstorming tunes and the classic tale of a young girl (Alisha Weir) using her magical imagination to outwit an evil headmistress (Emma Thompson). The flick will also have a limited run in theaters from Dec. 9.
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