Last year saw a flurry of LGBTQ-inclusive Christmas movies from Lifetime, Hallmark and other networks and streaming services. The tradition continues in 2021, with films starring RuPaul, Michael Urie, Jonathan Bennet and more — plus appearances by gay favorites like Jennifer Coolidge.
Plan your holiday season binge-watching sessions accordingly with these upcoming movies and specials.
‘Christmas at the Ranch’
Dec. 1 , Tello Films
Raised by her grandmother (Lindsay Wagner of “The Bionic Woman”), city slicker Haley (Laur Allen) is summoned home to Tennessee by her brother (Archie Kao), who needs her help to save the family ranch from foreclosure (a familiar enough scenario to fans of TV Christmas movies). Haley is reluctant to get involved but finally gets the Christmas spirit — and some real chemistry with ranch hand Kate (Amanda Righetti).
Launched in 2009, TelloFilms.com describes itself as the first streaming network dedicated to telling stories about queer women.
‘Single All the Way’
Dec. 2, Netflix
Tony-winning director Michael Mayer (“Spring Awakening”) helms Netflix’s first gay holiday film, which sees perpetually single Peter (Michael Urie) begging his best friend, Nick (Philemon Chambers), to come home with him and pretend to be his boyfriend to put an end to his family’s constant meddling. But the ruse is put to the test when his mother (another gay fave, Kathy Najimy) sets him up with her hunky trainer (“Brothers and Sisters” actor Luke Macfarlane).
Kudos to “Single All the Way” for casting three out actors as gay characters — and for casting Jennifer Coolidge, period.
‘The Bitch Who Stole Christmas’
Dec. 2, VH1
RuPaul expands his empire with his first holiday movie, which sees the drag icon playing a grinchy fashion editor who sends journalist Krysta Rodriguez (Netflix’s “Halston”) to a small town obsessed with Christmas. But far from a winter wonderland, she encounters “cut-throat housewives, a high-stakes ‘Winter Ball’ competition and a sinister plot that could destroy Christmas fore-evah!” according to the film’s synopsis.
Also on board for the special, produced by MTV and World of Wonder, are “RuPaul’s Drag Race” judges Michelle Visage and Ross Mathews, “The Other Two” star Andy Ridings, pop singer Kim Petras, Charo and nearly two dozen “Drag Race” alumni — including Ginger Minj, Peppermint, Gottmik and Kylie Sonique Love.
‘The Great British Baking Show: Holidays’
Dec. 3, Netflix
Former contestants return to the tents for a pair of holiday-themed episodes: In “The Great Christmas Baking Show,” out comic Tom Allen subs for Noel Fielding to co-host with gay presenter Matt Lucas as season nine’s Jon Jenkins and Kim-Joy Hewlett and season 11’s Hermine and Rowan Williams whip up wondrous Yuletide treats.
“The showstopper challenge, they’ve got to make a festive feast illusion cake,” judge Paul Hollywood teased, according to Variety.
In “The Great New Year’s Baking Show,” it’s season five winner Nancy Birtwhistle up against season nine champion Rahul Mandal and two contestants from season 19: Gay nerd Henry Bird and witchy Helena Garcia.
Earlier this month, “The Great British Bake Off” producers also announced the cast of the acclaimed British AIDS drama “It’s a Sin” has reunited for a new one-off celebrity edition of the show, but an airdate hasn’t been announced. The holiday-themed episode will see cast members Olly Alexander, Lydia West, Nathaniel Curtis and Shaun Dooley whisk, beat, chop and knead under the watchful eyes of judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith.
‘The Jenkins Family Christmas’
Dec. 4, BET+
After the death of the family patriarch, adult sisters Baneatta and Beverly (Regina Taylor and Kim Coles) try to continue family Christmas traditions despite long-simmering resentments. But the arrival of a previously unknown half-sister could put coal in everyone’s stockings.
Baneatta’s gay son, Kenny (Anthony Chatmon II), brings his boyfriend, Logan (Derek Chadwick), home for the holidays but is given an icy reception. Will Logan’s pushing Kenny to stand up to his overbearing mother bring them closer together or drive them apart?
Robin Givens directs this BET+ seasonal drama, co-starring Tammy Townsend and Robert Gossett.
Dec. 17, Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime’s first entry in the LGBTQ holiday movie game is this five-part miniseries from Gloria Calderón Kellett, showrunner for Netflix’s reboot of “One Day at a Time.”
Each episode is set during a different holiday in one year, following Lily Diaz (Emeraude Toubia) as she navigates a love triangle with hunky suitors Nick and Santiago (played by Desmond Chiam and Rome Flynn).
The queer quotient comes courtesy of Lily’s brother, Jorge, (Mark Indelicato of “Ugly Betty”) — who brings his new boyfriend, Henry (Vincent Rodriguez III), home on Christmas Eve — and from trans model-actress Isis King, playing cousin Sol, who has a “potential blossoming relationship” with a doctor coworker, according to the official synopsis.
‘The Christmas House 2: Deck Those Halls’
Dec. 18, Hallmark Channel
Last year, after sparking outrage by pulling a jewelry ad featuring lesbian brides, Hallmark made amends by featuring the first gay couple in one of its many, many holiday movies: “The Christmas House” scored more than 13 million viewings over the 2020 holiday season, so a sequel was a no-brainer.
In the original, Bill and Phylis Mitchell (Treat Williams and Sharon Lawrence) invited their adult sons home for the holidays, then drop a bomb that they’re selling the family home.
This time around, gay son Brandon (Jonathan Bennet) and his husband, Jake (Brad Harder), compete with Brandon’s straight brother, Mike (Robert Buckley), to see who can create the most festively decorated Christmas house.
‘Under the Christmas Tree’
Dec. 19, Lifetime
Last year, Lifetime debuted its first gaycentric holiday flick, “The Christmas Setup,” and this season, it’s bringing a lesbian romance to the small screen.
In this holiday tale from “The Christmas Setup” screenwriter Michael J. Murray, Christmas tree “whisperer” Charlie Freemont (Tattiawna Jones) finds the perfect tree for the governor’s holiday celebration — right in the backyard of marketing whiz Alma Beltran (Elise Bauman).
While they initially butt heads, according to the official description, “romantic sparks soon begin to fly between the two women as the enchanting tree and some Christmas fairy dust from the town’s pâtissière extraordinaire (Ricki Lake) bring out the best in them,”
Earlier this month, Lifetime programming head Amy Winter told The Wrap that it is important for viewers see themselves represented in holiday fare.
“I feel like we’re the leader when it comes to Christmas and diversity and inclusion and selecting great stories from all different walks of life,” she said. “And that commitment will continue.”