The best 2022 holiday specials, Christmas movies, and sports to stream

15 mins
best holiday specials and christmas movies to stream

‘Tis the season for Christmas moviesholiday specials, and seasonal sports! For decades, TV events like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Thanksgiving NFL games (always featuring the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions) have been as essential to the holiday as turkey and pumpkin pie. And the moment Thanksgiving is over? Clear out for A Charlie Brown Christmas and made-for-TV Hallmark movies!

With the advent (lol) of streaming, holiday content has only multiplied (and now Christmas movies start coming out in October). Hysterically cheesy movies about a small town gal coming home from the big city aren’t just a cottage industry on the Hallmark Channel; they’re also on Lifetime, BET, ION, Netflix, and Great American Family (whatever that is). The Food Network has holiday-themed cooking competitions; HBO has high-minded Santa documentaries; and Disney Plus has everyone from Pentatonix to the Guardians of the Galaxy doing holiday specials.

Whether you’re a sucker for Santa or a Scrooge, there’s plenty of great holiday content to stream in 2022 (plus a little tournament called The World Cup thrown in just for kicks). Read on for our massive roundup, and settle in for a long winter’s…binge.

Holiday specials and TV shows
Holiday movies
Holiday sports streaming
The most ridiculous made-for-TV holiday movies (based purely on titles)

Holiday specials and TV shows

The Santa Clauses

Release date: November 16
Where: Disney Plus

This new miniseries based on the 1994 film sees Tim Allen return as a reluctant Santa Claus. Elizabeth Mitchell, David Krumholtz, and Kal Penn will also star.

Best in Snow

Release date: November 18
Where: Disney Plus

Tituss Burgess hosts this reality competition show where teams compete to carve 20-ton blocks of snow into famous Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Muppet characters.

Fraggle Rock: Night of the Lights Holiday Special

Release date: November 18
Where: Apple TV+

The Fraggles head out on an adventure to find the brightest light to wish upon, and just might discover the true holiday cheer along the way. Tony winner Daveed Diggs headlines the voice cast.

The Great British Baking Show: Holidays

Release date: November 18
Where: Netflix

Each year Britain’s coziest show outdoes itself with holiday-themed challenges featuring bakers from seasons past. This year’s crop includes Bake Off runner-up Kim-Joy and her castmate Jon.

The Great Christmas Light Fight

Release date: November 28
Where: ABCHulu

Tune in for the tenth season of this popular seasonal reality competition, in which neighbors and families compete against each other to have the highest electricity bill…and win 50,000 USD.

Reindeer in Here

Release date: November 29
Where: CBS / Paramount+

This new one-hour animated special is based on Adam Reed’s award-winning Christmas book about a young reindeer with one antler significantly smaller than the other. The cast features the voices of Adam Devine, Jim Gaffigan, Henry Winkler, and self-proclaimed Christmas movie maven Candace Cameron Bure.

The Laughter & Secrets of Love Actually: 20 Years Late

Release date: November 29
Where: ABCHulu

This one-hour ABC News special hosted by Diane Sawyer will see key cast members including Emma Thompson, Hugh GrantLaura Linney, Bill Nighy, and Thomas Brodie-Sangster come together to reminisce about the treacly British film that’s become a Christmas classic (at least in some corners). It will air live on ABC and stream the next day on Hulu.

Interrupting Chicken Holiday Special

Release date: December 2
Where: Apple TV+

Based on another award-winning children’s book series, this animated holiday special finds a Scrooge-like Ebenezer Wolf attempting to cancel the holidays, until Piper the loquacious chicken teams up with the Three Little Pigs (and some ghostly friends) to change his mind.

Pentatonix: Around the World for the Holidays

Release date: December 2
Where: Disney Plus

In this unscripted musical special, the a capella supergroup takes a magical trip around the world to discover local holiday traditions and gain inspiration for their new holiday album.

The Snoopy Show: Holiday Collection

Release date: December 2
Where: Apple TV+

Apple TV’s next-gen Peanuts show has a holiday special entitled “Happiness Is the Gift of Giving,” in which Charlie Brown makes gifts for his friends, Snoopy adapts a Christmas poem, then finds it hard to wait to open his presents.

The Greatest Holiday Commercials Countdown

Release date: December 7
Where: The CW

If you’re like us and can’t help but feel warm, fuzzy, and nostalgic watching holiday commercials, you, too, might enjoy this roundup of 12 holiday commercials from around the world (plus perhaps some bonus classics).

Baking It: Celebrity Holiday Edition

Release date: December 12
Where: NBC / Peacock

Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph host Season 2 of this reality competition show, where celebrities “cele-bake” in a friendly competition (judged by a panel of discerning grandmothers) to raise dough for their favorite charities. Following the celebrity holiday special, regular episodes will air weekly.

Dr. Pimple Popper: With Every Cyst-mas Card I Write

Release date: December 15
Where: Discovery+

Dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee has millions of YouTube followers who tune in to watch her extract blemishes of all sorts from the heads and bodies of her gracious patients. She’s spun it off into eight seasons of a hit show on TLC (available to stream via cord-cutting services, or on Discovery+), and now has her very own holiday special with perhaps the grossest, most pun- (pus?) tastic title of all time. According to the synopsis, ”In this one-hour special, Dr. Lee and her assistant are rockin’ around the Christmas tree as they recreate scenes from their favorite holiday movies and make cards for their patients. In between the holiday cheer, Dr. Lee and her staff bring joy as they help their patients look and feel their best festive selves.”

LEGO Masters: Celebrity Holiday Bricktacular

Release date: December 19-21
Where: Fox / Hulu

This three-night holiday special (airing December 19-21) will see celebrities team up with past fan-favorite builders to create elaborate holiday-themed structures for charity. The late Leslie Jordan was meant to co-host with Will Arnett; it’s unclear if a new host will join instead.

The Detectorists Holiday Special

Release date: Late December
Where: BBC iPlayer

This lovely, gentle show about a community of metal detecting enthusiasts in an English village went off the air five years ago, but is set to return for a one-off, 75-minute holiday special that will air on BBC2. An exact air date has not been announced, other than to say it will be “between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.”

Holiday movies

Menorah in the Middle

Release date: November 3
Where: Hulu

This straight-to-streaming movie puts a Jewish spin on the traditional holiday movie trope: the heroine travels back to her hometown for Hanukkah to help her family save their bakery (trading Christmas cookies for challah and rugelach) and reconnects with an old flame. The humor is also a cut above, helped by the presence of Sarah Silverman as a celebrity food influencer.

Falling for Christmas

Release date: November 10
Where: Netflix

Lindsay Lohan stars as a pampered heiress with amnesia alongside Glee’s Chord Overstreet as an almost-certainly surly ski lodge owner (and her eventual love interest, we assume).

A Christmas Story Christmas

Release date: November 17
Where: HBO Max

Fans of A Christmas Story will rejoice to hear that Peter Billingsley (Ralphie) and many of the other original cast members are returning to play adult versions of their characters in this sequel to the beloved 1983 cult comedy classic.

Christmas Party Crashers

Release date: November 17
Where: BET

This actually seems like a pretty awesome idea; two ambitious entrepreneurs team up to crash corporate holiday parties in hopes of networking their way to a big break.

Santa Camp

Release date: November 17
Where: HBO Max

This sweet-looking documentary pays a visit to the New England Santa Society, a non-profit in New Hampshire that trains up Santas in the summertime so they can spread holiday cheer near and far come December.

Christmas With You

Release date: November 17
Where: Netflix

Freddie Prinze Jr. follows other ’90s stars down the well-trodden holiday path in this rom-com about a pop star who grants a Christmas wish and finds inspiration for a hit holiday song along the way.


Release date: November 18
Where: Apple TV+

Ryan Reynolds stars as the Scrooge character in this comedic, musical, modern-day spin on A Christmas Carol, with Will Ferrell as a delightfully goofy spirit guide.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Release date: November 23
Where: Apple TV+

This animated classic isn’t new, and is already available to stream for Apple TV+ customers, but it will be free to everyone from November 23-27 (with additional Peanuts holiday classics streaming free in December).

Christmas on Mistletoe Farm

Release date: November 23
Where: Netflix

A tad less edgy than Netflix’s other Christmas movie entrants, this one hits all the traditional marks with a widowed father who inherits and must save his family’s struggling Christmas tree farm.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

Release date: November 25
Where: Disney Plus

James Gunn wrote and directed this one-off special that brings the whole Marvel gang (including Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Zoe Saldana, and Bradley Cooper) together for a journey to Earth to get Peter Quill/Star Lord the best Christmas present ever. Kevin Bacon will also appear.

The Hip Hop Nutcracker

Release date: November 25
Where: Disney Plus

Although Mikhail Baryshnikov makes a special appearance in this musical dance extravaganza, it’s very much a modern spin on Tchaikovsky’s Christmas classic. Rev Run narrates, Caché Melvin stars as Marie-Clara, and luminaries like Kurtis Blow and Jabbawockeez (as snowflakes) also appear.

Mickey Saves Christmas

Release date: November 27
Where: Disney Plus

Lest you think the holiday magic will ever stop on Disney Plus, think again. In this stop-motion special, Mickey, Minnie, and the gang gather to celebrate in a cozy cabin but will travel to the North Pole to help Santa find all of his lost presents (discovering—you guessed it!—the true meaning of the holiday along the way).

Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas

Release date: December 1
Where: NBC / Peacock

This two-hour film featuring the recent Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee follows her quest to “uplift an exhausted world’s spirits by sharing unique ‘mountain magic’ on a journey guided by ‘Three Wise Mountain Men.’” Look for special appearances by Willie Nelson, Jimmy Fallon, Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus, and many others.

Scrooge: A Christmas Carol

Release date: December 2
Where: Netflix

This musical, animated retelling of the holiday classic features the voices of Luke Evans, Olivia Colman, Jonathan Pryce, and others.

Reno 911! It’s a Wonderful Heist

Release date: December 3
Where: Comedy Central / Paramount+

The cast of Comedy Central’s absurd early-aughts mockumentary show is reuniting once again (following last year’s The Hunt for QAnon) for a holiday special. Lieutenant Dangle, who wishes he’d never been born, learns from a roller-skating “Angel” just how much better off the other deputies would be if he’d never existed. And of course there are still Christmas crimes to solve!

Christmas, Bloody Christmas

Release date: December 9
Where: Shudder

The perfect antidote to sappy Christmas movies, this slasher flick follows an army of animatronic Santa robots gone rogue. It’s not every day you hear the line “Santa killed the kid next door!” For a bonus dose of holiday violence, we’re pretty excited to check out David Harbour in Violent Night (sadly only in theaters for now).

Something from Tiffany’s

Release date: December 9
Where: Amazon Prime Video

Prime Video’s entrant into the made-for-streaming movie fray is this rom-com produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine (and this, too, is based on a popular book). Zoey Deutch stars as a New York woman whose life is upended by an engagement ring meant for someone else (we assume it will be co-lead Kendrick Sampson).

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Release date: Streaming free December 22-25
Where: Apple TV+

The animated holiday classic about the world’s saddest Christmas tree (and disappointing commercialism) will be free for the whole world to stream from December 22-25.

Holiday sports streaming 2022

Rugby fans have already been treated to some great matchups during the Autumn Internationals; tune in for three more rounds (with plenty of free streaming options) from November 19-26.

Just in case you somehow missed it, the FIFA World Cup kicks off on November 20 and will run through to December 18 (as pop culture junkies we’re enjoying this commercial featuring Jon Hamm as a perturbed Santa Claus annoyed that Ronaldo might steal his thunder).

The NFL’s Thanksgiving games are always a fun tradition, but this year’s slate (on November 24) looks especially enticing, with all three matchups featuring teams with winning records: The Giants and Cowboys face off in the early game with first place in their division at stake; the Patriots and Vikings (currently 8-1) clash in the late afternoon tilt; and the Bills will meet the feisty Lions in the primetime game. The regular season concludes in early January, with the Playoffs (now featuring an extra Wild Card team) kicking off on January 14, 2023.

November is also a great time for college football rivalry games: undefeated archrivals Ohio State and Michigan will meet on November 26, while No. 1-ranked Georgia will look to cap a perfect season when it plays LSU on December 3. The college bowl season will start on December 16 with the Bahamas Bowl, culminating with the College Football Playoff running from December 31 through January 9, 2023.

NBA fans can look forward to five games on Christmas Day, highlighted by playoff rematches featuring the Warriors vs. the Grizzlies and the Celtics vs. the Bucks.

The NHL’s Winter Classic is always a wintry treat that celebrates the fun of outdoor hockey; this year’s edition should be no exception when the first-place Boston Bruins host the Pittsburgh Penguins at Boston’s legendary Fenway Park on January 2, 2023.

Most ridiculous made-for-TV holiday movies (based purely on titles)

By now we’ve made it pretty clear that we have a soft spot for ridiculous holiday movies on the Hallmark Channel and elsewhere. There are literally hundreds made every year now (EW has an excellent roundup of 157 titles for 2022), and we can’t possibly spotlight them all, but we do want to shout out somed based purely on their pun-tastic titles and ridiculously detailed synopses:

We Wish You a Married Christmas (October 22, Hallmark)

Catering Christmas (October 29, Great American Family)
“A fledgling caterer, Molly Frost, is hired by Jean Harrison, the perfectionistic director of the renowned Harrison Foundation, to cater this year’s annual Christmas Gala dinner.”
Is “perfectionistic” actually a word?

Lights, Camera, Christmas! (November 5, Hallmark)

The Royal Nanny (November 12, Hallmark)
“Claire is an MI5 agent who goes undercover as the royal nanny. She must overcome the challenges of her assignment, like resisting the charms of Prince Colin, while keeping the family safe at Christmas.”

Merry Swissmas (November 5, Lifetime)

Christmas at the Golden Dragon (November 13, Hallmark)
“When a beloved Midwestern Chinese restaurant announces it’s closing right before Christmas, it prompts their clientele to re-examine their relationships in a series of interconnected stories amid the chaos of its busiest week of the year.”

Sweet Navidad (November 17, Lifetime)

A Christmas Karen (November 18, VOD)
Karen centers on an entitled, egocentric middle-aged woman named Karen, whose demanding and inconsiderate nature has alienated her from her neighbors and family alike. After a series of instances displaying her privilege, prejudice and bad attitude on Christmas Eve, Karen receives an ‘intervention’ by three unconventional spirits who take her on a much-needed journey of self-awareness and self-reflection.”
Sounds pretty darn zeitgeisty. 

Santa Bootcamp (November 19, Lifetime)

Three Wise Men and a Baby (November 19, Hallmark)
“Three brothers are surprised when they find themselves forced to care for a baby during the holidays, during the journey they begin to rebuild their relationships as brothers while rediscovering their love for Christmas.”

The Christmas Clapback (November 24, BET+)

Christmas at the Drive-In (November 25, Great American Family)
“A property lawyer works to prove that her town’s drive-in theater, a local institution, is not closed down at the holidays, finding romance with the very person who is trying to sell the property.”
Could this one—starring Danica McKellar, no less—hit all the classic tropes any harder? Nope, we don’t think so.

A Royal Corgi Christmas (November 25, Hallmark)

Steppin’ Into the Holiday (November 25, Lifetime)
“Former Broadway star, Billy Holiday, returns to his hometown for Christmas after being abruptly fired as the host-producer-judge of the hit TV series ‘Celebrity Dance Off.’ While there, he encounters Rae, the charismatic owner of the local dance studio, where Billy’s 12-year-old nephew is her standout student. This Christmas Rae is planning a dance recital fundraiser with the goal of taking her students to see a Broadway show in New York City. Billy volunteers to help Rae with the recital by reviving the town’s traditional Christmas Eve show which was once a showcase for local talent. With Billy’s knack for producing and Rae’s knowledge of all things local, their collaboration clicks, and romantic sparks start flying!”
Bonus points for starring Mario Lopez and giving away basically the entire plot in the synopsis.

A Christmas Cookie Catastrophe (November 27, Hallmark)
We shudder to think!

Sappy Holiday (December 1, UPtv)
“When a sous chef accidentally discovers her boyfriend is going to propose to her on Christmas Eve, she begins doubting their future together; especially when a handsome maple farmer rescues her from a snowstorm.”
Best. Title. Ever.

Cloudy With a Chance of Christmas (December 2, Hallmark)

All I Didn’t Want for Christmas (December 7, VH1)

A Belgian Chocolate Christmas (December 11, Great American Family)
“A photographer takes her best friend’s place at a Belgian culinary school at the holidays and connects with the chocolatier leading the class. As romance begins to bloom, the only problem is a case of mistaken identity.”

Single and Ready to Jingle (December 11, Lifetime)

Hanukkah on Rye (December 18, Hallmark)

What are you most looking forward to streaming this holiday season? Let us know in the comments, or drop your all-time favorite made-for-TV movie name!

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