The Popcorn Periodical
7 New & Buzzworthy Seasonal Movies & TV Shows to watch this Holiday
Season’s Greetings! It’s officially “the most wonderful time of the year!” From gingerbread houses and eggnog, to gift exchanges and holiday parties, December is a magical time filled with Christmas-themed winter fun! Snuggle up on the couch in an over-sized sweater and roast some chestnuts on an open fire, it’s time to watch all your favourite seasonal movies. A Christmas Carol, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Elf are some holiday staples, but are there any new titles worth checking out this year? Some future Christmas classics, perhaps?
I compiled a list of the 7 most joyous, festive, and buzzworthy movies/TV shows/specials this holiday season! Check them out! #Top7
THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY: MAGICAL HOLIDAY CELEBRATION
(Airs Thursday, November 29 at 9:00 PM on ABC, check local listings for repeat times)
“Join singer, songwriter and “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors” host Jordan Fisher and “Modern Family”’s Sarah Hyland as they host the magical two-hour event from the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort. ABC will kick off the holiday season with a star-studded prime-time celebration showcasing incredible musical performances, special appearances and Disney magical moments, including an extraordinary castle lighting spectacular from Disney Parks around the world – travelling the globe from Lake Buena Vista, Florida, and Anaheim, California, to Paris, Shanghai and Hong Kong.”
Don’t miss the magic! This annual holiday special is a 2-hour explosion of all your favourite Disney characters ringing in the season with yuletide, fairy dust, and good cheer, with Gwen Stefani, Meghan Trainer, Becky G, Brett Eldredge and Andrea Bocceli among the musical performers. Christmas at Disney is nearly every kid’s dream, but even as an adult, if you’re unable to make it to the many global Disney theme parks this holiday season, you can at the very least enjoy it from the comfort of your living room.
THE CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES
(Netflix original film, now streaming)
“Siblings Kate and Teddy Pierce hatch a scheme to capture Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. When the plan goes awry, the kids join forces with Saint Nick and his loyal elves to save the holiday before it’s too late.”
From the people who brought you Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Home Alone, comes an all-new holiday tale starring Kurt Russell as jolly ol’ Saint Nick. But this isn’t the same Santa Clause we’re used to hearing about in the storybooks. Reminiscent of the popular 1994 Tim Allen classic, The Santa Clause (with nods to other 90’s holiday favourites like Gremlins and I’ll Be Home For Christmas), this Netflix original film sees Santa Clause, his reindeer, his mischievous elves, and two new little helpers on a holiday adventure (filmed right here on the streets of Toronto) to save Christmas! And wait ’til you see who plays Mrs. Clause!
(Now playing in theatres everywhere)
“The Grinch and his loyal dog, Max, live a solitary existence inside a cave on Mount Crumpet. His main source of aggravation comes during Christmastime when his neighbours in Whoville celebrate the holidays with a bang. When the Whos decide to make Christmas bigger and brighter, the disgruntled Grinch realizes there is one way to gain peace and quiet. With help from Max, the green grump hatches a scheme to pose as Santa Claus, steal Christmas and silence the Whos’ holiday cheer once and for all.”
Dr. Suess’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas has been beloved Christmas classic for decades. Watching the 1966 animated TV special has become a tradition in many households, and the whimsical live-action movie starring Jim Carrey (which hit theatres in the year 2000) gave us a backstory to the Grinch’s holiday mayhem. 18 years later, we have a new Grinch movie, for a new generation of children, presented by Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me, Secret Life of Pets), and starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the groggy green humbug everybody loves to hate to love.
THE HOLIDAY CALENDAR
(Netflix original film, now streaming)
“A struggling but talented photographer inherits an antique holiday advent calendar, the contents of which seem to predict the future, including a budding romance. Will this magical calendar lead her to love this holiday season?“
Starring Kat Graham (TV’s The Vampire Diaries) and Quincy Brown (TV’s Star), this holiday romance caters to the hopeless romantics this Christmas. ‘Tis the season to spread peace and love, and this Netflix original film takes a page from Hallmark’s holiday movie recipe, where feel-good, light-hearted storytelling intertwines with the magic of the season. This is not your average holiday classic, but it makes for the perfect Netflix & Christmas Chill option. At the very least, The Holiday Calendar is a great movie to watch while you wrap your presents and think about that special someone this Christmas.
MARY POPPINS RETURNS
(Opens in theatres everywhere December 19)
“The mysterious Mary Poppins returns to Depression-era London to visit Jane and her brother Michael, now a father of three, and helps them rediscover the joy they knew as children.”
This year, Disney propelled an oversaturated retelling of a holiday classic of all classics: The Nutcracker and the Four Realms opened in theatres everywhere early this November, but considering how poorly received and reviewed it was, I opted to include Disney’s new Mary Poppins sequel, instead. Opening just days before Christmas, Mary Poppins Returns is sure to capture the spirit of the season without dashing through the snow. Actress Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place) is already receiving praise for her portrayal of the magical English nanny and the trailer looks as sweet as a spoonful of sugar!
THE PRINCESS SWITCH
(Netflix original film, now streaming)
“When a down-to-earth Chicago baker and a soon-to-be princess discover they look like twins, they hatch a Christmastime plan to trade places.”
Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical) stars in this holiday mashup of The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday and The Princess Bride, as both a baker named Stacy and an English Duchess named Margret Delacourt. The identical strangers end up trading places so Lady Margaret can experience life as a “normal person” before she dutifully marries the crowned Prince of Belgravia. Part comedy, part romance, part holiday teenage love letter, The Princess Switch is a fun, laid-back movie that rides the nostalgic coattails of the many “identity swap” films that have come before it.
RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE HOLI-SLAY SPECTACULAR
(Airs Friday, December 23 at 8:00 PM on VH1)
“This hour-long special will have former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants Eureka O’Hara, Jasmine Masters, Kim Chi, Latrice Royale, Mayhem Miller, Shangela Laquifa Wadley, Sonique and Trixie Mattel compete to become the first ever Drag Race Christmas Queen!”
Sleigh, Belles! If there’s one thing for certain, the LGBTQ+ community loves a party, and what are the holidays (or should I say holigays) without a party?! F0r the first time in 11 seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race and 4 seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, Mama Ru herself crowns a Christmas Queen! Expect the roasting of chestnuts, the jingling of balls, and some hilarious holiday humour from all your favourite ho ho ho’s!
A MIDWINTER’S TALE (THE CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA)
(Netflix original series, streaming December 14)
“This all-new holiday episode of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (CAOS) will take place during the Church of Night’s annual celebration of the Winter Solstice when families gather around the Yule Fire to sing pagan carols and tell ghost stories, but the holidays are also a time for guests and visitors — both welcome and unwelcome. You never know what might come down the chimney.”
One of the most popular yet poorly represented subcategories of the Christmas season is holiday horror. From movies like Black Christmas and Krampus to TV horror holiday specials on shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, fans are continuously looking for things that go bump in the silent night. With the extremely successful reboot of Sabrina the Teenage Witch debuting on Netflix this past October, it’s been to everyone’s surprise to learn the show will be airing an eerie holiday special in-between seasons, especially after the Satanic Temple sued Netflix for the use of their Baphomet statue. There’s just no stopping the snowballing of Sabrina! Information is scarce, and the trailer for the holiday special has yet to drop, but this pagan gem of a series seems to be the gift that keeps on giving. Hail Satan! I mean, Santa!
Enjoy the show!
HAVE A HAPPY AND SAFE HOLIDAY!
About the Author
Joey Viola is the Co-Founder of MoJo Toronto and an LGBTQ community leader who utilizes his passion and flair for the art of writing by bringing a fresh perspective in reviewing entertainment and advocating for equality, tolerance, and social/political justice.