TV + Movies

Queer Christmas: For The Love For Classics, Sapphics, And Genre Benders

While Christmas has for long served as a way to cement traditions within the realm of birth-family as a social unit in the most straight manner possible, queer people have taken up the charge of kissing their partner(s) under the mistletoe and celebrating the holidays surrounded by their lovers, friends, pets, plants and whoever else makes up their chosen family.

Christmas is a time for queer festivities to begin, as mandated by our queen Mariah Carey whose eternal Christmas anthem All I want for Christmas is You is once again back to being number one in everybody’s hearts. Pop girlies including Ariana Grande and Kelly Clarkson have also had anthems climb to the top of the X-mas time charts. And of course, Sexy Santa with its sensual vibe has been a part of gay culture and forever-proclaimed Hoe! Hoe! Hoe! to add to this iconicity, Cardi B also released a very fun version of Last Christmas, which is sure to blow you away and make you laugh like anything.

And while Christmas has for long served as a way to cement traditions within the realm of birth-family as a social unit in the most straight manner possible, queer people have taken up the charge of kissing their partner(s) under the mistletoe and celebrating the holidays surrounded by their lovers, friends, pets, plants and whoever else makes up their chosen family. At Gaysi, we are bringing to you a list of the queer-est christmas themed movies that will have you laughing, crying and having the best time together.

The Classics

Tangerine (2015)

Make the Yuletide Gay (2009)

Frozen (2014)

Home Alone (1990)

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Starring Kitana Kiki Rodriguez in the lead, Sean Baker’s comedy drama follows the story of a trans sex worker on a christmas eve as she heads out to take revenge on her cheating boyfriend.  Tangerine is remarkably unique in the way it instills all the applause it deserves through hardships and sass, particularly during the wig sharing scene at the end. Shot entirely on an iPhone 5S, it’s a refreshing trope on movies centered on friendship and festivities, akin to how 2020‘s Never Rarely Sometimes Always is a heart-wrenching spin on male-dominated buddy movies.

The title of our second movie Make the Yuletide Gay, comes from the 1994 Christmas song Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. A movie ahead of its time, it was one of the first major plotlines in a Christmas themed movie focussing on queer characters. It’s light hearted and fun and is loved by queer people of all ages.

Disney’s Frozen might not have the sapphic Elsa that we all deserve yet but the movie has become a bona fide queer Christmas classic. Be it expanding upon the meaning of true love to beyond the cishet understanding of romance or having a coming out anthem like ‘Let it Go,’ or even Olaf as a snowman-companion, it checks all the boxes for a queer classic.

A classic listicle is incomplete without one of the most loved movies of all time, where you have Catherine O’Hara (the actor behind the iconic Moira Rose from Schitt’s Creek) playing an absent-minded parent. Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is perhaps the most critically adored movie in this list after Carol. It is also one of the greatest stop motion animation movies of all time where the convergence of halloween town and christmas town makes for an eternal story.

Sapphic Treats

Happiest Season (2020)

Season of Love (2019)

Carol (2015)

The lesbians are here and they know christmas better than anyone else, period. We start with Netflix’s Happiest Season that tackled not just love amidst festivities, but also the complex issues in a sapphic relationship in a delicate manner. It also won the GLAAD award for Film – Wide Release and the Kristen Stewart-Mackenzie Davis pair is returning (Stewart in multiple queer women roles actually) in an upcoming sequel.

Next up is Season of Love, which has been described as Love, Actually butfor queer people. A typical cheesy rom-com, it follows three sapphic couples as they fall in love over the holiday season. Notably, the movie is by Tello Films, a one-of-its-kind movie production and distribution studio with exclusive focus on lesbian/queer femme-themed movies and web series.

Rounding up the second section is Todd Haynes ‘s 2015 drama Carol. Starring Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett in the lead, the riveting drama follows a tender relationship between a woman going through a divorce and an aspiring photographer. It is widely considered the best-reviewed movie of 2015 and the best LGBT-themed film of all time as per British Film Institute, and has been counted amongst one of the greatest films of the 21st century by BBC. Although tragically omitted by the Academy awards for Best Picture and Best Director along with being marred by controversies regarding it’s love scenes, Carol managed to garner cult status with the formation of a cult of Carol and a tribute comedy movie Carol Support Group. Some movies change your life forever!

Queer Christmas Reinvented

Black Christmas (1974)

White Christmas (2016)

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010)

Anna and the Apocalypse (2017)

Ofcourse, even the holiday spirit deserves some genre-bending; and horror and slasher has been the top choice. Even with multiple horror entries embedded into Christmas, Black Christmas is still the standard, decades after its release. And this is a slasher movie before the Halloween series was even a thing! It has been remade twice, with controversy arising both times from religious institutions for portraying violence during Christmas. Netflix’s Black Mirror alsodid an episode in 2016 titled White Christmas, one of the best and most-disturbing of the series so far.

Next is the Finnish horror comedy Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, which you need to see to believe! It has been hailed as the R-rated origin story of Santa Claus crossing over with the horror classic, The Thing.

We round off this section by switching to comedy, through the Christmas zombie musical Anna and the Apocalypse. Once again, if you think comedies around zombies are fun and gory, wait till you see this one, as it’s based on Christmas and through music! I mean, what’s better than smacking zombies with a candy cane while caroling.

The 2020s Era

Single All The Way (2021)

Dashing In December (2020)

The Bitch Who Stole Christmas (2021)

All of Jonathan Bennet’s Gay Christmas (2020-present)

While we still wait for that one iconic queer Christmas movie, the 2020s have actually blessed us with cute, cheesy and funny Christmas movies. Netflix’s Single All the Way is one of the best entries, starring queer icon Jennifer Cooldige in a supporting role. Others include romantic drama like Dashing in December where Christmas meets country, extending to Ru Paul himself blessing us in The Bitch Who Stole Christmas, the draggiest Christmas movie ever.

Coming out at the top (pun intended) among all these movies, Jonathan Bennett is the Christmas movie guy and now gay as well. He has been consistently featured in christmas movies, most of which in the past few years have been gay-themed and even some of the first releases with a queer lead for studios and streaming services like Hallmark’s The Holiday Sitter. This year has a lot in store and here are some to watch out for – Christmas on Cherry Lane, A Holiday I do, The Holiday Exchange, Friends and Family Christmas.

Are there any Christmas themed queer movies that we missed out on? What Christmas themed queer movies are you excited to watch this year? Do share it with us in the comments!

One thought on “Queer Christmas: For The Love For Classics, Sapphics, And Genre Benders

  1. I absolutely loved reading this article! 🌈❄️ It’s heartwarming to see how queer people have embraced Christmas and made it their own, celebrating with partners, friends, and chosen family. Mariah Carey’s Christmas anthem is indeed timeless! 🎶💖

    The list of Christmas movies is fantastic, and I appreciate the diversity in genres. “Tangerine” is a unique gem, and “Carol” is a masterpiece. It’s great to see more queer representation in holiday films, like “Happiest Season” and “Dashing in December.” 🎬👏

    I can’t wait to watch some of these movies and get into the festive spirit. Thanks for sharing these recommendations! 🎅🎄✨

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Rajeev completed their under graduation in Political Science Hons. from Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi in 2020. They graduated with Masters in Women’s Studies from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai in 2022 and were a participant at the International Writing Program’s Summer Institute, University of Iowa for the 2021-22 session. They have been the recipient of Mavelinadu Collective’s grant for non-fiction for the first issue of Debrahminising Gender. Their work can be found in EPW, Women’s Link Journal, Shuddhashar, Gaysi Family, Feminism in India and Hindu College Gazette among others. Their research interests include queer experiences, feminist ethics of care, and masculinities.

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