Find a good sapphic-forward holiday film is like looking for a rainbow needle in a haystack. But they do exist, especially if you know where to look. If you want to enjoy a lesbian holiday movie with your girlfriend but don’t want to sift through all the hetero holiday romcoms on your Smart TV tonight, we’ve got you covered. These are the best holigay movies we could find that offer solid storylines, quality acting, and are, most importantly, unapologetically queer.
Friends and Family Christmas (2023)
I’ve gotta give it to Hallmark—they pulled off a completely delightful lesbian rom-com that’s chock full of holiday goodness that hooked me in right from the start! Ginny & Georgia’s Humberly Gonzalez stars as Dani, a photographer with some slightly overbearing but incredibly sweet parents who try to set her up with a family friend’s daughter, a lawyer named Amelia (played by Bomb Girls Ali Liebert). While the two don’t hit it off right away, Amelia asks Dani if she can be her fake girlfriend for the next few days because she kinda sorta told her dad that they did hit it off and was afraid to say otherwise. The innocent lies quickly snowball from there, but after a while, they also snowball into real feelings and it’s just all kinds of sweet!
Where To Watch: Hallmark Channel on December 17th
Happiest Season (2020)
I know not everyone loves Happiest Season, but it’s still one of my absolute favorites. For one, the cast! Kristen Stewart in a queer holiday romantic comedy is something I hope to see more of, but also there’s Aubrey Plaza, Dan Levy, Alison Brie, and of course, Mackenzie Davis (star of my favorite super-sapphic Black Mirror episode of all time, “San Junipero”). Davis stars as Harper, a queer woman who decides to bring her girlfriend Abby (Stewart) home for the holidays. Except, of course, she hasn’t come out to her family yet, so she expects Abby to just pretend they’re “good friends.” I know it’s frustrating, because we can all see how much more Abby deserves. But, the movie’s still wonderfully made (thanks in large part to famed writer-director Clea DuVall) and ultimately proves this is the happiest season.
Where To Watch: Hulu
Under the Christmas Tree (2021)
Lifetime is one of those channels we all equate with cheesy rom-coms, and while it’s usually been for the white cis-hetero set, there’s at least one newer film that offers lesbian representation. Under the Christmas Tree stars Elise Bauman (Workin’ Moms) as Alma Beltran, as the small town character with perfect Bettie Page bangs who is trying to protect a large tree that’s about to get chopped down to be displayed at the governor’s mansion. Tattiawna Jones (Handmaid’s Tale), meanwhile, plays Charlie Freemont, the government employee looking to take said tree, and bumps heads with Alma in the process. It’s a classic enemies-to-lovers story arc featuring some big name co-stars like Ricki Lake and Enrico Colantoni, and we’re here for it.
Where To Watch: Amazon Prime (Buy for $0.99)
Looking for Her (2022)
Something along the lines of a lesbian-centered version of The Wedding Date or The Perfect Date, Looking for Her is a solid holiday romcom that still brings in new twists to a tried-and-true tale. The premise? Recently-dumped writer Taylor (Olivia Buckle) gets an invitation from her estranged parents to come home for the holidays. However, she doesn’t want to tell her parents about her recent breakup, and decides instead to hire someone to pretend to be her girlfriend. That someone ends up being out-of-work actress Olive (Alexandra Swarens), who is the sort of positively charming human we should all be so lucky to have in our lives. They soon head off and it’s not long before sparks fly. It’s joyful and festive and completely ridiculous in the best way possible (plus shoutout to Kai, Olive’s kind and supportive roommate played by Adrienne Ogle).
Where To Watch: Amazon Prime
Season of Love (2019)
Want lots of lesbian couples front and center in your holiday movies? You’ve got it with queer romcom Season of Love! This ensemble Christmas movie by director and all-around lesbian powerhouse Christin Baker stars some familiar faces, including Dominique Provost-Chalkley (Wynonna Earp), Jessica Clark (True Blood), and Laur Allen (The Young and the Restless). From Iris (played by Emily Goss) being left at the altar, to Lou (Clark) swooning over her deaf neighbor Kenna (Sandra Mae), to guitar-playing Sue (Provost-Chalkley) and her girlfriend Janey (Janelle Marie Rodriguez) just being adorable together, it’s a lighthearted winter flick that leaves everyone feeling good by the time the credits roll.
Where To Watch: Tello
And finally, the one we’ve all been talking about since 2015. Directed by Todd Haynes (whose name you might recognize from the more recent May December or the very queer Velvet Goldmine), this period drama follows a young department store clerk and aspiring photographer named Therese (Rooney Mara) who meets an older woman going through a complicated divorce named Carol (played by everyone’s favorite Cate Blanchett) around the holiday season. The two soon embark on an affair at a time when laws and societal expectations made it all the more difficult for lesbians, and the rest is queer cinema history. Based on the 1952 novel The Price of Salt, the story slowly unfolds in a beautiful and heartbreaking way, and has captured the hearts of just about every queer woman I’ve ever met.
Where to Watch: Netflix