This year has been a lot! Who doesn’t want to call on Christmas a little early? I do.
I spent the weekend binge-watching Christmas television on Netflix. It was a welcome release. I'm also looking forward to watching holiday movies on the Hallmark Channel, the Lifetime Network, and ABC's Freeform. If you’re ready for the magic and wonder of the holidays, then this is the binge-watching list for you.
DASH & LILY
Dash & Lily is Netflix’s latest rom-com series that embodies the feelings associated with spending Christmas in New York City. You either love it, or hate it.
The series is based on the 2010 YA novel “Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares” by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.
It follows the two title characters around New York as they trade dares. Dash is a sarcastic teenage boy who is all bah humbug about Christmas and is looking forward to spending the holidays alone. He stumbles across a red notebook on a shelf at the Strand. Inside, he finds a list of challenges. He is enticed to discover its author and plays along.
Lily is an enthusiastic young woman who loves Christmas. She creates the notebook challenges to find romance during the holidays. They trade dares by passing off the notebook and are both challenged to do things outside of their comfort zone at locations around New York City.
Dash and Lily share their dreams and reveal facts about themselves, which brings them closer. But can the notebook version of their relationship match up when they meet in person?
This one was my favorite. As a native New Yorker, I felt this show captured the spirit of the city during the holidays. I am also an avid journal keeper and have created my own scavenger hunts for my students, including an urban adventure challenge around New York City.
With only eight episodes, it’s a quick binge-watch to see what happens with Dash and Lily.
OPERATION CHRISTMAS DROP
“Vampire Diaries” alum Kat Graham and “The Hunger Games” Alexander Ludwig bring some sizzle to this binge-watching session. Ludwig plays Andrew a handsome, skilled, and dedicated young U.S. Air Force pilot stationed in Guam, who loves playing Santa for the local islanders. Graham’s, Erica, a smart, ambitious, and hardworking political aide who has lost her Christmas spirit.
Erica forgoes spending the holidays with her family and is sent to investigate the military base’s spending surrounding the sources for their airborne mission, “Operation Christmas Drop.” Andrew, is charged with trying to get her to see the outreach behind the drop and prove it is totally funded by donations. They instantly clash.
The movie shot on location at an Air Force base in Guam, sheds light on the real-life holiday mission. Operation Christmas Drop is the longest running humanitarian airdrop efforts of the Department of Defense. The U.S. Air Force, along with Australia and Japan. They provide needed supplies and toys to the people on the 56 islands of Micronesia.
Escape to the Pacific island of Guam with Operation Christmas Drop. Who doesn’t need a little paradise break right now?
JINGLE JANGLE A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY
Netflix’s latest Christmas musical gets you in the mood for the holidays. It’s a marvelous journey that brings out the inner child in all of us. A genius toy maker inventor, the joyful Jeronicus Jangle, takes imagination to the next level.
Jeronicus is set to reveal his most innovative creation, a life like robot, voiced by pop star Ricky Martin. His assistant betrays him and steals all his inventions, including the latest. Jeronicus falls into despair and his toy store becomes a pawn shop. Can Jeronicus recover or will his talents be gone forever?
When his gifted granddaughter visits, she creates a magical invention of her own. Can she help Jeronicus find inspiration?
The nearly all-black cast is a refreshing perspective: Anika Noni Rose, Phylicia Rashad, Justin Cornwell, Madalen Mills, Keegan Michael-Key, and Forest Whitaker bring this whimsical story to life. As for the music, my favorites are Ricky Martin's Borrow Indefinitely, This Day the opening number, and John Legend's song, Make It Work performed by Rose and Whitaker.
It's a fun musical for the entire family.
MIDNIGHT at the MAGNOLIA
What would you do to fulfill your career dreams? Maggie and Jake, friends since childhood, fake a relationship to get their radio show syndicated. They plan to go public with it on New Year’s Eve at their parent's restaurant, The Magnolia. Will their first kiss be their last?
I wasn’t sure I would like this one, especially when it opened with the two adult leads performing a childhood secret handshake. But by the end I was rooting for them and convinced these life-long friends should be together.
Single during the holidays? Fed up with your family constantly trying to fix you up? Are you tired of casually dating on New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day, or Halloween? Introducing Holidate!
Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey play Jackson and Sloane, two strangers tired of the single life stigma. They agree to be each other’s holidate, a platonic, no strings attached date solely for the holidays. They plan on debuting this new arrangement on New Year’s Eve but wind up extending the agreement to all the holidays. As it seems to work for her aunt, played by the effervescent Kristin Chenoweth. Find out if Jackson and Sloane survive the Holidate.
Another favorite of mine, it is funny with a lot of charm. It may come as a surprise, but holidating is a real-life trend, and this movie portrays it with great humor. Kristin Chenoweth is a hoot, I love her. Being a huge Grey’s Anatomy fan, it is wonderful seeing Jessica Capshaw back on the television as Sloane’s sister. Luke Bracey is quite charming, and I’m a sucker for an Australian accent. Roberts and Bracey’s on screen chemistry is hot.
Holidate is unapologetically a rom-com, and I loved it!
There are even more exciting holiday offerings still to come on Netflix:
On 11/19, get your Vanessa Hudgens fix with three of her on screen when she returns in The Princess Switch: Switched Again.
Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square premieres 11/22
Real-life couple Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell are back as Santa and Mrs. Clause in The Christmas Chronicles 2, premiering 11/25
Sugar Rush Christmas Season 2, 11/27
A documentary highlighting Debbie Allen’s Dance Company (DADA) when Shondaland presents, Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker on 11/27.
Go behind the scenes of Elf and Nightmare Before Christmas with The Holiday Movies That Made Us 12/1
Freeform’s Kickoff to Christmas
It’s not too late to get in on Freeform’s Christmas Kickoff and be prepared for their 25 Days of Christmas. Here’s the Christmas movies scheduled for the rest of November. Click here for their 25 Days of Christmas listings, starting in December.
This month catch some favorites like The Preacher’s Wife, Disney’s A Christmas Carol, A Very Merry Muppet Movie, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), Home Alone 1 & 2, Christmas with the Kranks, and The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. There’s something for everyone.
Hallmark Channel Countdown to Christmas
The Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas has already begun. There’s still time to catch some great holiday romance starring Holly Robinson-Peete, Wynonna Judd, Marisol Nichols, Sara Evans, Robert Buckley, Jeremy Jordan, Rochelle Aytes, Lacey Chabert, Will Kemp, and Janel Parrish.
Click here for their listings. You won’t want to miss their 7 Night Thanksgiving Event hosted by Candace Cameron Bure. It’s seven brand new premieres in a row, starting Monday, November 23rd at 8 pm.
Lifetime Network It’s A Wonderful Life
It’s A Wonderful Life on Lifetime Network. They have been showing Christmas movies 24/7 since October. Click here for their holiday selection. They have cast your favorite celebrities including Melissa Joan Hart, Jason Priestly, Ed Begley, Jr., Robin Givens, Kelly Rowland, Patrick Duffy, Vanessa Lachey, and Mario Lopez.
So, warm up the hot chocolate, pull out a holiday blanket, and settle in for some good old binge-watching of Christmas in November.