New Christmas films to stream and at cinemas in 2023

The top 12 new Christmas films in cinemas and streaming services in December 2023.

Christmas – the season, if not the actual day – is here, and we all know what that means: trying to stave off those endless ‘Die Hard is a Christmas movie, actually’ conversations by distracting everyone with some real Christmas content.

But there’s only so many times you can watch Love, Actually (personal preference: zero), so we’ve trawled through this year’s offerings to present you with t12 holiday films (and specials, and documentaries) to tide you over until that very special day.

So wrap yourself in tinsel, put on an unseasonable hat, and prepare yourself for a surprising amount of murders, explosions, and crimes: it’s Christmas!

The Naughty Nine (Disney+, now)

When pre-teen Andy discovers that his year of bad behaviour has put him on Santa’s naughty list, he’s not settling for a stocking full of coal. Putting together a crack team of equally naughty kids, they’re heading to the North Pole to heist the presents they think they deserve… but will the real gift be the realisation that being good is its own reward? Well yeah, obviously, it’s a Disney movie. Plus getting the kids hooked on heist movies is the gift that keeps on giving – next year you can show them The Italian Job.

Read: Disney+: new shows streaming December 2023

Jones Family Christmas (Stan, now)

Stan’s built up a tradition of locally made Christmas movies in recent years, veering from the comedic (A Sunburnt Christmas, Christmas Ransom) to the more sentimental (Christmas on the Farm). This year’s effort mixes comedy and drama, as the bickering extended family (including Dushan Philips, Tahlee Fereday, Genevieve Morris, Marg Downey, and scriptwriter Tegan Higginbotham) gathered under the roof of matriarch Heather Jones (Heather Mitchell) seem set to spend the holiday’s sniping at each other – until a bushfire has them on the run and forced to rely on each other to survive.

Read: Stan: new shows streaming December 2023

The Bad Guys: A Very Bad Holiday (Netflix, now)

At half an hour, this is more of a Christmas special than a fully-fledged feature. But if you enjoyed the (surprisingly good) Bad Guys movie last year, then you won’t want to miss this prequel where the titular crime crew’s plans to rob the city blind are derailed after they accidentally cause Christmas to be cancelled. Without the festive season they won’t be able to steal everything that isn’t nailed down, so it’s up to them to use their criminal skills to get the holiday back on track. What is it with Christmas and heists?

Read: Netflix: new shows and films streaming December 2023

Christmess (in cinemas now)

Christmess. Image: Bonsai Films.

Brought low by the bottle, once-famous actor Chris (Steve Le Marquand) is barely making ends meet as a mall Santa when he’s accidentally reunited with his estranged daughter (Nicole Pastor). It’s been 20 years and she’s not impressed: he’s going to need the help of his sponsor (Darren Gilshenan) and a spiky musician (Hannah Joy) if he’s going to have a family festive season. Writer / director Heath Davis (Book Week) specialises in finding comedy in the darker side of life, and this promises to be heart-warming without dodging the reality that Christmas can be a rough time for many.

Read: Christmess review: one of the best Christmas films in years

Candy Cane Lane (Prime, now)

While those few remaining Eddie Murphy fans holding out for a late career return to edgy material are once again getting coal in their stocking, everyone else can enjoy this tale of a suburban dad (Murphy) who accidentally makes a deal with an elf to win his neighbourhood Christmas decoration competition (as you do), only to discover the elf has magically brought the 12 Days of Christmas to life. Family-friendly chaos promptly erupts, but if anyone can save Christmas it’s the man whose stand-up comedy routines you most definitely don’t want to show the kids.

Read: Prime Video: new shows streaming December 2023

It’s a Wonderful Knife (Shudder, now)

One year ago on Christmas Eve, Winnie Carruther (Jane Widdop) saved her town from a murderous maniac. Since then, things haven’t been going so well for her, but when a wish that she’d never been born transports her to a reality where she never existed and the killer never stopped she realises things could be so much worse. Now she has to take down the masked murderer once again if she’s ever going to make it back to her own life and yes, it’s a version of It’s a Wonderful Life only with a psycho killer, which is the kind of twist on a holiday classic we could do with more of.

Santa School (iWonder, now)

If you’re after a dose of reality this Christmas, you could do a lot worse than this 2020 look at six men’s four-day journey through an intensive professional Santa training school. Turns out it’s not just a matter of simply pulling on the red jacket and slapping on a fake beard; whether it’s grooming and fashion, being inclusive and learning how to answer those difficult questions, or just getting the laugh right, Northern Lights Santa Academy has the answers.

Christmas as Usual (Netflix, 6 Dec)

Nothing says Christmas (in movie form at least), like a good old fashioned culture clash. This year Netflix has you covered when it comes to awkward conversations and comedic miscommunications, as Thea (Ida Ursin-Holm) brings her new fiancée Jashan (Indian stand-up comedian Kanan Gill) back to her Nordic family home only to discover that their two cultures have two very different ideas about the holiday season. Trouble with the in-laws and plenty of snow outside? What more could you want from the holiday season?

Read: Netflix: new shows and films streaming December 2023

Silent Night (in cinemas from 7 Dec)

When his son is accidentally killed in a drive-by shooting, Brian (Joel Kinnaman) swears vengeance. Well, not exactly “swears”, as a bullet also took his voice. The result is a dialogue-free tale of holiday payback (they killed his son Christmas morning, so they’re all going to die before the next Christmas) from action movie legend John Woo (Face/Off, Hardboiled). Fans of brutal violence and excessive gunplay won’t want to miss this solidly entertaining revenge thriller; there’s also an evil gang leader wearing a Santa jacket if that’s your kind of thing.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Christmas: Cabin Fever (Disney+, 8 Dec)

Greg Heffley is back and he hasn’t changed a bit. First he somehow manages to turn making a snowman into serious property damage, which has him worried his Christmas might be somewhat less jolly on the present front than he’d hoped. Then he gets snowed in with his entire family on Christmas Eve, which means he has both his painful older brother and his annoying younger sibling on his case. Will they have to resort to cannibalism to survive? We can only hope.

Read: Disney+: new shows streaming December 2023

Merry Little Batman (Prime, 8 Dec)

When a bearded Batman is called away on Christmas Eve, it’s up to his son Damien (yes, Bruce Wayne has a son in the comics now) to stop the Joker and the rest of Gotham City’s criminals from stealing Christmas. Their feature films may have struggled at the box office but the animation side of DC comics has been kicking goals of late, and this offbeat looking (and in-joke packed) Christmas special looks set to keep up the good work.

Read: Prime Video: new shows streaming December 2023

Your Christmas or Mine 2 (Prime, 8 Dec)

It’s been a year since their last wacky family Christmas mix-up, and James (Asa Butterfield) and Hayley (Cora Kirk) are hoping an Austrian ski holiday will bring their families together – and give them a chance to take their relationship to the next level. But this’d be a very short movie if things went smoothly, and it’s not just the addition of Jane Krawkowski to the cast that mixes things up for the young lovers. Can their relationship survive yet another Christmas culture clash and a bunch of jokes about being bad at skiing?

Read: New shows and films streaming in December 2023: Australia guide

Anthony Morris is a freelance film and television writer. He’s been a regular contributor to The Big Issue, Empire Magazine, Junkee, Broadsheet, The Wheeler Centre and Forte Magazine, where he’s currently the film editor. Other publications he’s contributed to include Vice, The Vine, Kill Your Darlings (where he was their online film columnist), The Lifted Brow, Urban Walkabout and Spook Magazine. He’s the co-author of hit romantic comedy novel The Hot Guy, and he’s also written some short stories he’d rather you didn’t mention. You can follow him on Twitter @morrbeat and read some of his reviews on the blog It’s Better in the Dark.