Single for the holidays? You. Are. In. Luck. Think of all those people suffering through the same schmaltzy, kiddie-friendly Christmas movies! You get to cue up some of the most enchanting characters across the streamers and binge ’em ’til your hearts content. We’ve gathered a starter list of the Best Stream Dates to deliver a romantic escape over break.
A Hollywood Christmas
The Story: She’s an up-and-coming movie director helming a cliché holiday movie, which means herding elf-dogs and actors who keep falling in and out of love. He plays a Scrooge-y network executive who isn’t a fan of the film, and he halts production mid-way, leaving her – and her cast and crew – to scramble. The performances, the humor, and the nods to the tropes of the season make this one work for non-Hallmark fans. But A Hollywood Christmas also drops two new hotties into your living room: The network exec is played by actual soap star / bod model Josh Swickard, while the film director is played by a captivating Jessika Van, who also happens to be a classically trained pianist, singer, and dancer. (You might recognize her as the Hong Kong Police Officer in the Rush Hour series). Where to find it: HBO Max, Apple, Prime
While this Netflix confection could definitely be on the Hallmark Channel, it’s not quite as predictable or gum-achingly-sweet as it might appear, and you will want to watch it when you’re looking for a protag you could fall for. The Story: A very single bestselling novelist (This is Us heartthrob Justin Hartley) prefers to be alone for the holidays (he lives in his imagination and its working, okay?!). But then he gets some news, and has to return home to settle his estranged mom’s estate. He doesn’t seem too sad about all this, despite excavating some ghosts from his childhood, and he’s distracted by a new mystery when a stranger shows up at the house — a charming, velvet-voiced Barrett Doss — in search of clues to her own past. They end up striking out on a road trip to unravel the mysteries of their overlapping pasts, and there are snowflakes, Candy Cane Red coats, country inns, and Nina Simone songs. Where to find it: Netflix
If you’re headed back to that small town you escaped to face a high school ex – or wish you were – you might get swept up in this soapy, binge-worthy ocean-set drama series. The story: New York City powerhouse Abby O’Brien takes a trip back home, only to find herself immersed in four generations of family. She decides to stay and help her sister restore an old inn. Now a divorced mom of twins, she runs into her high school sweetheart, whose name is – get this – Trace (the smoldering Jesse Metcalfe of Desperate Housewives fame). Soon she finds herself in the middle of a love triangle…or two. There are six seasons and a big ensemble cast, and it comes from Hallmark, so you can count on a lot of characters guaranteed to deliver the swoon. The most popular series to come out of the romance channel, Chesapeake Shores has drawn in new audiences. All to say: don’t be ashamed to join them. Where to stream it: Peacock
Home for Christmas
If American holiday love interests feel a trifle too…saccharine, you might want to head abroad to look for your vicarious romance. Try this smartly-written Norwegian dramedy series. The story: Johanne (Ida Elise Broch) is a successful nurse in her 30s whose family is upset that she doesn’t have a boyfriend. When she makes one up, she’s suddenly forced to find a date by the holiday. Yeah, we’ve seen this premise before, but this one is funny, cringe-y, endearing, and Scandinavian, and it will broaden the horizons while introducing a few savory…and unsavory…prospects into your syrupy sweet holiday binge viewing. Where to stream it: Netflix
Best Man’s Holiday: The Final Chapters
A new series that wraps up a franchise that began in 1999 with The Best Man, there are about a dozen gorgeous actors to crush on in this comedy-drama about college friends who reunite — this time at midlife. The story: Having lost his wife, recently retired NFL star Lance (Morris Chestnut) escapes into sex with strangers. Author Harper (Taye Diggs), still married to Robyn (Sanaa Lathan), has a chance to turn his book into a movie…except it’s the one about a group of college friends, which set off all the drama in the first film. This time, he wants everyone’s blessing first. There are hotel heirs (Terrence Howard), Real Housewives (Melissa De Sousa), successful TV execs (Nia Long), philanthropists (Regina Hall and Harold Perrineau), and a wedding (Howard and Nicole Ari Parker), as well as unraveling secrets, mid-life crises, unruly teenagers, lavish events, and a whole lot to escape into. Where to find it: Peacock
Hanukkah on Rye
You’ve Got Mail definitely needed an update, and holiday movies need more Hanukkah. This new release more or less combines the two. The story: A matchmaker realizes she’s just fixed up two enemies who’ve been sparring over their rival family delis, and little do they know, they’ve been writing anonymous letters to each other. It stars two charmers who are likely new to you: Jeremy Jordan, mostly known for Broadway roles like Newsies, and a young, Jewish, Meg Ryan-esque Yael Grobglas, a French-Israeli actress who appeared on Jane the Virgin. Look, there’s twinkly lights, twinkly eyes, and hot chocolate! Just try and resist. Where to find it: Peacock
In keeping with the theme of novelists, if you’ve ever fantasized about being a sci-fi author and/or lothario, lose yourself in this feast for the senses from Hong Kong. A stunning, enchanting film about love, lust, loss, and repressed emotions, it’s about a writer who draws inspiration from his lovers, inadvertently blending fiction with reality, and the past with the future. You have to pay attention to this one, but when all the pieces fall into place, you’ll remember it as an enticing and masterful piece of cinema that doubles as a lust-filled escape. – Churchill Gueverra Find it on Prime Video.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
This one is for the cult film and noir aficionados looking for an adrenaline jolt and a babe in Santa lingerie. The story: Petty thief Harry (a young Robert Downey Jr.) is on the run when he stumbles into an audition for a detective movie…and lands the part. Did we mention this is a send up? Suddenly he’s in Hollywood, dropped into a murderous conspiracy that involves his high school crush Harmony (an irresistible Michelle Monaghan) and the sarcastic private eye, Perry (a Jim Morrison-days Val Kilmer) hired to prep him for his part. There’s a whodunit, violence, sex, and the kind of deeply saturated cinematography that delivers a mood. But mostly it’s the allure of Monaghan and Downey that makes this worthy of a Stream Date. Find it on Vudu.
Looking for more love-and-romance movies or TV shows to watch with actual in-real-life dates? Check out our Watercooler’s Date Night guide for new romance, old flames, rekindling the spark, Netflix and Chilling, or friend date watches.