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STREAMING WARS: Your guide to the cheesiest holiday offerings

Anna Kendrick is Noelle Kringle in the Disney Plus original movie Noelle, about Santa’s daughter, who has to help her brother and save Christmas before it’s too late.
Anna Kendrick is Noelle Kringle in the Disney Plus original movie Noelle, about Santa’s daughter, who has to help her brother and save Christmas before it’s too late.

Cheese balls are heavily associated with the Christmas holiday: comforting, gooey and enjoyed by many. Just like Christmas movies. 

It’s not good for you, but hey, it’s the holidays. 

Cheese ball can also mean something that is, well, cheesy — but in a more cinematic sense. It’s a (hopefully) self-aware feeling shared by the creator and the audience that we’re all in on in it. We know what we’re here for and we’re loving it.  

So what better way to rate the Christmas offerings available on the various streaming networks than by cheese balls? 

I’ll be ranking titles out of five cheese balls. And to be clear, the number of cheese balls does not indicate quality, it’s how cheesy something is. 

Merry Happy Whatever, Netflix

Imagine a really cheesy Hallmark-style Christmas movie, extended into eight painfully sweet episodes, with a '90’s sitcom-style laugh track along for the ride.

An over-protective, stern patriarch, Don Quinn (Dennis Quaid) gets a little too invested in his adult children’s lives and that’s the joke for the whole thing.

Matt (Brent Morin) tries to make things work with his to-be fiancée Emmy (Bridget Mendler), but the family dynamics become a bit too much. As does the show. 

It tries to tackle some issues that are a bit beyond its scope, but hey, you’ve gotta fill those eight episodes with something, right? 

It has some touching moments, and if you’re strong (or bored) enough to get through the whole series, there’s some enjoyment to be had. 

Four cheese balls out of five. 

Nailed It! Holiday!, Netflix 

How about a Pinterest Fails-style TV show? Sure, why not. 

With a holiday theme? Even better. 

Host Nicole Byer brings her incredible energy and humour to an otherwise mediocre cooking competition. 

Three amateur bakers face-off and attempt to make professional confections and it almost always goes terribly wrong. Guest judges like Maya Rudolph and Jason Mantzoukas add to the hijinks. 

The highlight is almost always the reveal moment when the contestants unveil their atrocities. 

The best episode of the latest season (season two, episode three) is easily the one set to a Hanukah theme, which features a surprisingly touching ending. 

Three cheese balls out of five. 

A Christmas Prince, Netflix

An Amy Adams look-a-like (Rose McIver) breaks every journalistic ethic in the book to swoon over a prince feigning his claim to the throne over a fictional Eastern European-sounding country where everyone has British accents. 

You know, that old chestnut. 

And yet, it’s so bad it’s good, I’m not even mad about it. 

And if you can’t get enough, the sequel The Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding came out last year and part three The Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby came out on Dec. 5. 

Personally, I can’t wait for The Christmas Prince: Endgame. 

Five cheese balls out of five. 

A Letterkenny Christmas: The Three Wise Men, Crave 

I’ll admit that this is my first foray into the Letterkenny universe — and well, I’m hooked.

A group of loveable hosers endeavours to host the best Christmas party ever, which must end with three shots of whisky. Party-goers consume a bit too much too early and things get a little messy. 

However, Wayne (Jared Keeso), does his utmost to keep things together as he gives Christmas presents to the guests, because, you know, it’s tradition. 

The plot, though, doesn’t really matter. It’s the characters and their increasingly bizarre, yet loveable quirks that make it so damn watchable and relatable. 

Two cheese balls out of five. 

The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show, Amazon Prime Video

Singer/songwriter Kacey Musgraves hosts an extravagant variety show with lots of special guests (Zooey Deschanel, Lana Del Rey, Leon Bridges, Dan Levy and many more). 

Full of Christmas sweaters, sparkles and pretty people it’s easy-to-digest, schmaltzy fun. 

The music is fine, but it’s the fun interactions she has with the guests that make this worth a watch. And at only 45 minutes long, it won’t take you all night to get through. 

OK, so it’s not an amazing special, but Musgraves is a delight  

Three cheese balls out of five.

Noelle, Disney Plus 

Noelle Kringle, (Anna Kendrick) has to help her brother Nick Kringle (Bill Hader) assume his new role as Santa. But — things don’t go so well as Nick isn’t really cut out for the whole Santa thing. He takes off and it’s up to Noelle to save the day. 

One of the first original films to come out on Disney Plus, it looks like something that would have exhausted parents schlepping their kids to the movie theatre for, but it’s available right now from the comfort of your couch. 

Another take on the Santa Claus family out of their element, Noelle’s story relies heavily on the charm of its two leads, Kendrick and Hader, who bring a natural hilarity and charm to an otherwise cookie-cutter plot. 

Four cheese balls out of five.

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1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

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