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A Cordless Christmas

A cordless Christmas isn’t the newest Hallmark original about a high-powered executive’s return to her small-town roots with a chaste hunk in a cottage during a blizzard blackout. It’s an excellent idea for a present that’s also literally outside of the box. For anyone who’s frantically looking at gift card displays in the supermarket checkout aisle, don’t give in to the temptation of $50 at Chili’s just because The Office made you love the baby back ribs jingle. Consider these options that will last longer than a family friendly meal for two.


The slimmest of the skinny bundles offers packages of 43 and 56 channels for $16 and $20 per month respectively. Their options may not be the best idea for cord cutters on live sports withdrawal but will satisfy viewers who miss the idle perusing of a cable lineup on a tired weeknight. The service is even offering a holiday promotion of 6 months for $99 (saving $20, which you can spend anywhere, and anywhere includes Chili's). Channel lineups on the “super-size me” option include staples like AMC and Comedy Central, more experimental picks like Viceland and Logo, and, for anyone who wishes that fake movie in the opening sentence were a real life Christmas miracle, three Hallmark channels, two Lifetimes and an HGTV to tell you where to put that partridge in a pear tree.

Sundance Now

Focusing on independent, foreign and classic films, Sundance Now offers a cordless counterpart to the Sundance Institute’s greater mission to promote cinematic storytelling; in other words, think of it as Sundance TV without the ads or the Sundance Film Festival without watered down Stella Artois. A year-long subscription can be gifted for $60, and offers access to a library of titles from directors as different as Canadian queercore provocateur Bruce LaBruce and Hollywood kitchen design specialist Nancy Meyers – though on second thought, maybe there’s some overlap in the audiences there – along with notable names like Martin Scorsese and Jean-Luc Godard. The service also features a range of documentary titles, as well as original and exclusive series such as the art world thriller Riviera from Oscar-winning Irish filmmaker Neil Jordan.


Celebrate a Christmas for contrarians with the gift of terror this year via a subscription to Shudder. While we tend to think of October as the month for horror films, the images of eternal airport security lines, extreme weather events and excruciating meals with right wing relatives can rival anything in A Christmas Horror Story, one of the many idiosyncratic titles available to stream along with genre staples such as Halloween and Hellraiser. Shudder is practically a necessity for any avid horror fan who’s into more eclectic classics and cult franchises, and for $48 you can help them realize their blood-soaked nightmares for an entire year.

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