December Streaming Goes Beyond Christmas Movies, So Don't Cancel These Services
Adventure and fantasy series rule on Disney Plus and Netflix.
Kourtnee JacksonSenior Editor
Kourtnee covers TV streaming services and home entertainment news and reviews at CNET. She previously worked as an entertainment reporter at Showbiz Cheat Sheet where she wrote about film, television, music, celebrities, and streaming platforms.
ExpertiseKourtnee is a longtime cord-cutter who's subscribed to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, HBO Max, Crunchyroll, Sling, Spotify and more. As a real-life user of these services, she tracks the latest developments in streaming, the newest reCredentials
Though Kourtnee hasn't won any journalism awards yet, she's been a Netflix streaming subscriber since 2012 and knows the magic of its hidden codes.
We know it's December and that means lots of holiday content to watch, but streaming has more to offer than just endless Christmas cheer. Some of you probably grabbed a streaming service deal during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and need to keep your new subscriptions for Max, Hulu, Peacock and other platforms. Good news: Rebel Moon, Percy Jackson, Marvel's What If..., Indiana Jones 5 and more releases are hitting our screens this month. We still don't know when Max is streaming Barbie, so you should decide if the streamer is worth your time.
Each month, you may decide to drop a streaming service because of cost and the content that's currently available. I'd like to offer one strategy during a time of tight budgets: Churn like ice cream. Because you may have a new streaming deal for a platform you just signed up for, rather than rotate your services, you can use the list below as a guide for new releases this month.
Otherwise, churn away. Subscribe, cancel, roll with a different service, then resubscribe, keeping your favorites in a rotation. Rotating streaming services can be a money-saver when Netflix, Disney Plus, Max and others aren't streaming anything you want to watch at a given time. Just remember to shut off autorenewal for your monthly subscriptions. This method may not fly if you're sharing your streaming accounts, but if you can work out an arrangement with your crew, go for it.
Here are my suggestions for which streamers to keep or cancel in December, based on new series and movies (I didn't consider live TV streaming services) hitting each service. Your tastes may be different, but if nothing else, I urge you to at least consider the concept of rotating for savings. It's easier than you might think. Remember, a VPN can also be a useful tool when you're streaming.
Disney Plus: Toward the end of December, things kick off on Disney Plus. What If... and Percy Jackson are at the top of the watchlist, but here are the buzziest titles arriving. Doctor Who's three-episode special will also conclude this month, reuniting the 14th Doctor Who, David Tennant, and Donna Temple-Noble in a face-off against Neil Patrick Harris' Toymaker.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (Dec. 1)
The Shepherd (Dec. 1)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Christmas: Cabin Fever (Dec. 8)
Doctor Who: Wild Blue Yonder (Dec. 2)
Doctor Who: The Giggle (Dec. 9)
Percy Jackson and the Olympians, season 1 (Dec. 20)
BTS Monuments: Beyond The Star docuseries (Dec. 20)
Peacock: Keep this one if you love the Hallmark channel, want to watch live sports or stream The Exorcist: Believer (Dec. 1) and Mr. Monk's Last Case: A Monk Movie (Dec. 8). Don't cancel if you just grabbed a Peacock Black Friday deal either, or you'll lose the special rate.
Prime Video: You likely have this service if you're a Prime member, so you can stream Candy Cane Lane with Eddie Murphy (Dec. 1), Merry Little Batman (Dec. 8), Your Christmas or Mine 2 (Dec. 8) and Reacher Season 2 (Dec. 15).
Hulu: Hulu is a keep or cancel toss-up depending on your tastes and whether you're only paying $1 a month right now. There's a slate of holiday fare, and these titles, too:
Paramount Plus: Football fans may want to keep this service, but if not, cancel unless you're interested in NCIS: Sydney, Thriller 40 (Dec. 2 on Paramount Plus with Showtime only), Baby Shark's Big Movie (Dec. 8) or Frosty Returns (Dec. 23).
Max: Max offers some holiday movies, new documentaries and season finales for shows like The Gilded Age and Rap Sh!t. Aside from that and sports, that's it. Cancel, unless you grabbed the 70% off deal during Black Friday.
Apple TV Plus: This service doesn't have too much right now. Watch A Charlie Brown Christmas for free from Dec. 16-17. Otherwise, you can watch Frog and Toad Christmas Special, The Snoopy Show Christmas Special (Dec. 1), The Family Plan (Dec. 15), Slow Horses or For All Mankind. Apple TV Plus costs $10 per month now, but Roku users can get three months free if they're signed up by Dec. 3.
Save money on streaming by waiting it out
Waiting until most or all of the episodes of a series land on a platform is a wise strategy if you don't get FOMO. That way, rather than pay for a service for several months to cover the six- to 10-week run of a show, you can catch up on everything by subscribing for one month. Then repeat the cycle.
For example, NCIS: Sydney began in November and will end season 1 in mid-January with episode 8. Why pay for three months of Paramount Plus when you can wait to watch it in full anytime in January? If you prefer to binge Percy Jackson (eight episodes), then wait until January to watch the show when all episodes are streaming. The same strategy works for Apple TV Plus' For All Mankind, which will wrap season 4 in January. Wait to binge it.
Think about how much you're paying per month for each streaming service you have, and do the math. Netflix is $7 to $23 (plus extra member fees), and Paramount Plus starts at $6. Apple TV Plus is $10. Disney Plus is anywhere from $2 to $25 depending on bundles, Max costs $10 to $20, Hulu starts at $8 and Starz runs $10. Peacock has a base rate of $6 a month. Should you decide to rotate, set yourself a calendar reminder to alert you when it's time to re-subscribe or cancel. See you in January for another streaming rotation breakdown.
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