The weird and wonderful world of William Shatner's Christmas movies

By: H&I Staff    Posted: December 5, 2022, 2:20PM Tags: Tags: holiday

Image: The Everett Collection

Shatner Claus is nothing new to the world. If you want to spend the holiday with Star Trek captain, you've got lots of opportunities. He even gave us a spirited, very… enthusiastic version of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" recently. Yes, he's called Shatner Claus fondly.

But let's talk about his Christmas movies. As in, plural. Boy, is there a range to choose from.

Some actors tend to stick to one kind, sappy-sweet holiday romances, slapstick Christmas comedies, tear-jerking tales of yule… but not our Captain Kirk. He's even been part of the TV special Kelly Clarkson's Cautionary Music Tale, playing a network executive (skip to about five minutes in).

So here they are, from Hallmark candy to holiday horror.

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A Christmas Horror Story (2015)

When you look for William Shatner holiday movies, this is the most well-known and probably the most memorable. This horror anthology takes us through four short horror stories with Shatner working as a local deejay on Christmas Eve to connect them all. It's fun to take a break from the zombie elves and Krampus demons to see an increasingly boozy Shatner commenting in his warm and cozy Christmas booth. He even gets a serious moment later in the film that tugs at the heartstrings before plunging us back into the jingle-gore. From vintage specials to cheesy Hallmark movies to holiday slashers, Shatner Klaus delivers.

Watch the trailer

Image: Everett Collection


Stalking Santa (2006)

The title makes it sound like a Hitchcock film, but it's actually a mockumentary-style comedy about a man (yes, a grown man) who is a "Santologist." He dedicates his life and work to finding out if Santa exists. Part The Office, part X-Files, and narrated by William Shatner, this is a wonderfully weird break from all the greeting-card schmoop. Shatner's voice leads us through this fourth-wall comedy and hey, the studio uploaded the whole thing to YouTube. Merry Christmas.

Watch the trailer


Just in Time for Christmas (2015)

Just In Time For Christmas tells the story of a girl who's given the choice between an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime dream job offer… and her generic handsome Hallmark movie boyfriend. Luckily she has William Shatner as the magical driver of a time-traveling carriage who can show her the future of her choices. Also, Shatner has a beard that looks like a billy goat, but we don't hate it. The plot is as classic Hallmark as it comes, but Christopher Lloyd shows up and Shatner's role is delightfully bizarre enough to be worth a watch.

Watch the trailer

Image: Everett Collection


Gotta Catch Santa Claus (2008)

Gotta Catch Santa Claus is a seemingly low-budget animated movie about kids trying to kidnap Santa Claus and hold a press conference to prove his existence. There's also a giant ice demon of some kind and snowmen who talk like Joe Pesci. Shanter voices Kris Kringle himself and finally earns the mantle of Shatner Klaus. As low-budget and odd as it seems, it might be just the right kind of movie to watch with other Shatner fans and some spiked eggnog.

Watch the trailer

Image: Everett Collection


A Carol Christmas (2003)

As far as Hallmark Christmas movies go, this one is as basic as it gets. And it's a retelling of a Christmas Carol, so it's even more familiar already. Tori Spelling plays a talk show host, Carol, who doesn't get the spirit of Christmas. She's visited by three ghosts, yadda yadda yadda. Still, even as basic as this movie is, Shatner playing the Ghost of Christmas Present can't help but warm our icy hearts. He's a nice dose of heart and comfort in this movie.

Watch the Shatner scene

Image: RHI Entertainment and Distribution


The Christmas Tree (1958)

This holiday TV movie featured Shatner eight years before Star Trek hit the airwaves. The star-studded cast included Jessica Tandy, Margaret Hamilton (the Wicked Witch of the West herself) and Carol Channing in one of her first TV appearances. However, it is incredibly difficult to find anything about this special. It seems to have been lost to time. If you have anything on it, by all means, share the Shatner goodness with the rest of us.

Image: Everett Collection