With a cast full of Black Hollywood’s most beloved aunts and uncles, a large table of seasoned soul food, and a cousin who is either being cheated on or committing the cheating, Black Christmas films are an irresistible genre of chaotic holiday movies.
Even if they don’t always do well at the box office, many people can relate to the themes of love, loss, and a big family get-together. We are all trying to copy the Christmas miracle of seeing a fictional dysfunctional family overcome years of generational trauma to enjoy a good plate of food, honor the spirit of baby Jesus, and bask in Black glory.
In the spirit of macaroni & cheese and collard greens, these are the six best Black Christmas films to watch this holiday season.
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020)
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, the first black-led Christmas movie on Netflix, came out during lockdown and lived up to all the hype. The musical is a sweet mix of hope and warmth. It shows that “the strength of family and the power of possibility” are real things.
Jingle Jangle is about a popular toymaker and shop owner named Jeronicus Jangle (Forest Whitaker). His life is turned upside down when his assistant Gustafon steals his book of ideas (Keegan-Michael Key of Key & Peele fame).
After 30 years, his granddaughter, Madalyn Mills, comes to visit for Christmas. This helps him get back into making toys. From the beginning to the end, this movie takes you on a journey. I cried, I laughed, and at one point I even did the Gwara Gwara dance.
Boxing Day (2021)
I’ll be honest: at first, I wasn’t sure if this was going to make the list, but after giving it some thought, there’s no way I could leave off the UK’s first Black Christmas rom-com. Aml Ameen, who played Trife in Kidulthood, plays a British author living in the US who wants to go back to the UK for the holidays to introduce his fiancee Lisa (Aja Naomi King) to his British Caribbean family.
This is Ameen’s first time directing. The couple’s relationship is put to the test when his pop star ex-girlfriend Gigi (Leigh-Anne Pinnock) shows up. Of course, nothing about this was ever going to be easy.
The movie is 109 minutes of being creatively safe. Even though critics don’t like it, that doesn’t change the fact that sometimes simple is best. Boxing Day has the feel of a Christmas movie where you cuddle up with your bae and drink Baileys, and it hits all the rom-com beats.
British Caribbean culture is mixed with the search for love and the effects of a childhood sweetheart.
This Christmas (2007)
This Christmas is very popular in Black homes because it makes you feel better about your own problems. The movie shows what happens when the Whitfields go back to their family home four years after they left to spend Christmas together.
This Christmas has a few small laughs, like when Lisa (Regina King) beats her cheating husband Malcolm (Laz Alonso) with a belt and when Claude’s (Columbus Short) white wife shows up but doesn’t add anything to the plot.
Unfortunately, it’s clear from the beginning that the show’s star is a young Chris Brown, before he got tattoos and beat his girlfriend. Michael “Baby” finds his voice in his family and on stage, where he sings a great version of “This Christmas,” a 1970 hit by Donny Hathaway.
Idris Elba’s Southern American accent is the only thing I don’t like about the whole movie (I almost broke out in hives). Aside from that, the movie is a cult favorite.
The Best Man Holiday (2013)
There’s no denying that The Best Man Holiday is pretty much the Black version of Love Actually, especially because of how each friendship connects during the Christmas season. In the sequel to the 1999 movie The Best Man, which was written and directed by Malcolm D. Lee, the group gets back together for the holidays after being apart for 15 years.
This time, though, the movie has a more emotional tone. In The Best Man Holiday, the plot moves at a slower pace, focusing on love, fights, and Mia’s death from terminal cancer. These are the main things that happen at the friends’ reunion.
All of the original cast members, including Morris Chestnut, Taye Diggs, Regina Hall, Terrence Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long, Harold Perrineau, Monica Calhoun, and Melissa De Sousa, return to finish the final chapter of a magnificent franchise at Christmas.
This movie hit me hard because my dad died of cancer and I needed my closest friends to comfort me.
Last Holiday (2006)
Last Holiday is loosely based on the same-named 1950s movie. It’s not your typical Christmas movie, and that’s fine. Queen Latifah plays Georgia, a saleswoman in New Orleans who is told she only has a few weeks to live because she has a brain tumur that will kill her.
She quits her job and plans to spend what she thinks will be her last days on a luxurious trip to Europe. The man she has a big crush on, who is played by LL Cool J, realizes that he feels the same way and flies off to tell her how he feels.
The movie isn’t bad, but it’s not great either. So, you might ask, why is it on the list? Well, for starters, Latifah’s character doesn’t fit any of the usual Hollywood stereotypes about plus-size Black women. The part that made the most sense to me was when Black love became the main focus, which, because it’s Hollywood, happened at the end.
There is no doubt Queen Latifah can light up whatever screen she is on, and LL Cool J is undeniably attractive, but the plot is a dud. Also, none of the supporting characters come up with a funny moment or even use the warmth and entertainment that the main characters offer. Still, it’s a classic of Black cinema, and I love it when a plus-size queen gets her hunk of a king.
Almost Christmas (2016)
In Almost Christmas, Danny Glover plays Walter Meyers, a retired widower who invites his four grown children back to the family home for Christmas a year after their mother has died.
The family gets together to try to solve their problems and enjoy Christmas. His youngest daughter Rachel (Gabrielle Union) is having money problems, and his son Evan (Jessie Usher) is addicted to pills.
Things don’t always go as planned. Why would they? And the movie only gets better when characters like Jasmine, who is played by Keri Hilson and whose only job in the movie is to be a messy side chick (which I love for her), starts having an affair with Lonnie while working at the supermarket.
I’ll be honest: you can skip the first 59 minutes because nothing really happens until Jasmine shows up for Christmas dinner. It’s not the most exciting Christmas movie you’ll watch this year, but it might get you in the mood to work out your own problems and be responsible before you eat your own turkey.
Irving is the Chief Editor at the Landscape Insight. He lives just outside of New York. His writings have also been featured in some very famous magazines. When he isn’t reading the source material for a piece or decompressing with a comfort horror movie, Irving is usually somewhere in his car. You can reach Irving at – [email protected] or on Our website Contact Us Page.