Escape those Grinchy pandemic feelings by watching these movies to boost your holiday spirit!
By Destiny Daniel
It’s no secret that this year - everyone will be ho-ho-home for the holidays. With the pandemic prohibiting us from sitting on Santa’s lap, attending spectacular parades, and religious performances, and of course - the ugly sweater Christmas parties, it’s hard to feel very jolly this season. However, with increasing Covid cases, and talk of lockdowns resurfacing, we could all use a bit of Santa’s magic to brighten our days. From comedies to tear jerkers, there is always something you can take away from a Christmas movie. We’ve created a list of 7 Black Christmas movies to watch this season, whether you need a pick me up, a laugh, or a glimmer of hope. Let the magic of Christmas bring love and peace to you, and to the world.
Here’s the list (and don't forget to check it twice):
7. Black Nativity
The film centers around Langston, a teenager who is sent to spend Christmas with his single mother Naima’s estranged parents. Naima ran away from her family after her father disapproved of her teenage pregnancy. This led to dysfunction, pain, and a need for healing to come together in the Christmas season. The three F’s: family, faith, and forgiveness are the overwhelming themes in Black Nativity. Amidst all the chaos this year has been for our society, it is more important than ever that as we embark onto a new year, we hold strong in family and faith, and forgive 2020 for all the negatives that have taken place.
6. Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
The film, narrated by Phylicia Rashad as she shares the Christmas story with her grandchildren, follows toymaker Jeronicus Jangle. After being betrayed by his apprentice, Jangle copes with losing his two most prized possessions: his wife and prized invention. He struggles with depression and loses his holiday spirit. However, decades later his granddaughter helps him find his happiness, holiday spirit, and desire to create again. As the world suffers with social unrest and a pandemic, the Netflix film’s story of finding joy after dealing with tragedy, betrayal, and loss is a message the world can relate to.
5. Are We There Yet?
This comedy follows a middle aged man, Nick, as he attempts to win the favor of a newly divorced, Suzanne. He offers to accompany her children on a flight to see their mother. A mishap with a corkscrew and a metal detector gets the trio banned from the flight, and Nick is forced to drive the kids in his prized Lincoln Navigator. Tensions inevitably rise during the long road trip, but Nick makes it his mission to win Suzanne’s heart. Similarly, this year we saw both political and racial tensions at increasing levels, which led to our collective mission of creating safer spaces and bridging gaps in our society. Let this story of finding happiness amongst madness inspire you to do the same.
4. Friday After Next
The film finds Craig and Dae Dae back in the old neighborhood where it all started. It's Christmas time and a ghetto Santa Claus breaks into their run-down apartment, stealing all their presents, along with anything else he can stuff into his sack, including the rent money that was hidden in their stereo speakers. The duos only hope to not get evicted before Christmas is to take jobs as security guards at a local mall, where they learn some comic lessons about the true meaning of the holidays. The comedy will sure bring you needed laughter and happy spirits, which is essential to have a merry Christmas. Additionally, based on the pair's experience, one should remember to save for hard times, as you never know when someone may snag your presents, or a global pandemic may come along.
3.The Perfect Holiday
The film follows Nancy, a divorced mother of three, who feels especially lonely during the holidays. Sensing her sadness, Nancy's youngest daughter, Emily, has a plan to make her mom happy again. She asks Benjamin, a department-store Santa Claus, to pay Nancy a compliment. Benjamin, who is also a struggling songwriter, knows exactly the right words to say. The Perfect Holiday showcases the value of family, which nowadays seems to be more important than ever. Although families are under increased stress and anxiety due to Covid-19, it should be noted that the perfect holiday is one in which everyone’s together (Zoom call included).
2. Almost Christmas
In the movie, you’ll find Walter Meyer, a retired mechanic that lost the love of his life the previous year. Now that the holiday season is here, he invites his children to his house for a traditional celebration. Walter soon realizes that if his bickering children and the rest of the family can spend five days together under the same roof, it will truly be a Christmas miracle. The story of a father asking for one gift - for his children to get along, illustrates the true needs of Christmas: love and togetherness. The film also suggests that during hard times (like we are currently in), it is essential for families to discuss and work through their issues. By doing this, it improves one’s mental well being and fosters closer relationships.
1. A Madea Christmas
The Tyler Perry film centers around Madea, who is working at a mall during Christmas time. Her niece, Eileen, reveals to Madea that she wants to take off for the holiday and surprise Lacey, Eileen's daughter, at her new home in Alabama. Lacey is taken aback by this, as she secretly got married to a white man named Conner, but didn't tell her mother, since her mother dislikes white people. Seemingly enough, racial tensions arise in the film and it’s up to Madea to help fix the family’s issues right in time for the holidays. Street Smart Collaborative was founded in the wake of George Floyd’s death, which epitomized prejudice towards the black community. We could all learn from Madea’s tactics within bridging racial peace to add to our own communities.