Diversity in Holiday Movies by Lauren Lopez

One of the magical parts about the holidays is being able to cozy up on the couch by yourself or joined by family, friends, and pets to watch holiday movies. But nothing can ruin the holidays faster than turning on the Hallmark channel and seeing nothing but predominantly white, heteronormative Christmas movies. So hopefully this list provides a start to making sure that the whitest thing about your holidays is the snow on the ground.

Christmas Movies with More Diverse Casts 

The Preacher’s Wife

Reverend Henry Biggs finds that his marriage to choir mistress Julia is failing due to his constant absence caring for their underserved neighborhood community. On top of all this, his church is coming under threat from property developer Joe Hamilton. In desperation, Reverend Biggs prays to God for help and help arrives in the form of an angel named Dudley.

Christmas in the Clouds

This is a classic comedy of mistaken identity and romance set during the holiday season at a ski resort that is owned and operated by a Native American Nation. It was shot on location at The Sundance Resort in Utah and is the first contemporary romantic comedy to feature an almost entirely Native American cast.

The Nativity Story

This is a drama that focuses on the period in Mary and Joseph’s life where they journeyed to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus.

Nothing Like the Holidays

A Puerto Rican family living in the area of Humboldt Park in west Chicago face what may be their last Christmas together.

Scrooge and Marley

A modern day variation on Charles Dickens’ classic story of the holidays, “A Christmas Carol.” On Christmas Eve, Ben Scrooge, the man who hates the holidays, is given the chance to begin again when he is visited by three spirits – the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. Revisiting the tragic missteps of his life enables Scrooge to rediscover the joy of the holiday season and make a journey back to love. Recounted from a gay sensibility with heart, comedy and music, the magic of Dickens’ timeless tale comes alive from a fresh perspective that will appeal to audiences of all persuasions.

Make the Yuletide Gay

A gay student who is “out” at college but not to his family receives an unexpected visit from his boyfriend while at home during the holidays.

A Very Cool Christmas

A fashion-conscious teen who would rather spend Christmas with her boyfriend than her dads and younger sister, gives Santa a makeover.

Black Nativity

In a contemporary adaptation of Langston Hughes’s play, this movie tells the story of a street-wise teen from Baltimore who has been raised by a single mother. He travels to New York City to spend the Christmas holiday with his estranged grandparents. It is here that he embarks on a surprising and inspirational journey.

Last Holiday

Upon learning of a terminal illness in which she only has three weeks to live, a shy woman decides to sell off all her possessions and live it up at a posh European hotel.

Holiday Heart

Over the holidays, a drag queen takes in a drug addict and her daughter and helps raise the daughter.

A Dream for Christmas

Reverend Will Douglas, a Southern minister, is assigned to a poor church in California where the congregation is drifting away and the church is scheduled for demolition.

A Diva’s Christmas Carol

A remake of the Dicken’s classic with the same story except Ebenezer Scrooge is replaced by a very nasty pop star.

Movies Centered Around Holidays Other Than Christmas 

Eight Crazy Nights

Davey Stone, an alcoholic with a criminal record, is sentenced to community service under the supervision of an elderly referee. Davey is then faced with trying to reform and abandon his bad habits. This movie centers around Jewish Characters during Hanukkah.

An American Tail

While emigrating to the United States, a young Russian mouse gets separated from his family and must relocate them while trying to survive in a new country. The family escapes from Russia after their home is destroyed by mice during their Hanukkah celebration.

The Black Candle

A documentary film about Kwanzaa directed by M. K. Asante and narrated by Maya Angelou.

Christmas with a Capital C

This film is centered around Christmas, but takes a very cynical approach on the holiday and religious views which makes it a good watch for those who may celebrate Christmas but don’t really support religious viewpoints.

In addition to these non-Christmas-centered holiday movies, there are always the classic Rugrats Hanukkah and Kwanzaa episodes. While many holiday movies focus on Christmas, these movies can be enjoyed no matter what holiday is celebrated. So this season, curl up with hot cocoa and a warm blanket and enjoy these less conventional holiday movies.

Lauren Lopez is a Writing, Literature and Publishing Major graduating in May 2018 and is the Assistant Editor-in-Chief of The Luminary.

Lauren Lopez