The best Black Christmas movies to stream for the holidays

By Cydney Lee


From cheesy rom-coms like "Last Holiday" to fun remakes such as "The Preacher's Wife," these Black holiday flicks are guaranteed to make your holidays brighter.

With an endless amount of seasonal movies that exist, Black representation in the festive film genre is on a slow incline thanks to streaming originals (Netflix's Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey) and networks like Lifetime and Hallmark, whose cheesy, lighthearted holiday fare (Merry Liddle Christmas) dominates this time of year.

If you're searching for some cinema cheer this holiday season, check out EW's list of Black Christmas movies that are worth watching.

This Christmas (2007)


This star-studded Christmas classic is a valid portrayal of Black family dynamics. Director Preston A. Whitmore II (1995's The Walking Dead and 2004's Doing Hard Time) positions Loretta Devine as Shirley Ann "Ma'Dere" Whitfield, the family matriarch and mother to six kids: Quentin Jr. (Idris Elba), Lisa (Regina King), Kelli (Sharon Leal), Claude (Columbus Short), Melanie (Lauren London), and Michael a.k.a. Baby (Chris Brown), the latter of whom covers Donny Hathaway's 1970 eponymous hit song in the film.

The Whitfields gather at Ma'Dere and her boyfriend Joe's (Delroy Lindo) house for the first time in four years — and, naturally, the clash in personalities comes with laughs, cries, secrets, and everything in between. Despite the almost universally applicable family drama, This Christmas is a heartfelt dramedy worth revisiting every holiday season.

Where to watch This Christmas: Peacock

Almost Christmas (2016)


Noticeably similar in theme to This Christmas, Almost Christmas follows grieving single father, Walter Meyers (Danny Glover), who corrals his four grown children for the first Christmas following the death of his wife and their mother. As of 2015, the film was originally supposed to be centered around Turkey Day, as it was titled A Meyers Thanksgiving, but in the reconfigured version, actor-comedians like Mo'Nique, JB Smoove, and DC Young Fly provided much-needed comedic relief to this poignant story about loss, familial love, and reuniting.

Where to watch Almost Christmas: Peacock

Friday After Next (2002)


While it's not a traditional rom-com or familial Christmas tale, the holiday is nonetheless the setting of this ridiculous comedy. The third and probably final movie in the Ice Cube-created Friday franchise (a fourth one called Last Friday has been in talks for years), Friday After Next sees Craig (Cube) and Day-Day (Mike Epps) tracking down a naughty Santa Claus (Rickey Smiley), who breaks into their run-down L.A. apartment and steals all their gifts.

The two cousins go to extremes to recoup their rent money (which was also stolen) and encounter some characters along the way. Like its predecessors, the film is riddled with less-than-progressive scenes and stereotypes, but if you have a sense of humor, then this is the perfect off-the-wall movie to watch (without kids) during the holiday season.

Where to watch Friday After Next: Tubi

Christmas in Compton (2012)


Keith David and Omar Gooding star as the father-son duo in this Compton-set Christmas tale. The former's character, Big Earl, owns the neighborhood's go-to Christmas tree farm, and the two bump heads when Gooding's character Derrick tries to prove to his father that he, too, can make something of his life. The uplifting, familial holiday movie, which also features the likes of Emmy winner Sheryl Lee Ralph and Eric Roberts, shines bright enough to hit the seasonal feels.

The Best Man Holiday (2013)


Movie sequels are hit or miss, but The Best Man Holiday is nearly perfect. The follow-up to 1999's The Best Man, the original cast — Morris Chestnut, Taye Diggs, Sanaa Lathan, Regina Hall, Nia Long, Terrence Howard, Monica Calhoun, Harold Perrineau, and Melissa De Sousa — reprise their roles for this Christmas-focused movie that brings college friends back together.

Fifteen years later, the group encounters problems old and new as director Malcolm D. Lee (The Best Man, 2005's Roll Bounce, and 2017's Girls Trip) weaves through jokes and reality in this tear-jerker of a film. And if you can't get enough of the franchise, be sure to catch The Best Man: The Final Chapters limited series, also starring the original cast and directed by Lee, which is streaming on Peacock.

Where to watch The Best Man Holiday: Peacock

Last Holiday (2006)


Rapper-actors Queen Latifah and LL Cool J star in this Christmastime rom-com, directed by Wayne Wang (1993's The Joy Luck Club), about a modest department store employee, Georgia (Latifah), who attempts to live her life to the fullest after being diagnosed with a rare terminal neurological disorder. Next to her clippings of Emeril Lagasse's gourmet recipes, which she replicates in her free time, she fantasizes about her co-worker Sean (Cool J) whom she sees as her dream husband.

Latifah was nominated for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture for Last Holiday, a film that centers on a familiar narrative (it is a remake of a 1950 Alec Guinness film, after all), but is carried by the charm of its leading lady.

Where to watch Last Holiday: Paramount+

The Perfect Holiday (2007)


Another Morris Chestnut-starring rom-com, The Perfect Holiday is another marquee cast movie about a match made during the holiday season. Gabrielle Union plays Nancy, a single mother of three whose young daughter (Khail Bryant) tells the department store Santa (Chestnut) that she wishes for a man for her mom for Christmas, yet her two young sons (Malik Hammond, Jeremy Gumbs) aren't thrilled at the idea and go all Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone-like on her new love interest.

Along with Queen Latifah and Terrence Howard, actor-comedians Faizon Love, Charlie Murphy, and Katt Williams also star in this romantic comedy and bring the laughter.

Where to watch The Perfect Holiday: Amazon Prime Video

The Preacher's Wife (1996)


Denzel Washington is literally heaven-sent in this '90s Christmastime romantic comedy. The Oscar-winning actor stars as an angel named Dudley who is sent to help Rev. Henry Biggs (Courtney B. Vance) revive his marriage and his church. Whitney Houston plays Julia Biggs, the titular character, and she quickly becomes the object of Dudley's desires.

A remake of the 1947 movie The Bishop's Wife, The Preacher's Wife is a sweet, sentimental holiday film, bolstered by a soundtrack that was recorded by Houston and went three-times platinum, ultimately earning a Grammy nomination and selling more than six million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling gospel album of all time.

Where to watch The Preacher's Wife: Tubi

Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas (2013)


Adding to his slew of movies in the MCU (Madea Cinematic Universe), writer-director Tyler Perry channels the hot-headed matriarch for the franchise's Christmas rendition. This time around, Madea accompanies her friend Eileen (Anna Maria Horsford) to a small, rural town to visit the latter's daughter, Lacey (Tika Sumpter). Drama quickly ensues as nothing ever goes smoothly with Madea involved, yet the tough character brings her own Christmas spirit to the town.

Where to watch Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas: Amazon Prime Video (to rent)

Holiday Rush (2019)


A widower and his four spoiled kids are forced to downgrade in this heartfelt Netflix film about the true meaning of Christmas. Romany Malco (2005's The 40-Year-Old Virgin, A Million Little Things) plays Rush, a radio DJ who lost his wife and is fired from his job right as the holiday season approaches.

The five of them move back into their old house, and soon learn that less is more in this humbling family holiday movie, which also stars Sonequa Martin-Green (Star Trek: Discovery, The Walking Dead) and actor-comedian Deon Cole.

Where to watch Holiday Rush: Netflix

Black Nativity (2013)


What's Christmas without a musical? Directed by Kasi Lemmons (1997's Eve's Bayou, 2019's Harriet), this contemporary adaptation of Langston Hughes' gospel play of the same name features an all-star cast of actors and musicians for the story line's modern-day twist.

Single mother Naima (Jennifer Hudson) sends her son Langston (Jacob Latimore) from Baltimore to New York City to live with distant, religious relatives: Reverend Cornell (Forest Whitaker) and Aretha Cobbs (Angela Bassett). Naturally, Langston hates it and is determined to flee, but like any Christmas story, the power of the holiday spirit takes over.

Where to watch Black Nativity: Tubi

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (2020)


Almost Christmas director David E. Talbert is also behind this Netflix original about a toymaker, Jeronicus Jangle (Forest Whitaker), whose most beloved creation is stolen by his apprentice, Gustafson (Keegan-Michael Key). Jeronicus and his granddaughter (Madalen Mills) then team up to retrieve what's theirs, instilling a little Christmas magic and joy back into the town of Cobbleton.

A jovial holiday tale that's as fitting as can be for the season, Jingle Jangle features original songs and dance numbers, as well as a plethora of award-winning actors such as Anika Noni Rose and Phylicia Rashad.

Where to watch Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey: Netflix

Merry Liddle Christmas (2019)


Kelly Rowland stars in this Lifetime movie about a single woman, Jacquie Liddle, whose dysfunctional family arrives during the holidays and crashes in her peaceful abode.

While she tries to keep it together, she confides in and falls for her neighbor, Tyler Brooks (Thomas Cadrot), and — while unplanned — her Christmas turns into her most magical one yet. Merry Liddle Christmas marks Rowland's first time producing for television, and apparently did so well that it earned three sequels, Merry Liddle Christmas Wedding (2020), Merry Liddle Christmas Baby (2021), and the upcoming Merry Liddle Christmas Vacation.

Where to watch Merry Liddle Christmas: Hulu

Our Christmas Journey (2021)


When it comes to representation, Hallmark took it a step further with Our Christmas Journey. The film is the first holiday movie on the network to portray a character on the autism spectrum.

In this Christmas tale, single mom Lena (Holly Robinson Peete) is learning to give her teenage autistic son, Marcus (Nik Sanchez), more independence after he is afforded the opportunity to stay at a program upstate for people with cognitive challenges. The movie is an endearing story about family and letting go, making you feel the warmth of the season in the process.

Where to watch Our Christmas Journey: Hallmark Movies Now

Christmas Belles (2019)


Two best friends falling for the same man, so what could go wrong? A lot. Time is ticking for thirtysomething-year-old single besties Delia Ross (Raven Goodwin) and Porsha Baker (DomiNque Perry). As Christmas approaches, the two find themselves falling for the new pastor (Mark Taylor) in town, which tests their friendship along the way. While most holiday movies revolve around family, Christmas Belles focuses on friendship and the importance of chosen family and lifelong bonds.

Where to watch Christmas Belles: Amazon Prime Video

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