5 holiday movies you can watch as a family on Christmas Day (if you’re so inclined)

OPINION: There’s nothing like sitting around the television after opening presents to watch other people do the same thing.

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Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

Hark the holiday angels sing, glory to the movie kings. In my head, that opened much better than it does on reread. I’m going to leave it though, to remind myself that all jokes ain’t worth making. I’ve already lost my way. 

Ah, yes, movies. Holiday season is upon us, and if there’s one industry that has made a mint on Christmas it’s the film industry. While we’re all spending our hard-earned money in commercial establishments around the world, the film industry is making a movie about it, but also making sure people fall in love while doing it. And there is nothing better than falling in love while shopping for soaps and lotions at Bath & Body Works. I don’t know this for certain — I’ve never fallen in love there — but I imagine it’s the ultimate meet-cute. And who doesn’t love a good meet-cute? Definitely not Santa Claus; Santa apparently is as busy with love (both new and reunited) during the Christmas season as Cupid is during Valentine’s Day. As such, there are a tremendous number of movies you can watch with your family on Christmas Day (or any day around Christmas, really) that can give you the jollies and feel-goods. 

Allow me to share with you five that I rather enjoy. 

1. “Home Alone”

I mean, is it even Christmas if you’re not watching the McAllisters forget one of their children and then watch a mother’s love propel her across the country back to Chicago to her son who has amazingly warded off cat burglars in the most MacGyver-style possible? Not only is this movie wonderful, but it also’s a time capsule of a time when there were no cell phones, and people could go all the way to the gate in airports, and they could forget their kid at home and not end up in jail. Either that or it’s an exercise in white privilege. Either way, I love it, and it’s a wonderful Christmas Day film where Kevin (Macauley Culkin) also learns not to judge books by their covers. Lessons and carols all around. 

2. “This Christmas”

There are a ton of Black family films about Christmas. “This Christmas” is one of my favorites. Like many, it’s an ensemble cast that stars Chris Brown, Idris Elba, Loretta Devine, Lauren London, Regina King, Laz Alonso, Mekhi Phifer, etc. It’s stacked with talent and shenanigans. For instance, I never once thought about pouring baby lotion all over a bathroom floor as a means of vengeance. It’s a story about family love, bonding, secrets and redemption and has a wonderful soundtrack. If you don’t feel like hugging your sibling after this then what is Christmas, ya know?

3. “Boxing Day”

For some international flavor, “Boxing Day” is your move. It’s a movie about the day AFTER Christmas, Dec. 26, which is a thing in England and many African countries with ties to Britain as well. And Canada. Either way, this movie about mixing cultures (African-American, Nigerian, Caribbean) and love on foreign soil is both informative and entertaining. Plus there are celebrities, secrets, proposals and wonderful fashion sprinkled all up and throughout this film. I’d say watch this one after 5 p.m. when the kids are all eating with the other kids and playing with their toys and not paying attention to what’s on television. You’re welcome.

4. “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey”

If you’re into Christmas musicals, historical fiction and folks named Jangle, “Jingle Jangle” is your absolute jam. For starters, the story is heartwarming; I was touched. Sniffle. For seconds, the music on this joint is jamtastic. Get it? Joints and jams? Like Black Eyed Peas? Which people eat during the holiday season? Let’s move on. “Jingle Jangle” ALSO has amazing graphics and toys, which makes this is a film that can be enjoyed by folks from 8 to 80. I’m 43…I’m in there! (My 2-year-old also enjoys the movie, for the record.) 

5. “Merry Liddle Christmas”

Six words: Kelly Rowland is in this movie. I’m not sure anything else needs to be said. It’s a Lifetime movie so you know it’s safe and sanitized, which makes it a perfect Christmas movie. While the kids might not appreciate it, just tell them that Kelly Rowland is the most important person in Black history and that they’re watching an actual angel; that might do the trick. Or just let them play with their toys. Either way, Kelly Rowland is in this movie and there are sequels. Sign me up for hours of Christmas joy. 


Panama Jackson theGrio.com

Panama Jackson is a columnist at theGrio. He writes very Black things and drinks very brown liquors, and is pretty fly for a light guy. His biggest accomplishment to date coincides with his Blackest accomplishment to date in that he received a phone call from Oprah Winfrey after she read one of his pieces (biggest), but he didn’t answer the phone because the caller ID said “Unknown” (Blackest).

Make sure you check out the Dear Culture podcast every Thursday on theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, where I’ll be hosting some of the Blackest conversations known to humankind. You might not leave the convo with an afro, but you’ll definitely be looking for your Afro Sheen! Listen to Dear Culture on TheGrio’s app; download it here.

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