When the Christmas holiday rolls around, we all gravitate towards stories that celebrate the holiday. There’s something about watching two people fall in love under gently falling snow, or a family rediscover the magic of Christmastime that fills our hearts with joy.
Whether you’re in the mood for a romantic comedy, an emotional drama, or a musical that can be enjoyed by the whole family, there are a ton of fantastic black Christmas movies to choose from. These movies feature incredible black actors, writers, and directors, and are available on a variety of streaming services for easy access.
We’ve compiled a list that includes some of the best black Christmas movies ever made. While the popcorn is popping and the hot chocolate cools, read on to learn more about these timeless Christmas stories.
The Preacher’s Wife (1996)
The Preacher’s Wife is a comedy-drama remake of the 1947 movie The Bishop’s Wife starring Cary Grant. It was directed by Penny Marshall and features a powerhouse cast, including Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston, Loretta Devine, Courtney B. Vance, Lionel Richie, and Gregory Hines.
Vance plays a Baptist pastor named Henry in New York City, struggling to keep his church and his marriage afloat. His work overwhelms him and leads him to neglect his wife Julia, played by Houston. Desperate for help, Henry prays to God. God responds by sending Henry an angel named Dudley, played by Washington.
Overall, the movie grossed over $48,000,000 in the United States. The movie was nominated for the Oscar for Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy Score, as well as five NAACP Image Awards. Whitney Houston won an Image Award for Best Actress, while Loretta Devine won Best Supporting Actress.
A Diva’s Christmas Carol (2000)
Fans of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol will love this remake with a modern twist. The film stars Vanessa Williams as Ebony Scrooge, an egotistical yet popular singer.
Ebony Scrooge is a cold, mean-spirited woman that lacks any semblance of holiday cheer. She is unkind to her manager Bob Cratchitt, played by Brian McNamara, her bandmates, and even neglects her family members in the pursuit of wealth and fame.
During a stint in New York City before a holiday charity concert, a performance she is doing not out of the goodness of her heart but for her own selfish gain, Ebony Scrooge is visited by three spirits. They take her back in time as well as help her confront the realities of her present, showing her how ignorance and greed will ruin her if she continues walking the path she’s on.
The soundtrack to the movie was sung primarily by Vanessa Williams as well. She recorded the soundtrack’s two original songs “Heartquake” and “Heart of Christmas,” in addition to a remake of the holiday classic “Sleigh Ride.”
Fat Albert’s Christmas Special (1977)
This animated Fat Albert and the gang are rehearsing a play in their junkyard clubhouse one Christmas when the owner of the junkyard, Mr. Tyrone, stops by. He threatens to have the clubhouse bulldozed.
In the meantime, a poor family of three show up after experiencing some car trouble. Fat Albert takes the family in temporarily, while the rest of the gang tries and reason with the cantankerous Mr. Tyrone and get him to see what Christmas truly means.
Christmas In My Heart (2021)
Another great Hallmark Christmas movie is Christmas in My Heart, starring Heather Hemmens, Luke Macfarlane, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and Maria Nash.
Hemmens plays Beth, a violinist who returns home after the death of her mother and begins tutoring the talented child of a rather reclusive country star named Sean. Beth helps the child prepare for an upcoming holiday concert while realizing she has romantic feelings for Sean.
Last Holiday (2006)
Last Holiday stars Queen Latifah in a romantic comedy about a woman who is told she only has weeks to live. LL Cool J, Giancarlo Esposito, and Timothy Hutton also star.
Latifah’s character, Georgia Byrd, is a cookware salesperson at a popular New Orleans department store. She is a humble woman who lives a quiet, unassuming life.
After a minor accident at work during the holidays sends her to the doctor’s office, Georgia must come to terms with the fact that she has several brain tumors and a terminal neurological disorder.
Georgia empties her bank account and goes on a luxurious final trip to Europe. While on her trip, she makes friends with the hotel staff, goes on numerous zany adventures, and tries to make every last moment count.
Latifah’s charm, warmth, and humorous portrayal of Georgia helped her be nominated for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture.
A Picture Perfect Holiday (2021)
Tatyana Ali plays a freelance photographer named Gaby in this charming holiday movie about two photographers who fall in love. Gaby dreams of being a major fashion photographer and attends a Christmas photography retreat to help boost her portfolio.
When she arrives at the retreat, she finds her room has been double-booked with another photographer, a man named Sean, played by Henderson Wade. The two must navigate an uncomfortable living situation while expanding their talents at the retreat. Will they fall in love along the way?
Merry Liddle Christmas (2019)
In this comedy-drama, Kelly Rowland plays Jacquie, a modern, successful entrepreneur. Kelly’s messy, chaotic family members arrive at her home for Christmas to help Kelly with a marketing stunt, and before long are filling the house with drama.
Jacquie and her family have to come together to celebrate the holidays and all of their different traditions if they are to have the “perfect Christmas.”
This Christmas (2007)
This Christmas is a popular Black Christmas movie with a powerhouse cast. The movie stars Loretta Devine as the family matriarch Ma’Dear Whitfield, who alongside her live-in boyfriend Joe, played by Delroy Lindo, welcomes home Ma’Dear’s six children and their families.
The children and their significant others are played by incredible black actors such as Idris Elba, Chris Brown, Loretta Devine, Regina King, Mekhi Phifer, Columbus Short, and Laz Alonso, among others.
Loretta Devine was nominated for a 2008 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture, and Chris Brown was nominated for an MTV Movie Award for Breakthrough Performance.
Our Christmas Journey (2021)
Holly Robinson stars in this Hallmark movie as Lena, a single mother of an autistic child named Marcus. Marcus’ father gets him an interview at a program for neurodivergent individuals, and the three make the trip north just days before Christmas.
Throughout the weekend, Lena learns to let go of her son so that he can flourish, reconnects with her ex-husband, and makes several new friends. The story is a hopeful one that will have you weeping happy tears into your popcorn.
Baking Spirits Bright (2021)
Mira (Rekha Sharma) is an entrepreneurial woman who works in her family’s fruitcake business. However, the business is struggling with the fruitcake’s decline in popularity.
Mira’s father decides to hire a marketing company to help the business increase sales. Brady (Dion Johnstone) is sent to help. Before long, Mira finds herself falling in love with Brady, and struggles to hold on to both her heart and the soul of her family’s company.
The Perfect Holiday (2007)
The Perfect Holiday stars Gabrielle Union as Nancy, a divorcee and dedicated mother of three who spends zero time taking care of herself. Despite this, Nancy longs for a romantic partner, someone she can depend on and who will love her.
During a visit to the mall to see Santa, one of Nancy’s daughters overhears her mother saying she would like to receive a compliment from a man. Benjamin, played by Morris Chestnut, is acting as Santa for the day and is told this wish.
Before long, the two are happily dating and falling in love. But Nancy’s ex-husband, a prominent rap artist played by Charles Q. Murphy, threatens to undo the couple’s relationship and crush Benjamin’s dream of becoming a legitimate songwriter.
The film’s supporting cast includes Katt Williams, Faizon Love, and Charlie Murphy. Queen Latifah also stars as an omniscient kind angel named “Mrs. Christmas” alongside Terrence Howard who plays her counterpart, an angel named “Bah Humbug.”
This made-for-TV movie stars Christina Milian as Angela, a woman who dreams of having the perfect, traditional Christmas.
One day, she receives a mysterious package in the mail that contains a snowglobe. The snowglobe turns out to be able to magically transport Angela inside of it. In the snowglobe, every day is the perfect Christmas holiday. Angela finds herself spending more and more time inside the snowglobe, to the detriment of her real life.
The Holiday Calendar (2018)
The Holiday Calendar is a sweet Christmas romantic comedy hosted on Netflix that celebrates the magic of the holiday and its ability to make dreams come true.
The movie follows Abby Sutton, played by Kat Graham, a struggling but talented young photographer. She receives an Advent calendar from her grandfather before the holidays begin, and although she is less than impressed with the gift, she brings it home and opens it.
Before long, Abby realizes that the Advent calendar is magical. Each day, the calendar’s contents connect to an event in Abby’s life. Throughout December, Abby meets new friends, connects with old ones, and discovers who she is and what she really wants out of life.
Christmas For Sale (2021)
In 2021, BET+ released Christmas For Sale, a heartwarming holiday movie that deals with mistaken identities, true intentions, and falling in love.
Terri, played by Shanti Lowry, is a high-powered real estate mogul from New York in need of a good sale for her struggling business. George, played by Aaron D. Spears, is a billionaire selling his luxury apartment who initially mistakes her for his yoga instructor.
Before long, the two find themselves falling for each other. As Christmas draws closer, Terri must decide if and how she should confess her initial intentions to George.
A Jenkins Family Christmas (2021)
A Jenkins Family Christmas is another popular BET+ Christmas movie starring Bailey Bass, Tammy Townsend, Kim Coles, and Regina Taylor.
The plot follows two sisters, Baneatta and Beverly, as they attempt to celebrate the holiday after the recent death of their father. The pair bicker their way through holiday traditions until a half-sister they didn’t know existed arrives.
Together, the three Jenkins sisters must come to terms with their father’s death, as well as discover who they are as a family.
Christmas Deja Vu (2021)
Amber Riley, Loretta Devine, and Blue Kimble star in this hopeful and emotional Christmas movie.
Kandi (Riley) is an aspiring singer struggling to make it through a holiday she hates. She works hard in dead-end jobs, dreaming of the life she could have had as a singer. One day, an angel visits Kandi and grants her a wish.
Kandi is thrust into the spotlight and must come to terms with who she is as a singer versus who she is in her regular life. Can she be happy in her old life and learn to forgive herself for past mistakes?
Merry Switchmas (2021)
Twin sisters Denise and Desiree, played by Rachel and Rebekah Alladin, decide to switch places at their parents’ annual holiday party. Their goal is to help each other uncover separate truths. Guests at the party include their boyfriends, grandparents, and plenty of friends and family members that fall for the identical twins’ trick.
Throughout the party, the twins discover unexpected truths about themselves, their sister, and their other family members. It’s a humorous tale with plenty of twists and turns to keep the whole family entertained.
Twas the Chaos Before Christmas (2019)
In this made-for-TV movie, two families come together to celebrate the Christmas holiday.
The Mitchells are a wealthy New York City family spending Christmas in Washington D.C. The Russells are a working-class family who, after winning the lottery, also decide to spend Christmas in Washington D.C.
The two families, who could not be more different, end up booking the same rental house. This results in complete chaos for both groups, who have to work together to celebrate Christmas the way they each intended to.
The movie stars Cynthia Kaye McWilliams, Sherri Shepherd, Affion Crockett, and Victoria Rowell.
Throwback Holiday (2018)
Throwback Holiday follows a young woman named Jacqueline, played by Jennifer Freeman. Jacqueline lives an unsatisfying life in a troubled marriage.
One day, she runs into her old high-school classmate Aaron (Robert Ri’chard). He sparks old feelings in her, and she finds herself wishing that she could go back in time and rewrite her past.
When Jacqueline awakens the next morning, she is a high-school senior with the power to undo her past mistakes and change her life.
For the Love of Christmas (2016)
Bryson, played by Trae Ireland, is a devoted husband to his wife Sunday, played by Jazsmin Lewis. Bryson wants children, but Sunday has lost her connection with her marriage and the idea of love and generosity.
One day, a homeless family shows up on their doorstep. Although Jazsmin is resistant to help them at first, soon they have opened her eyes to the spirit of giving and what Christmas really means.
Cooking Up Christmas (2020)
In this sweet, romantic Christmas movie, Chloe (Meagan Holder) is an Atlanta-based chef who loses her job just before the holidays. She is forced to take a job in the home of a famous baseball player named Donovon’s home (Lamman Rucker).
Chloe and Donovon work together to bring holiday magic and cheer into the house for his three children.
Black Nativity (2013)
If you enjoy musicals but find yourself unable to find a quality Christmas musical with an all-black cast, Black Nativity may be the movie for you.
The film, which is based on the 1961 Langston Hughes play “Black Nativity,” is packed with big names like Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Jennifer Hudson, Nas, Mary J. Blige, Tyrese Gibson, and Jacob Latimore.
The story follows Langston, a teenager who is sent to his estranged yet wealthy grandparents’ home in New York for the holidays after his mother is evicted from her home. Langston encounters several misfortunes upon his arrival in New York City before ending up in his grandparents’ care, played by Whitaker and Bassett.
The play “Black Nativity” is being performed at Langton’s grandparents’ church, and serves as the underlying theme of the plot. Langston meets many unique characters through this play, who helps him uncover the true meaning of Christmas and what it means to be a family.
Miracle in Motor City (2021)
This made-for-TV Lifetime movie stars Tia Mowry-Hardrict as Amber Dupont, a caring and ambitious young woman who accidentally promises to have the famous Smokey Robinson perform at her church’s Christmas pageant.
To help her plan the pageant, Amber’s friends enlist the help of her old boyfriend Eddie, played by Mark Taylor, in the hopes that the two will rekindle their old flame. Eddie and Amber work together to make the impossible act of having Smokey Robinson perform a reality. As a result, hilarity and hijinks ensue.
The movie was written by Rhonda Baraka and produced by Tia Mowry, Charles Tremayne, and Jeff Vanderwal. It is a charming, fun holiday story that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Almost Christmas (2016)
Almost Christmas is a charming holiday movie with a star-studded cast. It is a comedy-drama that has themes of fatherhood, the importance of family, grief, acceptance, and overcoming personal challenges.
The movie stars Danny Glover as Walter Meyers, a widower who has recently invited all four of his grown children home for the holidays. His children, played by Kimberly Elise, Romany Malco, Gabrielle Union, and Jessie Usher, bring plenty of their own drama home for Christmas, which makes for an eventful week.
The Best Man Holiday (2013)
The Best Man Holiday is a heartwarming and emotional Christmas movie starring a host of incredibly talented black actors. The star-studded cast includes Taye Diggs, Nia Long, Terrence Howard, Regina Hall, Sanaa Lathan, Melissa De Sousa, and Harold Perrineau.
In the movie, Lance Sullivan, played by Morris Chestnut, is a retiring NFL football player whose sick wife Mia, played by Monica Calhoun, has invited all of their college friends to spend Christmas with them.
Throughout The Best Man Holiday, the estranged group comes together to patch up fractured relationships and fan the flames of old romances. As new, heartbreaking challenges arise, the group is forced to realize what they all mean to one another and to help one another navigate the peaks and valleys of life.
A Family Reunion Christmas (2019)
Fans of the Netflix show Family Reunion will love the holiday sitcom that follows the same characters over the Christmas holidays. It is a light, humorous Black holiday movie that can be enjoyed by the whole family, as well as fans of the 80s and 90s TV actresses.
The story follows the Williams sisters, M’Dear (Loretta Devine), Maybelle (Telma Hopkins), and Dot (Jackee Harry).
The holiday movie centers around M’Dear’s son and daughter-in-law, played by Tia Mowry-Hardrict, and their four children. Their family moves in with M’Dear and struggles to keep the Christmas magic alive for their youngest child, who is questioning whether or not Santa is real.
Antics and levity ensue, leading up to the annual church Christmas pageant. Will the Williams sisters come together to sing one more time, or will the night end in a sisterly spat?
A New York Christmas Wedding (2020)
A groundbreaking Netflix film that features an incredible Black and Latinx cast is A New York Christmas Wedding. This movie uses the Christmas magic trope and alternate timelines to tell the story of a queer woman named Jennifer, played by Nia Fairweather, and her search for true love.
Jennifer is scheduled to marry her fiance David (Otoja Abit) on Christmas Eve. Before this happens, an angel named Azrael visits Jennifer to show her what her life might’ve been like if she’d acted on her feelings for her best friend Gabrielle (Adriana DeMeo) before her untimely death several decades before.
Abit wrote and directed the film, in addition to starring. The film has all of the feel-good elements and sweet romance that you look for in a Christmas film. However, it also has plenty of depth and covers themes like homophobia and teen pregnancy.
Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas (2013)
Tyler Perry reprises his role as the larger-than-life Madea in this raucous and feel-good Christmas film. In typical fashion, Tyler Perry wrote, directed, produced, and starred in the movie.
The plot follows Madea and her niece Eileen, played by Anna Maria Horsford, on their trip to the small town where Eileen’s daughter lives. Her daughter Lacey (Tika Sumpter) refused to come home for Christmas because she had married a white man named Connor (Eric Lively) without telling anyone. She worries her mother will disapprove of the marriage.
Christmas serves as the backdrop to this film, however, there are other more serious themes discussed throughout the story. Racism, acceptance, inclusivity, and diversity are all addressed, with the main point being that regardless of where we come from or the color of our skin, we are all the same.
Despite this important plot point, the movie is rated PG-13 and is not considered suitable for the whole family.
Friday After Next (2002)
This hilarious Christmas comedy stars Ice Cube and Mike Epps as cousins Craig and Day-Day. The pair are forced to take jobs as mall security guards when a robber dressed as Santa Claus breaks into their apartment and steals their belongings and Christmas presents. Most importantly, he takes the duo’s overdue rent money.
Throughout the movie, Craig and Day-Day involve themselves in a myriad of ridiculous scenarios. The pair are desperate to hunt down the man who robbed them and retrieve their stolen rent money before their landlady evicts them. They end up in several brawls and foot chases and run into some colorful characters along the way.
Initially, the movie did not receive favorable reviews. However, since its release, it has obtained a cult-like following. Despite its hilarity and over-the-top comedic performances, this is definitely not a family movie and should be enjoyed by adults only.
Bad Santa (2003)
Adults with a darker sense of humor will love Bad Santa, a Christmas comedy film by the Coen brothers starring Bernie Mac and Billy Bob Thornton.
Willie Soke, played by Thornton, is a professional thief that works the mall circuit during the holidays as Santa. His antics and vulgarity while on the job are brought to the attention of security chief Gin Slagel, played by Mac.
Mac and Thornton are an incredible duo with tons of chemistry. They lend a real human element to pull off an otherwise outlandish plot, full of car chases, gunfire, and blackmail.
The Wiz (1978)
The Wiz is a modern take on the original The Wizard of Oz film starring Judy Garland.
In this film, a Harlem teacher named Dorothy, played by Diana Ross, loses her dog in a winter snowstorm. When she chases after him, she is magically transported to an urban landscape called Oz. Upon her arrival, she accidentally kills the Wicked Witch of the East which does not please her sister, the Wicked Witch of the West.
Eager to escape the magical but sinister city, Dorothy teams up with new friends the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, and the Tin Man to help her find a man called Wiz. He is a famous wizard that can supposedly help her get back to her real home in New York for Christmas.
The film loosely follows the traditional plot of the 1939 film, but with an all-Black cast. Big names from the 70s and 80s including Richard Pryor, Nipsey Russell, Michael Jackson, and Lena Horne deliver incredible performances.
The film also won several awards after it was released. It was nominated for several Academy Awards, including Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design. Several performers were nominated for Saturn Awards, and Michael Jackson received a 1979 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture.
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Story (2020)
Forest Whitaker is stunning in his portrayal of Jeronicus Jangle, a beleaguered toymaker, and inventor. Following a financial and creative rut caused by the betrayal from his apprentice, his granddaughter Journey is sent to stay with him until Christmas.
Together, Journey, Jeronicus, and their friends must come to bring justice and hope back to the Jangle family name. There are themes of family, love, forgiveness, and friendship throughout, and the story is told in a fantastic musical format.
The movie also stars Phylicia Rashad, Keegan-Michael Key, Madalen Mills, and Anika Noni Rose. It was released on Netflix in November of 2020 and received ten nominations at the 52nd Annual NAACP Image Awards.
The Christmas Hotel (2019)
The Christmas Hotel focuses on Erin, played by Tatyana Ali. Erin is a modern, ambitious New York hotelier who returns to her hometown to renovate the inn where she began her career. Unfortunately, the hotel renovation is not something that the locals are pleased about, and Erin is immediately confronted with their complaints and concerns.
Erin must convince the town that the hotel, which she decides will be Christmas-themed all year long, is a good thing that will benefit the town’s local businesses. The longer she stays in town she is forced to decide what matters more, her career or following her heart.
Top Black Christmas Movies, Final Thoughts
Christmas movies are a special part of the holiday season. Luckily, no matter what style of movie you’re in the mood for, you are sure to find a quality story performed by black actors and actresses to help you celebrate. From the goofiness of Bad Santa to the feel-good warmth of This Christmas, there’s a little something for everyone.