16 Must-See Holiday Movies and Specials
Pour some hot cocoa and cozy up with new Christmas and Kwanzaa TV movies full of music, faith, romance, drama and cheer.
Do you need a little Christmas, like right this very minute? For an instant spirit booster, turn on your TV or tablet and escape into the winter wonderland of jolly and heart-tugging holiday movies. For your viewing pleasure, we’ve outlined where to tune in and stream films full of music, romance, family drama, laughs and even a sexy Santa, all featuring strong, smart and sassy sisters. Check your cable and streaming provider listings; most of these holiday films and specials will re-air or are available on demand.
The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” played on repeat. This Christmas we’ll have a front row seat to hear the pop diva belt that record-breaking hit and more on her new two-hour special, Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas to All!, filmed live at Madison Square Garden. It airs on December 20.
A stockingful of festive flicks will premiere throughout the holiday season. A New Orleans Noel casts Keshia Knight Pulliam (Rudy is all grown up) as an architect hired to work on the home of a New Orleans praline queen played by Patti LaBelle. And in Kirk Franklin’s The Night Before Christmas, Naturi Naughton shines as a mother stranded in a church during a Christmas Eve snowstorm with her daughter and a group of saintly strangers. Among them are Luke James as a handsome pastor and Franklin as a lively music teacher.
Deck the halls with the OG of wholesome holiday viewing. Lineup highlights follow. Holiday Heritage is Hallmark’s first celebration of Kwanzaa with Holly Robinson Peete. All Saints Christmas stars Ledisi as a celebrity vocalist who comes home for the holidays and rekindles an old flame. Inventing the Christmas Prince stars Tamera Mowry-Housley as a rocket scientist whose daughter has a vivid imagination. The Holiday Stocking is the touching story of a dearly departed brother (Mykelti Williamson) who returns to earth as an angel in disguise to help his estranged sisters reconcile and revive their Christmas spirit.
To keep your spirits bright, BET+ has 10 original films full of laughs, romance and musical cheer. What’s jingling our bells? The First Noelle stars Novi Brown of Tyler Perry’s Sistas as a book editor bent on wooing her ex from his new girlfriend, who is also her namesake. A Wesley Christmas features Jasmine Guy in a story about three adult siblings who spend Christmas with their parents in D.C., where holiday high jinks ensue. In A Miracle Before Christmas, Destiny’s Child alum LeToya Luckett portrays a popular relationship therapist who knows how to fix everyone else’s life. But she needs a little help from an angel to fix her own.
Add these two seasonal treats to your list of favorite things. The Great Holiday Bake War also stars LeToya Luckett, here playing a pastry chef who faces off against a rival cook (comedian Finesse Mitchell) and can’t decide if she loves him or loathes him. A Christmas Fumble stars Eva Marcille of America’s Next Top Model fame, who portrays a crisis management specialist opposite Sistas hottie Devale Ellis, cast as a football-star-turned-TV-commentator whose mix of work and pleasure becomes a conflict of interest.
Santa, baby! Most Wanted Santa tells the tale of a sexy Santa who, like Robin Hood, steals from the rich to give to the poor, and in the process falls for a beautiful FBI agent. This one premiered last year, but it’s streaming now in case you missed it.
It won’t be a silent night thanks to VH1’s music-and-humor-filled holiday lineup. We’ve got our peppermint bark and chocolate-drizzled popcorn ready for Hip Hop Family Christmas Wedding, starring R&B darlings Keri Hilson and Ne-Yo. All I Didn’t Want for Christmas, described by star Gabourey Sidibe as “a feel-good holiday story for adults who hate feel-good holiday stories,” also features Loretta Devine. A New Diva’s Christmas Carol is a modern twist on the Dickens classic. It is executive produced by Idris Elba — the gift that keeps on giving — and stars Ashanti as a Scrooge-like pop star who is visited by several Christmas spirits.