Although Christmas is a time of year for love and cheer for all, holiday cinema has not always represented diverse communities. Being a holiday with Christian origins, much of its media consists of straight white families or straight white romances. Luckily, modern years have been bringing with them plenty of POC and LGBTQ+ representation that the holidays so desperately need. Here are just a few to get you started!
Notice: If watching with children, it would be good to do some more research on these films, depending on the age of your child. Number 2, Jingle Jangle, is technically the only one marketed towards children, and several others may not be child-friendly at all.
After being diagnosed with a terminal illness, an introverted woman breaks out of her shell and flies off to Europe in order to complete her bucket list with her remaining time.
While not the most Christmas-centric film, it does take place during the holidays and has quite a few winter activities to get you in the mood. The fish-out-of-water story revolves around the adventures of Georgia Byrd (portrayed by the iconic Queen Latifah), an African American woman, as she shows the world how to appreciate life in the short time we all have. It’s a heartfelt story that will inspire holiday love and cheer.
Decades after being betrayed by his apprentice, a once joyful toymaker finds hope in his adventurous granddaughter and a magical invention that has the power to change their lives forever.
Jingle Jangle is a recent Christmas film with a predominantly African-American cast and brings us on a journey through a fantastical Christmas world of song and dance. It’s very theatrical and high-energy for much of the movie, so it’s perfect for the entire family to enjoy.
3. Carol (2015)
In 1950s New York, a department store clerk who dreams of a better life falls for an older, married woman, which brings complicated consequences.
This isn’t your average Christmas romance, this is a relationship full of baggage and complications. Often lauded as one of the greatest LGBTQ+ films of all time, this also isn’t your average lesbian romance either. Full of surprises, tender moments, stresses, and more, this film truly gives you everything you could possibly want in a drama without a tragic ending.
When a Chicago baker and a soon-to-be princess discover they look like twins, they create a holiday plan to trade places.
Much like a Hallmark movie, The Princess Switch easily captures the spirit of Christmas with representation to boot! It’s that “Prince and the Pauper” story we all know and love, where royalty is tired of the pressure, and normalcy is tired of the stress. It is mainly a romance, but is fun for the whole family.
After hearing that her pimp boyfriend cheated on her while she was in jail, a sex worker and her best friend set out to find him and teach him a lesson all on Christmas Eve.
From the description alone, I’m sure you can guess that this film is much more of a “Die Hard-esque” Christmas film than an “Elf-esque” one. What I mean by that is that the only relation this film has to Christmas is its setting: Tinseltown on Christmas Eve. However, this film is iconic enough to make it on the list. Regardless, it is an amazing journey through LA’s underbelly and is actually starring real trans women!
Warning: As a film made in 2003 Japan, its depiction of the drag queen character isn’t exactly up to our standard today, but for the time and place, I’d say they did quite well. Though, the “f” slur is stated quite a few times in jest, so that could ruin the entire film for some.
During Christmas Eve in Tokyo, three homeless people, alcoholic Gin, former drag queen Hana, and runaway girl Miyuki, discover an abandoned newborn while looking through the garbage. With only a handful of clues to the baby’s identity, the three misfits search the city to find their parents.
This film deals with heavy topics with several funny scenes to keep the energy up. It is not a typical Christmas movie, but if you crave drama and suspense, this gives you all of that with the touch of Winter snow you need. It’s a beautiful story and ends well, but it won’t give you the Christmas cheer you want.
A young woman’s plans to propose to her girlfriend while at her family’s annual holiday party are upended when she discovers her partner hasn’t yet come out to her conservative parents.
A funny Christmas romance turns into family drama in this recent film starring Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis. It’s both entertaining and stressful as it discusses many LGBTQ+ people’s issues of being accepted by family. The film has wonderful Christmas vibes and was a breath of fresh air in a year plagued by COVID-19.