By Intisar Seraaj
No matter what holiday or tradition you’re observing this season—if any at all, everyone could still use a positive message during this time of the year. With fewer daylight hours, many of us are prone to increased feelings of loneliness, sadness, and depression—especially during this year! So, here are our suggestions for family, holiday-themed flicks that are sure to bring a little positivity and joy back into your 2020. These selections are all available to stream on Netflix now.
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is a holiday musical about a toymaker—played by Forest Whitaker—who rediscovers his creative spark, love for life, and self-confidence decades after his apprentice—played by comedian Keegan Michael Key—betrays him and after the tragic death of his wife. It’s his granddaughter who helps him to remember who he is through the power of faith and their natural inventive abilities.
This film is STEM-centric, incorporating and championing science, technology, engineering, and math. The cast is exceptionally culturally diversified, featuring well-known actors like Ricky Martin, Anika Noni Rose, Hugh Bonneville, and Phylicia Rashad. It’s a must-see for people of color, for anyone interested in STEM, and for anyone working on regaining their self-confidence. The dance numbers expose the audience to various styles of dancing, from traditional African dance to jazz and hip-hop. One of the best parts of the film—as should be in musicals—is the songs! They are extremely inspirational and catchy, featuring positive affirmations like “the square root of impossible is possible in me,” “I know that I’m unstoppable,” and “Just ’cause I’m small don’t mean that I can’t kiss the clouds.”
Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker is a documentary that goes behind the scenes of Debbie Allen’s dance production of her own creation of the Hot Chocolate Nutcracker. Allen, world-renowned dancer and sister to actress Phylicia Rashad, created the Hot Chocolate Nutcracker for children of color to feel more seen and heard and to be more represented in the world of dance, especially classical dance styles like ballet. This documentary also features tidbits about her journey as a major dancer and choreographer and takes us on the inside of her the Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles. This is a biopic for the whole family, especially for those interested in dance or for those faced with the challenges of pursuing their dreams as a person of color. This film will leave you inspired, with a new perspective on work ethic, and an understanding of the importance of representation.
The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two is the sequel to The Christmas Chronicles, which is centered around a teen girl who’s on a Christmas family vacation in a tropical paradise. Her world’s been turned upside down by the death of her father, and now her mother is in a new, serious relationship with a man played by the famous singer Tyrese Gibson. The girl is upset when her mother’s boyfriend takes them on a nontraditional Christmas vacation, when she’d rather be back home with snow, carolers and her school friends, and partaking in other typical holiday traditions. When she and the son of her mother’s boyfriend are unknowingly kidnapped, they end up teaming up with Santa Claus—played by Kurt Russel—to save Christmas. In the end, she comes to realize all she needs to have a merry Christmas is her family, no matter where they’re celebrating at.
The film features other well-known actors like Goldie Hawn, Lamorne Morris, Patrick Gallagher, and Malcolm McDowell.
Angela’s Christmas Wish is the sequel to Angela’s Christmas (2018) about a strong-minded little girl who sets out to reunite her family in time for Christmas. This animated comedy is a tender, 47-minute story about the importance of family and togetherness. Featuring characters inspired by novelist Frank McCourt and set in Ireland in the early 1900s, this film teaches the audience that money doesn’t buy happiness, as the main character and her family live in poverty but don’t lack joy and are still generous and full of love. The short movie is poignant for this year while many people are separated from their families due to COVID-19, as Angela’s only holiday wish is for her father to return home.
If this year’s global pandemic hasn’t already shown you, we hope these films teach you of the real importance of life: family, striving for your goals, resilience (or faith), and gratitude. From all of us at Seraaj Family Homes, Inc., we’re wishing you a happy holiday season!