It’s about that time again. The lights and tree are up, the gifts are wrapped (or just about wrapped), we have received the snow already and many are checking those lists again– all because the Christmas season is upon us!
Alongside the family visits, cold weather and hot chocolate, your TV, laptop and media devices have nonstop Christmas and holiday programming for the next few weeks. In the age of streaming and Peak TV, there are so many holiday things to watch, so to help you get the most on the small screen, the Chicago Defender has put together a few listings of some new and exciting films featuring African American actors and actresses for you to check out this season.
4/3 a.m. c (Hallmark)
A Majestic Christmas
Christmas in the charming town of Briar Falls will be bittersweet this year when architect Nell goes back to her hometown having been given the job of turning the historic Majestic Playhouse into a modern multiplex, much to the town’s objections. This job is Nell’s first promotion, and one she wishes she hadn’t been chosen for, especially when she meets the new owner of the theater, Connor, whose vision and ideas clash with Nell’s. Since Connor hasn’t had much experience celebrating Christmas, Nell hopes that if she can give him a crash course in Christmas during the town’s Twelve Day Festival, that he might just change his mind about modernizing the Majestic. Starring Jerrika Hinton and Christian Vincent.
Coins for Christmas
7/6 p.m. c (TV One)
Single mom Madison (Essence Atkins) finds herself scraping pennies together two weeks before Christmas after the IRS freezes her bank account, her ex fails to come through with any help, and her boss fires her. Desperate to pay bills and buy gifts for her teenage children, Madison jumps into the ever-popular “gig economy.” That’s when she meets and eventually gets hired by obnoxious, sidelined former pro football player Alec Darby (Stephen Bishop), who is also secretly on the verge of going broke. This odd couple butts heads time and time again, but they eventually forge a friendship. And, to their surprise, they learn a lot about themselves and teach one another how to be better people.
Dec. 16 A Gingerbread Romance
8/7 c p.m. (Hallmark)
With Christmas just weeks away, the architecture firm Taylor works for enters her in a contest in which the teams will design and build life-sized gingerbread houses. After the contest, Taylor will likely be getting a promotion to a position in another city. The firm teams her up with Annabelle, a renowned French pastry chef with whom Taylor instantly locks horns. When Annabelle backs out, Taylor stumbles into a local bakery and meets Adam, a baker and single dad. In an act of desperation, Taylor convinces Adam to partner with her for the contest, arguing that winning would give the bakery and his designs much needed exposure. For years Taylor has been resistant to call anywhere “home” for fear it will only be temporary. But the time she spends with Adam and his daughter Brook in their cozy home, decorating for Christmas, and exploring Philadelphia at Christmas, fills her with a longing for a place to call home. Starring Tia Mowry-Hardrict and Duane Henry.
The following movies have already aired but you may be able to still watch them for a limited time on the network’s website or through streaming services.
“Every year, Isabelle (Tatyana Ali) and her high school sweetheart Mike (Cornelius Smith Jr.), rocked their small town’s annual Christmas Eve Pageant with a sweet Christmas duet. But after graduation, Isabelle left to study at Juilliard in New York – leaving Mike behind. Years later, when Isabelle returns to her hometown to write music for the annual Christmas Eve Pageant, she is shocked to learn that Mike is the one directing the show. Can Isabelle and Mike put the past behind them and reunite on stage for another show-stopping duet?”
The Christmas Pact
Can best friends fall in love? That’s the question next door neighbors Sadie (Kyla Pratt), and Ben (Jarod Joseph) will answer as they keep the spirit of Christmas and the magic of their childhood pact alive! When they were eight years old, they planted a scrawny 3-foot tall Christmas tree behind their church, and the Christmas Pact began. But as life gets in the way, the pact is threatened to be broken. Ben and Sadie need some Christmas Magic to recommit to each other and promise to keep their special holiday traditions. With each Christmas that passes by, Ben and Sadie’s Christmas tree grows taller and stronger; and so does their love. The pact bears fruit to the magic of Christmas and the definite answer. Yes, friends can fall in love!
Every Day is Christmas
Inspired by the Charles Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol,” shrewd money manager Alexis Taylor (Toni Braxton) gets the holiday visit of a lifetime. A self-proclaimed workaholic who “humbugs” love, Alexis ends up embracing the spirit of Christmas when her past, present, and future collide, forcing her to risk the one thing money can’t buy: her heart.
My Christmas Inn
With the holiday season in full swing, Jen Taylor (Mowry-Hardict) is about to score a big promotion at the San Francisco ad agency where she works. But her life is unexpectedly turned upside down when she inherits a cozy inn in Alaska from her aunt. When she goes to inspect the property and meets handsome town attorney Steve Anderson (Mayes), she’s surprised to find that nothing is what she expected. The small town community is full of fun and festive Christmas traditions, and soon, Jen starts wondering if the inn might just be the place she belongs and if Steve could be the Mr. Right she has been waiting for.
David and Tamela Mann star in “Merry Wishmas.” “Merry Wishmas” revolves around Keneisha “Kenni” Wright (Tamela Mann), a successful businesswoman who hasn’t returned to her hometown in quite some time. When her mother, Regina (Elizabeth Omilami), who is recovering from foot surgery, cannot come to spend Christmas with her, Kenni grudgingly packs her bags and heads South. Regina is delighted to see her daughter — Kenni’s sister (Chrystale Wilson), not so much. Kenni, who has avoided the annual holiday trip to her hometown of Columbia, South Carolina for years. While she is hoping for the best, as with any family, unresolved issues are lingering that could make the holiday not so bright.
The Truth About Christmas
Follows Jillian, (Kali Hawk) a successful political consultant, confident in her ability to put a spin on anything whose next big project is the upcoming mayoral campaign for her boyfriend, George. On the way to meet George’s family for the first time during the holidays, an unusual confrontation with a toy store Santa results in a drastic change in Jillian where she can’t stop herself from wildly spilling the truth. Jillian must find a way to make it stop before her holidays, her job and her relationship are ruined.
“Christmas is fast approaching, and years of long workdays employed at New York’s top corporate law firm are about to pay off now that Lucy Toomey (Tatyana Ali second X-mas film this year) will be made partner after the New Year. However, when Alice, her older sister with special needs, unexpectedly passes away, Lucy returns back to Nilson’s Bay, Wis., to attend the funeral and handle her estate. While Lucy dreads returning to her childhood home, she also feels real sorrow that she was too busy to take her sister’s last call. Once back in Nilson’s Bay, Lucy meets Peter (Dondre Whitfield), her old high school sweetheart and Alice’s former attorney, who informs her of the terms of Alice’s eccentric will that states in order for Lucy to inherit the family home, she must live there for 30 days through the holidays.”
A Stone Cold Christmas
A twist on the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, “A Stone Cold Christmas” stars Demetria McKinney (Saints & Sinners, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne) as Mia Stone, a shrewd businesswoman and a dreadful boss, who is more concerned about money than family and friends. When Mia finds herself face-to-face with the love of her life, she is forced to deal with past decisions if she has any chance of a future.