The holiday season has arrived, and for many, a beloved tradition is curling up by the fire to binge-watch feel-good Christmas movies. When it comes to Yuletide cheer, Hallmark Christmas films reign supreme. This year brings a fresh batch of original titles like Christmas with a Kiss and Heaven Down Here to Hallmark’s annual “Countdown to Christmas” lineup, in addition to re-airings of classics from Christmases past.
Easy to get wrapped up in with their irresistible blend of romantic chemistry, good-natured corniness, wholesome life lessons, and warm holiday sparkle, these movies hit the sweet spot for family-friendly entertainment ideal for bringing everyone together. With such an extensive selection to choose from, guidance on the best places to start can be useful.
The following list compiles some of Hallmark’s most enjoyable Christmas offerings from the past five years featuring Black lead actors and actresses. Ranked by a combination of IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes scores, these crowd-pleasing films are guaranteed to get you in the holiday spirit.
12. Heaven Down Here (2023)
Release Date: Dec. 14, 2023
Heaven Down Here, releasing on December 14, is a Hallmark Christmas movie inspired by the song of the same name by Mickey Guyton. The movie takes place in a diner in which four desperate people are trapped inside on the heavily snowy night of Christmas Eve. Each of these four people is dealing with their own troubles during the holiday season, and being trapped at a diner does not make it any better. Imani is a widowed mother of two who is taking on a shift at the diner reluctantly, Dan is her Scrooge of a boss, Felix is a pastor facing a faith-related challenge, and Clara is a hospice nurse who is questioning her purpose. The movie chronicles how one night turns these troubled strangers into the answer to each other’s prayers.
11. Christmas With a Kiss (2023)
Release Date: Dec. 3, 2023
Christmas With a Kiss is one of the new titles on the list of Hallmark Christmas movies for 2023. The movie airs on December 3 and tells the story of Morgan, a woman returning to her hometown for the holidays to help with her family’s Christmas carnival. While back home, Morgan is intertwined in romance and a surprise reunion organized by Rowe, a photojournalist.
10. Christmas in Harmony (2021)
IMDb Rating: 5.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes: None
Christmas in Harmony (2021) is a heartwarming holiday film centered around Emma, a talented pianist, who returns to her small hometown of Harmony for Christmas. She reconnects with her estranged family and old flame, Scott while planning a Christmas concert to save the town’s beloved theater. As Emma navigates her complicated past and finds herself drawn back into the magic of Harmony, the movie unfolds with themes of love, forgiveness, and the joy of rediscovering one’s roots during the festive season.
9. Christmas in Evergreen: Bells are Ringing (2020)
IMDb Rating: 5.8/10
In Christmas in Evergreen: Bells are Ringing (2020), the picturesque town of Evergreen is preparing for its annual Christmas celebration. Allie (Holly Robinson Peete), a veterinarian, arrives in town hoping to spend the holidays with her family, but unexpected travel delays strand her there. As she gets involved in the town’s festive traditions and helps the locals, she crosses paths with Ryan (Colin Lawrence), a longtime friend who is rekindling his family’s Christmas bell-making tradition. Amidst their efforts to restore the town’s holiday bells and grant a Christmas wish, Allie and Ryan find themselves drawn closer together, discovering the magic of love and the importance of community during the holiday season in Evergreen.
8. All Saints Christmas (2022)
IMDb Rating: 5.8/10
All Saints Christmas (2022) is an all-Black led edition to the Hallmark Christmas Movies 2023 list. The film’s protagonist is a popular R&B singer named Lissette, who is preparing to go home to New Orleans to be with her family this Christmas. However, her trip home becomes trouble when a picture of her and her ex, a music producer, is mistaken as the two’s engagement announcement. Lissette’s family insists the rumored fiancé joins Lissette on her trip home, leaving her with public and private drama.
7. Holiday Heritage (2022)
IMDb Rating: 5.9/10
Hallmark raked in another Christmas hit in 2022 with Holiday Heritage. The movie follows Ella, with the help of her ex-boyfriend, as she returns to her hometown and tries to bring her family back together. Ella needs to convince her family to come together and celebrate Christmas and Kwanzaa before it is “too late.”
6. Jingle Bell Bride (2020)
IMDb Rating: 6.1/10
In Jingle Bell Bride (2020), wedding planner Jessica Perez (Julie Gonzalo) is assigned to organize a destination wedding at the scenic Snowfall Lodge in Alaska. When her wedding photographer unexpectedly falls ill, Jessica seeks the help of her estranged ex-boyfriend, Aiden (Ronnie Rowe Jr.), a freelance photographer, to cover the event. As they journey through the wintry landscapes and work together to capture the perfect shots, old feelings start to resurface. Amidst the holiday magic and the picturesque Alaskan setting, Jessica and Aiden rediscover what drew them together in the first place, rekindling their love while finding unexpected opportunities for second chances.
5. A Christmas Miracle (2019)
IMDb Rating: 6.4/10
A Christmas Miracle (2019) revolves around Emma (Tamera Mowry-Housley), a single mom and reporter assigned to cover a town’s annual Christmas Miracle event. Her skepticism clashes with the town’s long-standing belief in the miraculous event, especially as she investigates the history behind it. Along the way, Emma bonds with the charming and supportive local firefighter, Kevin (Brooks Darnell), and her daughter unexpectedly connects with a mysterious man who has a surprising link to the town’s holiday tradition. As Emma’s investigation progresses and her heart opens to the town’s spirit, she starts to reconsider her beliefs and finds herself on a journey of discovering hope, love and the true magic of Christmas.
4. A Christmas Duet (2019)
IMDb Rating: 5.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
A Christmas Duet (2019) follows former music duo Averie (Chaley Rose) and Jesse (Rome Flynn) as they unexpectedly reunite at a cozy lodge during the holiday season. Both struggling with their solo careers and facing personal challenges, they reluctantly agree to perform together at the lodge’s annual Christmas Eve show. As they rehearse and navigate their unresolved past, the magic of music and the spirit of Christmas begin to rekindle their connection, ultimately leading them to rediscover the joy of making music together and potentially finding a new path forward in their lives.
3. Christmas Everlasting (2018)
IMDb Rating: 6.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 73%
Christmas Everlasting (2018) follows Lucy (Tatyana Ali), a high-powered attorney, who returns to her hometown after the passing of her beloved sister Alice (Dondre T. Whitfield). Tasked with executing Alice’s will, Lucy discovers a series of letters guiding her to unravel a secret about their past. As she navigates the quaint small town and reconnects with her sister’s friends, including Peter (Dennis Haysbert), Lucy unravels family mysteries while rediscovering the warmth and love she left behind. Through the process, she finds solace, healing and unexpected romance, ultimately discovering the true essence of everlasting love and the importance of cherishing family connections during the holiday season.
2. Inventing the Christmas Prince (2022)
IMDb Rating: 6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
Inventing the Christmas Prince is a 2022 Hallmark Channel film starring Tia Mowry-Housley. The story follows Shelby, played by Mowry-Housley, who is going to be quitting her job as a rocket engineer. This decision is prompted after her daughter believes Shelby’s Christmas-loathing boss, Evan, is the Christmas prince. However, the Christmas prince is the name of a character from a tale Shelby made up years ago.
1. The Holiday Stocking (2022)
IMDb Rating: 6.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
The Holiday Stocking is yet another 2022 movie included in this Hallmark Christmas movies 2023 list. The movie is about a new angel who is seizing his chance to make up for his one earthly regret: successfully getting his sisters to reconcile with each other. So, he returns to earth as a stranger to them and has 12 days to get the sisters to revive their parents’ Christmas tradition of encouraging charity work.