Movies in Colour

I know it is too early to begin talking about… ::whispers:: Christmas… but I started thinking about something today that is kind of, but not entirely, Christmas-related. At least, it was motivated by Christmas.

Today we went into Corn Parking, which overnight has transformed itself into a little holiday wonderland, with Christmas decorations everywhere. And while we have an unofficial moratorium on Christmas-related stuff until December 2, one look at the decorated trees and wall hangings and ornaments, and Stinkerbelle feels that lobbying for Christmas decorations and movies and music is fair game.

And while, with a few exceptions, I am really going to try to stick to our Christmas “not before” date, I do kind of need to start thinking about one thing, in order to maybe prepare.

And that is Christmas movies.

We love our Christmas movies here. LOVE. LOVELOVELOVE. We have an ever-growing collection of movies, and we start our movie-viewing season with Love, Actually and then work our way through all our favourites. But last year, we noticed that our selection was lacking.

Lacking in colour.

We noticed that we have very few movies with characters that are not white. We have lots of old movies, and Hollywood in the early days was almost entirely white. And, to our dismay, we will have to shelve some of our traditional movies because of their quite frankly horrifying portrayals of non-white characters. (I’m looking at you, Holiday Inn.) And so there’s nothing there that our daughter can relate to.

Now, I am all for explaining that “things were different” and why — and history is important, right or wrong — and we will do that when the time is appropriate. For example, we will watch White Christmas as my family has done every single Christmas Eve/Day since before I was born, and it’s got an entirely white cast. But it’s fairly innocuous in terms of content, and as such might be a good place to start the discussion of Hollywood whiteness of the era, when the time comes.

But we would also like to add to our collection with some movies that show a more multicultural holiday experience, or at the very least without an all-white main cast. We want to find some movies that will also become treasured Christmas family traditions, that do speak to our experience as a multiracial family and life in a multiracial community.

I want my daughter to see people she can relate to in the movies we hold dear and treasure as part of our holiday tradition.

It’s hard, on a couple of fronts. First off, there are decades of great holiday movies that we can’t just avoid on the basis of their whiteness, because they have a great message or are culturally appropriate or whatever. And then, in recent years, while there are more movies with more multiracial casting, a lot of them are not in our wheelhouse — we don’t go in for the slapstick-style broad comedies, or there are holiday movies but they’re not age/family appropriate, or a little too grown up to hold That Girl’s interest until she’s older.

But I have to start thinking about it, because I have to get myself on Teh Interwebs and start doing some research and buying some things we can start to include in our holiday viewing favourites that are more inclusive.

So, there will be lots of scanning of IMDB in my future. I would like to at least find a couple of films to add to our collection this year, which means getting my butt in gear and getting things ordered in plenty of time to pre-screen whatever we do try out, so we can start getting whatever we find and enjoy into the rotation this year.

So, if any of you have any suggestions for holiday movies that might fit the bill and bring some colour into our holiday viewing, please feel free to make your recommendations in the comments. It would be greatly appreciated.

10 thoughts on “Movies in Colour

  1. In Scrooged, the kid who is the version of Tiny Tim is black… Lethal Weapon is set at Xmas time, although that’s peripheral to the plot. I’m not sure how old Stinkerbelle is, but the Sesame Street Holiday DVD is great, explains xmas and hannukah and Kwanzaa and is pretty funny, to boot.

    Other than that, I got nothin’. Other than Elmo, the Grinch, and Charlie Brown, we don’t watch much specific Xmas stuff.

  2. I admit my first thought was, well, good luck with that. Not in a snarky way, just in a … sad sort of way. The only one I know is The Preacher’s Wife, and Stinkerbelle would be too young for it. Our Xmas faves are The Santa Clause and Home Alone, and they are as white as white can be.

    • We thought of The Preacher’s Wife, but haven’t bought it yet. We watch the original, The Bishop’s Wife, although it’s still too old for That Girl yet, so maybe in a few years’ time.

  3. Muppet Christmas Carol doesn’t have many actual people in it, and was very accessible for the girls. Plus Michael Cain as Scrooge!
    The Muppet Christmas Movie – Letters to Santa has a good cast.

  4. We like to watch many of the same Xmas show you do. Added to the list are these:

    A Christmas Story – nary a person of color to be seen if I remember correctly until the very end 🙁

    Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas – one of my favs

    It’s A Wonderful Life – again very white

    This year we will be adding Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas because Wee Man loves the Chipmunks!

Comments are closed.