5 holiday films to discover: Unexpected holiday movies you haven’t heard of (yet)

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You know Dasher and Dancer, but do you recall these festive films?

Not all holiday films can command the popularity of Rankin Bass. Some inform, some enlighten and others are plain entertaining. Although they may not be a part of the traditional holiday canon, you may unexpectedly find worthy contenders for your holiday streaming binge.


Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker, 2020

WHERE TO WATCH: NETFLIX

“I love the spirit of the dance. That’s not something you can take a picture of. That’s something you feel and you see, you experience.”– Debbie Allen

In its 12th year, created by director, choreographer, singer/songwriter and producer Debbie Allen, “Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker” chronicles the auditioning, and year-long rehearsal process for an eclectic interpretation of time-honored ballet, “The Nutcracker.” Allen utilizes her nurturing and no-nonsense discipline, paralleling her role as Lydia Grant, dance instructor on the television show “Fame.” Performances include a predominately black and brown cast of close to 200, over 600 individual costumes and exotic themes including Egypt, the Indian Rainforest, and Bollywood.

Purchase tickets for streaming performances, Dec 24-Jan 2 HERE


The Macedonian Conquest, Maccabees, and the Menorah | The Jewish Story-Hanukkah the True Story, 2020

WHERE TO WATCH: YOUTUBE

Educational, fast-paced, and entertaining, “The Macedonian Conquest, Maccabees, and the Menorah. The Jewish Story. Hanukkah-The True Story,” offers a much broader definition of Hanukkah’s origins. Although it would not be considered a traditional full length documentary, it might as well be as it provides substantial material within a 13-minute time frame. Backed by a disco soundtrack, “The Macedonian Conquest, Maccabees, and the Menorah” tells the history behind the story of Hanukkah, and more, while celebrating the authenticity of Jewish religion.


I AM SANTA CLAUS 2014

WHERE TO WATCH IT: AMAZON-YOUTUBE-TubiTV (free)

Offbeat, and heart-warming, “I Am Santa Claus” documents a year with real-life professional Santa’s. Featuring WWE wrestler and all around Christmas fanatic, Mick Foley, who visits Santa’s Village in Jaffrey, NH along with his family each holiday season. Outside of his WWE alter egos, Santa just might be his best persona, so convincing his own family seemed stunned with his transformation. 


THE BLACK CANDLE, 2008

 

WHERE TO WATCH IT: YOUTUBE, AMAZON PRIME

Directed by award-winning author and filmmaker M.K. Asante, Jr., and narrated by Maya Angelou, “The Black Candle is a comprehensive telling of Kwanzaa, the annual African-American celebration from December 26 to January 1. Including NFL Hall of Fame inductee and actor Jim Brown, legendary Hip Hop artist Chuck D, multi-award-winning artist Synthia Saint James and professor/activist  Dr. Maulana Karenga, creator of Kwanzaa, “The Black Candle” is an educational honoring of culture and community.


THE MAGIC WINDOWS, 2013

The Magic Windows TRAILER – OFFICIAL from GnarLabs on Vimeo.

WHERE TO WATCH: VIMEO

An insider look at Spaeth Design, the company behind the mechanical holiday windows of wonder, that brings astonishing dreams to life, attracting international crowds to Manhattan. Meet the artists whose creative camaraderie conjures the manufacturing of magic, inventing hypnotic worlds of enchantment.


 

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Constance Cherise

Constance Cherise is a freelance writer and contributor for Turner Classic MoviesSee her work here.