Christmas movie season has officially begun! December is a month for celebrating many things, but one of my favorites has to be the new batch of feel-good, predictable-yet-enjoyable Christmas movies that make us believe (even if it’s only for a few hours) that magic does indeed exist. This year one of these films has stood out to me especially: Netflix’s Christmas With You.
What makes it so special to me is the all-Latinx cast. The movie features Aimee García, Deja Monique Cruz, and Freddie Prinze Jr. (who, by the way, I recently found out is Latinx — Fred from Scooby-Doo is Latino, who would’ve thought!). The film marks the first time that Prinze Jr. gets to play a father on-screen, despite being a dad of two in real life.
The movie centers around Angelina, a pop star (played by Aimee García) whose dwindling career has become a source of constant stress, as her label pits her against a new up-and-coming (and younger) pop star. While looking for inspiration for her next big hit on social media, she comes across Cristina’s (Deja Monique Cruz) very touching cover of one of her old hit songs. This prompts Angelina to randomly surprise Cristina and her father, Miguel (Freddie Prinze Jr.) in their suburban home, hoping this little field trip will help her find inspiration for her next hit.
This surprise proves successful when Angelina finds the warmth she had been missing from her glamorous life in the city. Between writing sessions with Miguel, drinking with Cristina’s abuela and tías, and helping Cristina choreograph her quince’s surprise dance, Angelina ends up falling in love (shocker!) with Miguel and his family.
Watching Freddie Prinze Jr. go from playing the 15-year-old romantic lead to playing the 15-year-old’s dad (but still being the romantic lead!) feels incredibly important. For one, it’s great to see an actor’s evolution (even if it does remind me of the fact that I am no longer 15 myself). It’s important to see actors, especially Latinx actors, be shown as they age as it reminds us that older people are just as worthy and attractive as younger ones.
Christmas With You is also one of the few instances in which Latino dads and men are presented in a positive way; one that does not include cops, cartels, gangs, or any sort of violence and abusive behavior. To say that we need more caring and loving Latino dads represented in mainstream media is a huge understatement.
Because of the movie’s focus on Latino dads and their families, some of the scenes in it felt incredibly close to home. While I don’t celebrate Christmas myself, I’ve spent many Christmas Eves at my paternal grandma’s house drinking tequila, eating tamales, and playing Continental with my cousins while my Abuela Rosa and tía Lucía got a little buzzed and shared the most recent chisme with each other. The film also heavily features Latinx food and the tradition around it, showing it as a connector between people, no matter what their backgrounds. And this too is something I’ve experienced growing up as someone who loves Christmas but can’t fully identify with the actual religious meaning behind it.
It’s true in recent years, we’ve seen a surge in diversity when it comes to holiday stories, but we still need more and more Latinx stories in this genre and beyond. In a time when networks and streaming platforms seem quick to cancel any and every form of representation Latinx folks get, having a Christmas movie where a Latinx family is front and center feels especially important.
I’ve tried to think of other instances where Latinx families are shown in such a natural and positive light in holiday movies and there aren’t many. So it’s safe to say that Christmas With You might just become your next favorite Latino-family Christmas movie and that in itself is a good enough reason to break out the Christmas tequila, like Abuela Gloria in the film, and celebrate.