Although “White Christmas” might be known by many as the name of the classic song Bing Crosby released in 1942 or the musical he starred in 12 years later, the phrase could also be used to describe the ethnic makeup of the casts of most Christmas movies.
Besides the 2008 dramedy Nothing Like the Holidays, which features a Puerto Rican family and stars actors like John Leguizamo, Freddy Rodriguez and the late Elizabeth Peña, one would be hard-pressed to think of another Christmas movie with a mostly-Latino cast. In fact, there’s not much Latino representation in Christmas-themed flicks, even when looking farther down the list of role players.
Nevertheless, here’s a handful of Latino actors we’ve compiled for your viewing pleasure this holiday season. The only question we really have left to ask is, “Can it really be A Wonderful Life” without a Latino in it?
Pedro Armendáriz in '3 Godfathers' (1948)
The Mexican actor stars as Pedro “Pete” Rocafuerte opposite John Wayne in this John Ford-directed Western. The film is a retelling of the Bible story about the Three Wise Men. Instead of wise men, the film replaces them with three outlaws who are entrusted to take care of a baby.
Yano Anaya in 'A Christmas Story' (1983)
Anaya, who is half Puerto Rican, plays Grover Dill, a toadie for main bully Scut Farkus. Grover hits Ralphie with a snowball, but when Ralphie finally fights back, the newsboy-cap-wearing little punk runs back home to tattle.
Rodrigo Santoro in 'Love Actually' (2003)
A happily ever after is not meant to be for the Brazilian actor in his role as Karl, a creative director interested in dating his co-worker Sarah (Laura Linney). They go on a date, but Sarah’s priorities to her mentally ill brother keep her and Karl apart.
Oscar Goncalves in 'Elf' (2003)
He might be the only character on this list who doesn’t have more than three words of dialogue, but at least Buddy the Elf (Will Ferrell) likes his character’s name: “Francisco. That’s fun to say.”
Julie Gonzalo in 'Christmas with the Kranks' (2004)
When Argentine actress Julie Gonzalo’s character Blair Krank decides to come home at the last minute for the holidays, her parents (Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis), who had already decided to skip Christmas, have to make last minute plans for her return.
Cameron Diaz in 'The Holiday' (2006)
Diaz, who is half Cuban, plays Amanda Woods, a movie trailer producer who swaps homes with a woman (Kate Winslet) for two weeks and ends up falling for the woman’s handsome brother (Jude Law).
Danny Trejo & Paula Garcés in 'A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas' (2011)
Trejo plays Harold’s father-in-law Mr. Perez, who explains to Harold how much Christmas trees mean to him ever since his mother was killed by a gang of Korean thugs. Harold’s wife, Maria Perez-Lee, is played by Colombian actress Paula Garcés.
Melissa De Sousa in 'The Best Man’s Holiday' (2013)
De Sousa, who is Panamanian-American, stars as Shelby Taylor, a popular reality TV star who is invited to spend Christmas with a group of friends for the first time in 14 years. The film is a sequel to 1999’s The Best Man.
Isabela Merced in 'Let It Snow' (2019)
The rom-com stars Peruvian-American actress Isabela Merced as Julie Reyes, a young woman who begins a romance with a pop star who shows up in her small Illinois town. Julie has been accepted into Columbia University but feels guilty about leaving her sick mother behind.