With finals season approaching, it can be easy to spend the holiday season stressed out and panicked. Students can get so bogged down by studying and work, that we forget to get into the Christmas spirit. This season, prevent the finals season slump by sneaking a few of these Christmas classics into your study breaks — or wait to share them with your family during winter break.
“The Polar Express” (2004)
This movie is a must-watch for anyone who grew up with it. The animation might be a little outdated for today’s standards, but as soon as I see the train for the first time in snow and lamplight, I feel like I’m 8 years old again, drinking cocoa and making paper snowflakes on the last day before winter break.
"The Polar Express" follows a boy on the verge of losing his belief in Santa Claus as he goes on a death-defying train ride to the North Pole. On his journey, he makes friends, drinks hot-hot chocolate and meets a mysterious character (played by Tom Hanks) several times.
It’s the perfect movie to feel that childlike rush of Christmas anticipation once again, so grab your own hot chocolate and catch it on HBO Max.
When titular character Buddy the Elf learns the reason that he’s never managed to fit in at the North Pole (he’s a human!) he sets out to find his biological father. But when Buddy finds him in New York, he discovers his father has lost all of his Christmas cheer and spirit to his demanding career in the publishing business.
Buddy learns how to find his place in the world through romance, friendship and bonding with his new family. There’s nothing quite like Christmas in New York, and "Elf" manages to capture that spirit perfectly with ice skating dates at Rockefeller Center and snowball fights in Central Park.
Will Ferrell's performance is what makes this movie so heartfelt and genuinely hilarious, and Buddy is a character you can actually root for. Follow his adventure to bring Christmas to the city by watching “Elf” on HBO Max.
Because it only come out a few years ago, “Klaus” has a lot of competition with other Christmas movies that have the advantage of nostalgia — but “Klaus” more than holds its own.
After leading a spoiled and childish life, Jesper, the son of the wealthy Royal Postmaster General, is sent to a remote village as a postman. There, he's tasked with sending out 6,000 letters — and if he fails, he loses his inheritance.
Finding the village, a battleground between two clans to be cold and cruel, Jesper loses faith in his ability to measure up to his duty. That is until he discovers an intimidating yet kind-hearted toymaker named Klaus, who helps spark business for the post office.
The ending of "Klaus" made me sob the first time I watched it, and it truly captures the importance of keeping the people who mean the most to us close. If you need a good cry this Christmas, “Klaus” is available on Netflix.
“The Shop Around the Corner” (1940)
“The Shop Around the Corner” may not be the most obvious Christmas movie choice for a lot of people, but it’s certainly a good one, especially if you’re looking for a holiday romance this year.
While they're enemies at work, Klara and Alfred are also anonymous penpals who share a deep connection. The two fall in love with each other — through and outside of their letter — and form a romance that might seem similar to anyone who’s seen “You’ve Got Mail,” as this film originally inspired the 90s classic.
Christmas is more of a background element to the story and not its center, so “The Shop Around the Corner” is the perfect film for anyone wanting a more subtle holiday film. If you're in the mood for romance, check out “The Shop Around the Corner” on HBO Max.
“The Muppet Christmas Carol” (1992)
This adaptation's fresh spin on the Charles Dickens’ classic "A Christmas Carol" is both funny and heartwarming. The film's songs have to be added to any Christmas music playlist, and Michael Caine gives a genuine and unforgettable performance that truly makes this film great.
The Muppet Gonzo narrates the story as Dickens, alongside Rizzo the Rat as himself and Kermit and Miss Piggy as the Cratchits. Watching Caine's Scrooge change for the better and learn how to celebrate the holiday with a thankful heart will make you excited for that one more sleep 'til Christmas.
You can catch this Muppet-filled classic on Disney+.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946)
Old movies might not be for everyone, but everyone should give “It’s a Wonderful Life” a chance. For his entire life, George Bailey has put his dreams aside to come to the aid of others. The film follows George from childhood to young adulthood, including when he fell in love and his current financial turmoil.
While George thinks that he’s failed at life, Clarence, his guardian angel, shows him how meaningful his life has really been and how he’s helped many people. It’s a good reminder of what truly matters in life and lets the viewer know that “no man is a failure who has friends.”
If you're in the mood for a heartwarming film that's stood the test of time, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is available on Prime Video.
The holidays mean families coming together — and Christmas movies are a great way to bring people closer. So gather around the tree and pick a movie off this list, whether a family classic or a new favorite, and experience the Christmas season together.