Holiday Film Recommendations by Kira Cruz

Snuggle up by the fire with a cup of William-Sonoma Classic hot cocoa and enjoy the benefits of the holiday movie season.

Snuggle up by the fire with a cup of William-Sonoma Classic hot cocoa and enjoy the benefits of the holiday movie season. Join Hallmark, Lifetime, Netflix, and Freeform (the new ABC family) for infinite movie marathons and endless moments of wishing we had grown up in a small town, met a young fella, and experienced love at first sight.

Christmas movies are a great way to wind down from the stress of finals and find refuge. Here are some of my favorites/must-sees for this holiday season:

Coming in as #1: The Holiday (2006)

This is a classic. You are not doing the holiday season right without watching this love story with an A-List cast who are not too hard on the eyes!

Could life get any better for Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet? After seeking refuge and solitude, Cameron Diaz travels to Surrey, England to escape her never-ending work life, and in particular, men! However, Diaz gets lucky and finds a well-groomed, handsome Englishman, Jude Law, and of course they fall madly in love. This relationship between Law and Diaz could not be anymore perfect, and it makes you wonder, “Where is my Jude Law?”

On the other side of the Atlantic, we have a love story between Kate Winslet and Jack Black. Though at first they are just friends, their friendship soon sparks into something much more. Jack Black’s character is particularly appealing to the female audience because of his kindness and utterly hilarious sense of humor, which we all yearn to have. The Holiday is a must see for anybody looking for some romance in their lives without actually going out and finding “Mr. Right,” but rather finding him right at home on your chaise lounge while eating sugar cookies.

Coming in close behind at #2: Elf (2003)

It reminds people that Christmas is not about all the boxes under the tree; rather, it is about bringing others together by spreading joy and happiness.

An oldie but a goodie. As Buddy the Elf, Will Ferrell, a Saturday Night Live alum who never fails to make us laugh, makes the holiday even better when we see his holiday cheer on our screens. If you have not seen Elf yet, I suggest going to amazon.com and buying it, because it is a must see! Buddy helps even those who recoil from the holidays by reminding us that “the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” His genuine excitement for Christmas gets everyone in the spirit to trim the tree, build a snowman, and bake an unhealthy number of cookies. I daresay this feel-good movie should even be played in class during the holiday season, because it reminds people that Christmas is not about all the boxes under the tree; rather, it is about bringing others together by spreading joy and happiness.

Squeaking in as my #3 favorite Christmas Movie: Unaccompanied Minors (2006)

I watch this movie every Christmas Eve because it reminds me how lucky I am to be with my loved ones instead of stuck at an airport without family on Christmas.

When I first watched Unaccompanied Minors, I wanted to travel alone and wander the airport by myself to be independent and have some freedom. However, traveling is sometimes not very exciting, and it is especially grueling when you lose your luggage and are without your family. This movie reminds me to be grateful that I’m with my mom on the biggest holiday of the year instead of sleeping in an uncomfortable airport chair next to random strangers. Nevertheless, the kids in the film make the best of it by exploring the behind-the-scenes rooms of the airport and by making lifelong friends in the process of running from airport security. The ability of these kids to make the best out of their situation is very admirable, and it teaches me to look for creative solutions during times of bleakness.

Overall, this movie is one of my favorites because the storyline is very easy to relate to, in part because all of the characters are teenagers (or nearly so), and in part because it teaches lessons about teamwork, family, and how to spread the Christmas spirit.

Best Christmas Scene: The Winter Ball from Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire(2000)

Even though this movie was filmed many moons ago, the special effects and sets are jaw-dropping, and in general, it is a timeless flick.

Have you ever seen anything more beautiful? That was my exact reaction when I first saw this movie at age seven. When I was a youngster, I used to think prom would look like this, but sadly, the Harry Potter Winter Ball and Catalina Prom are not in the same lane. It makes me wish I wasn’t a muggle and that I had attended Hogwarts; life is simply not fair sometimes.

This scene is the epitome of winter wonderland. It has ice sculptures, multiple Christmas trees, formal attire, romance, MEN, and of course, magic. Moreover, the beauty of Hermione as she walks down the three flights of stairs to the arms of Viktor Krum can be nothing other than GOALS. She looks so effortlessly beautiful and walks with ease even with everyone’s eyes on her. In that moment, Hermione reminds every little girl that smart girls can get the guy and have the brains, too.

Hermione reminds every little girl that smart girls can get the guy and have the brains, too.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is a great movie to watch with friends on a rainy day in Monterey in December when you are in need of a little fantasy and mystery in your life. However, if you do not want to see the death of SPOILER ALERT Cedric Diggory, played by Robert Pattinson (from Twilight), then I suggest you grab some blankets and watch Elf because there is nothing sad about Elf.

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