Best holiday movies to fit your mood

Alexa Pastor

By Alexa Pastor

staff reporter

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…but it’s also beginning to look a lot like finals time. If you want to de-stress and get ready for the holidays, Christmas movies are a great option. Looking for something besides the usual “How the Grinch Stole Christmas?” Here’s a list of some of the best holiday movies for every mood and occastion.

Best to get in the holiday spirit:

“Miracle on 34th Street” (1994)

Looking for a way to get into a holiday mood despite all the work? “Miracle on 34th Street,” with its focus on the Thanksgiving Day Parade, Santa and spending time with those you care about, is perfect.

Six-year-old Susan Walker is told by her mother that Santa Claus does not exist and believes it…until a man who might be the real Santa comes into her life. When the Santa Claus in the Cole’s Thanksgiving Day Parade shows up drunk, Kris Kringle himself arrives to take his place and preserves the belief in Santa for kids everywhere.

Best for decorating your room:

“Elf” (2003)

Will Ferrell is at his comic best as Buddy the elf, a human raised by elves after he crawled into Santa’s bag as a baby. When Buddy finds out he’s not really an elf, he sets off to find his real dad – who is on the naughty list – in New York City.

While there, Buddy finds that the world doesn’t quite share his Christmas spirit, but he sets out to change that.

With Buddy’s advice like “treat everyday like Christmas,” you’ll feel that burst of holiday energy needed to transform your dorm into a winter wonderland.

Best to watch with friends:

“Scrooged” (1988)

Bill Murray stars in this hilarious updated version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

Murray plays television executive Frank Cross, a modern-day Scrooge who finds himself visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve as his television network attempts to stage a production of “A Christmas Carol.”

This modernized version of “A Christmas Carol” has characters like the taxi driver ghost of Christmas past, the sugary-sweet yet violent fairy ghost of Christmas present, and Eliot Laudermilk, Frank’s drunken, shotgun-toting ex-employee.

The story steers away from the cliché by making it relevant and packing it with laughs, while also retaining the heartwarming message that Christmas can make us “the people we always hoped we would be.”

Best for laughs:

“Jingle All the Way” (1996)

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Howard Langston, a work-a-holic mattress salesman on a Christmas Eve quest to find a Turbo-Man action figure – the sold-out, hottest toy of the season , for his son.

As Langston gets more desperate, the laughs increase, with Howard competing against a frustrated and cutthroat mailman, played by a hilarious Sinbad, to find a Turbo-Man first.

This movie is especially funny for those who have braved the mobs of frantic Black Friday shoppers to find that perfect Christmas gift. Amidst the laughs, Howard learns the Christmas lesson that the gift is less important than spending time with the person he is buying it for.

When the pressures of finals or Christmas shopping have got you down, this movie will remind you what’s important and give you a much-needed comedy break from all your stress. A bonus: Arnold Schwarzenegger dressed up in a spandex superhero costume.

Best for a study break:

Polar Express (2004)

Around Christmastime, we all want to be little kids again. When you find yourself banging your head against your chem book, save your brain cells and take a ride to the North Pole on the Polar Express.

The movie tells the story of a young boy who is skeptical about Santa Claus’s existence…until he takes a ride on the Polar Express with the other children who teach him to put aside his doubt and just “believe.”

With lots of holiday songs and Santa Claus cheer, this movie is a great escape and will remind you what it’s like to believe, not just in Santa, but in yourself. It might just be the motivation you need to get through finals.

Best for a date:

“The Holiday” (2006)

The Christmas season is a romantic time of year, so there’s no better time to ask that person you’ve been thinking about to spend an evening together. Watching “The Holiday” is sure to strike the perfect balance between Christmas cheer and romance.

The movie centers on Iris Simpkins (Kate Winslet) of London and Amanda Woods (Cameron Diaz) of Los Angeles, two women who have just suffered holiday heartbreaks.

They swap houses for two weeks of Christmas vacation to get away, and both of them manage to find love in unexpected places.

Jack Black provides the comedy amid all the romance, so guys don’t have to fear. All the characters celebrate Christmas in ways they never expected.

Best with family:

“Home Alone” (1990)

When you return home for break, with your finals done at last and nothing but holiday festivities ahead, this classic is a perfect way to relax with your family.

Macauley Culkin stars as Kevin McCallister in this popular Christmas tale about the trials and tribulations of an eight year old boy whose family has accidentally left him at home while they spend Christmas in Paris.

As Kevin attempts to outwit two burglars who continually attempt to break into his house, he realizes that all he really wants for Christmas is the family he wished away.

This movie will have you laughing together and remind you that even though family can sometimes make you want to pull your hair out, being together again, especially after a semester apart, is what makes Christmas special.

Best classic:

“A Christmas Story” (1983)

If you’re in the mood for a really classic Christmas movie, “A Christmas Story” never gets old.

The movie centers around a boy named Ralphie and his attempts to ensure that he gets the perfect Christmas gift – a genuine Red Rider BB gun.

There’s nothing like quoting, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” to get you into the holiday spirit.

No matter how many times you’ve seen it, that crazy leg lamp, the pink bunny suit and Flick sticking his tongue to a metal pole never cease to be funny.

Best during a snowstorm:

“The Santa Clause” (1994)

With the newly fallen snow at Villanova and the promise of more to come, you’ll need something to do after that epic snowball fight tires you out. As the snow falls outside, grab a blanket and pop in “The Santa Clause.”

If there’s one thing Tim Allen loves doing, it’s starring in Christmas films. Allen plays Scott Calvin, a divorced toymaker spending Christmas with his son, happens to fall into a career as Santa Claus when the original Santa falls off of his roof.

Calvin takes his son along for the Christmas Eve ride delivering presents, but struggles with learning to believe in what he has become.

Becoming Santa brings Calvin closer to his son and he ultimately learns to embrace Christmas.

Best for any occasion:

“It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946)

If you’re looking for something that’s good for any holiday situation, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is your best bet. This movie has everything – romance, comedy, friendship, angels, family and a powerful Christmas miracle.

George Bailey, a man who is always trying to do the right thing but encounters road blocks every step of the way, considers suicide. Clarence, George’s guardian angel, shows up to make George see that he really has had “a wonderful life.”

This film, no matter who you’re watching it with or how stressed you are about finals, never fails to remind you how blessed you are at this holiday season to have friends and family in your life.

It’s like Clarence says, “Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” And really, that’s what Christmas is all about.