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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Maryland chapter.

Article by Jordan Budney

‘Tis the season of college students cramming for final exams, having to wear multiple layers outside, and most importantly binge-watching Christmas movies. From the 1946 cult classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” to this year’s new release “Spirited” featuring Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell, there are hundreds of movies to choose from. 

Despite the nostalgia of the classic Christmas movies, 2000s Christmas releases are slowly making their way into cinematic history. From animated films to rom-coms, these are just five of my favorite Christmas movies released after 2000, just like this Gen-Z er. 

“Elf” (2003)

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” This film features the loveable elf “Buddy,” played by Will Ferrell, in the search for his biological dad in New York City. Through Buddy’s journeys of experiencing the real world, he helps bring the true spirit of Christmas to everyone.

I am proud to admit that this is a movie that I’ve seen over 20 times and can pretty much recite word for word. From the iconic fake Santa mall scene to Buddy saving Christmas, this movie has a special place in my heart. 

“How The Grinch Stole Christmas” (2000)

Although the original cartoon version is just as heartwarming, the 2000s live-action version with Jim Carrey takes a more modern spin on the classic tale by sneaking in a few jokes. After being bullied for his appearance, the Grinch quickly became an outcast in Whoville. With the help of little Cindy-Lou Who, who wants everyone to feel the Christmas magic, the Grinch sees the true meaning of Christmas. 

The costumes and make-up in this movie are incredible. Carrey claims the make-up process to be gruesome and what felt like over eight hours. However, make-up artist Rick Baker said it was around two and a half hours. Yes, even after a second cartoon adaption of the movie, I will still stand by that the live-action version is the best. 

“The Polar Express” (2004)

One of the best animated Christmas movies has to be “The Polar Express”. I’m not going to lie, the animation slightly creeped me out as a kid because of the somewhat realistic qualities, but the overall meaning and takeaways are truly heartwarming. After Chris, better known as the Hero Boy, boards a train to the North Pole, he goes through a journey of self-discovery and believing in himself. 

Tom Hanks, the voice behind the Conductor of the train, can be said to somewhat even look like his character. Also, who could forget about “The Polar Express” song? This movie is enjoyable for people of all ages. I will never forget the iconic quote, “There’s no greater gift than friendship.” 

“Christmas with the Kranks” (2004)

Being an only-child daughter in college, this movie sounds like my parents’ dream. Starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis, the Kranks decide to book a cruise ship for the holidays but their daughter decides to make a surprise visit after moving out. The Kranks must now figure out how to get back home in time and throw the best celebration ever. 

This movie embodies the importance of seeing friends and family during the holiday season. Yes, it may be nice to skip out and travel to a tropical island one day but nothing beats the warm feeling of seeing the people you love all coming together and celebrating. 

“Spirited” (2022)

What could be better than Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds dancing and singing together? Although this movie was just released last month it has definitely become one of my new favorite Christmas movies. This story encapsulates the musical version of Charles Dicken’s story of changing the outlook of life on a miserable isolated businessman. 

I had a good feeling about this movie after hearing the music was being written by the duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Together they created memorable and catchy tunes to help move the story forward and leave audiences wanting to dance along. 

If you are not into newer movies, there are plenty of classic Christmas movies to enjoy. As the holidays are quickly approaching, be sure to take the time to relax and watch a movie to get in the spirit. You deserve it.