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The Best Holiday Movies and Albums To Brighten Up Finals Week

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Fall quarter is the best quarter. There is football and fall weather and renewed academic optimism. And finals season is made (almost) tolerable by the promise of holiday-themed entertainment. Here is a definitive list of movies and albums that give you no choice but to take a mental health break. Why cry about your ten-page paper when you can listen to Michael Bublé’s Christmas album while you grind it out?

Love Actually, (Film)

Love Actually is actually the best Christmas movie of all time. While Love Actually carries some very sad storylines, the ending scene capturing hundreds of loving embraces at the train station always makes me feel all mushy inside. And then, of course, there’s Hugh Grant, sashaying around the UK Prime Minister’s residence to “Jump (For My Love.)”

“Winter Song (ft. Cynthia Erivo)” by Leslie Odom Jr., (Song + the Album)

In news that will shock no one, Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr. has a Christmas album with a voice so smooth it cuts through the winter air like butter. Bonus points for the beautiful feature of Cynthia Erivo, Michael Chu’s chosen Elphaba in the upcoming Wicked movie.

A Holly Dolly Christmas, (Album) 

Everyone’s favorite glamorous, country grandmother provides a hit holiday classic with her iconic Tennessee drawl. Her rendition of “Mary Did You Know” is festively dramatic and her “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause” is saucily scandalous. Again, bonus points for having features with Billy Rae Cyrus AND Miley Cyrus.

The Polar Express, (Film)

Polar Express is pure nostalgia wrapped up in an hour and a half of slightly disturbing CGI. It makes me think of elementary school Christmas parties, in a land where chemistry finals and 12-page papers did not exist.

A Very Kasey Christmas, Kasey Musgraves (Album)

Kasey Musgraves puts a folksy spin on Christmas with “a heartwarming collection of new and old.”  The album closer, “What Are You Doing On New Year’s Eve?” is swanky and carries hope of an epic New Years’ Eve midnight kiss. 

The Nightmare Before Christmas, directed by Henry Selick (Film)

Is it a Halloween movie? Is it a Christmas movie? Who cares? The Nightmare Before Christmas is a classic that can be enjoyed October through December to offer relief from the terrifying world of cumulative exams. 

A Legendary Christmas, by John Legend (Album)

John Legend, along with Kelly Clarkson, provides a less-creepy version of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” that emphasizes only consensual Christmas fun! Hurray!

The Holiday, directed by Nancy Meyers (Film) 

Jack Black, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Cameron Diaz star in the romantic comedy that follows the two female leads switching houses to overcome the holiday blues. They end up falling in love (after swearing off men, of course), just in time for Christmas. It has both the picturesque English countryside and sunny Los Angeles to give you a cheesy anecdote to final stress. 

Merry Christmas, by Mariah Carey (Album) 

We can never forget our roots. And while “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is the unchallenged anthem for the entire season, I believe Mariah Carey’s rendition of “(Christmas) Baby Please Come Home” deserves just as much credit. 

Just like the snow up in Northern California, finals season stress will melt away eventually. Holiday movies and music are made solely for sleep-deprived college students looking for something to hold on to, not young children who believe in the magic of Christmas. (Duh). Good luck in all your late-night cram sessions and don’t forget: the spirits of Mariah Carey and Michael Bublé want you to take a mental health break.

Grace Shelby is a third year at UCLA, double majoring in Communications and Political Science. Outside of her love for writing, Grace Shelby loves to go thrifting, hiking, and exploring the best independent book stores in LA.