Ring in the season with these festive picks to get you in the holiday spirit

‘Tis the season to be jolly and with the end of exams, students can finally take a breather from the hustle and bustle that comes with the academic year. Although COVID-19 has made the typical holiday season feel like a distant memory, that doesn’t mean you still can’t kick back by the fireplace, enjoy a cup of eggnog and stream your favourite Disney show or movie to get you in the holiday spirit. No need to sell your voice to the sea witch to make this happen! 

Yet another disclaimer: Yes I have written another Disney+ article, but I am still not sponsored to write this. Again, Disney if you are listening, any Christmas ornaments you would like to send me, I’d appreciate it! As always, heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to the list we go!


The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration, 2020

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A fun way to kick off the holiday season, this special brings you into the heart of the Magic Kingdom’s Main Street USA. With a number of special holiday performances around the Disney parks, this celebration is sure to put a smile on your face. If seeing Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell sing a song from Olaf’s Frozen Adventure or watching Shaggy sing “Jamaican Drummer Boy” in front of Cinderella’s castle wasn’t enough for you, you’ll be delighted to watch castles around the world get lit up for the festive season.

The Disney Holiday Singalong, 2020

Do you miss caroling? Look no further than this festive special, hosted by Ryan Reynolds. Join your favourite celebrities as they sing classic holiday songs, with a few Disney ones thrown in the mix. Who was my personal favourite? Katy Perry singing her newest single, "Cozy Little Christmas", dressed as a Christmas tree!

The Santa Clause 2, 2002

Santa Clause The Santa Clause GIF from Santaclause GIFs

“Seeing isn’t believing; believing is seeing.”

I mentioned this movie in another piece I have written and I am so glad that it is easily accessible on this platform. The Santa Clause 2 is a movie that I look forward to watching every holiday season. Santa Claus is losing his powers because of the Mrs. Clause, a stipulation that states if he isn’t married by Christmas Day, he can’t be Santa anymore.

If that wasn’t enough, Santa finds out that his son is on the naughty list and must depart the North Pole to set him straight. Not only does the film have a great soundtrack, but it also stands for so much. The main message is you don’t need magic in order to make a difference in people’s lives — a message that is especially important to me during the holidays.

Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings: Holiday Magic, 2017

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In my “ten things you need to watch on Disney+ right now” article, I spoke about Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings, a show that documents couples getting married within the Disney parks. I raved about how romantic the show was, paired with the magic of Disney, made for a show that was truly worthy of binge watching. Take that and couple it (pun intended) with the magic of the holiday season and you have a show that is bound to make you tear up as you hear the words “I do”. My recommendation is to stock up on some tissues before you watch this!

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, 2017

“And when we’re together, it’s my favourite time of year.”

Ring in the season with your favourite friends from Disney’s Frozen. While this isn’t the longest animated short, it is sure to put you in the spirit of the holiday season as Olaf tries to find a new holiday tradition for Anna and Elsa.

A cute little side story: the first song in this short is called “Ring in the Season” and everytime I go into the Disney Store during November and December, the song comes on either as I’m entering or leaving the store. It always puts me in the holiday spirit as I’m buying the last of my gifts. This Frozen tale isn’t just a cute little distraction from the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but also has a heartwarming message. The festive season isn’t about the yearly traditions or the fruit cake, rather it’s about the people you spend the time with. 

Iron Man 3, 2013

“And so, as Christmas morning began, my journey has reached its end.”

Now I know what you’re thinking, “Andrew, Iron Man 3 isn’t a Christmas movie”; however, according to Disney+ it is. Following the events of Marvel’s The Avengers (2012), Tony Stark struggles to come to grips with the fact that aliens invaded New York City. After he seems to lose his path in a battle with the film’s villain, the Mandarin, Stark attempts to put the pieces of his life back together, while trying to save the world.

Not only is this my favourite Marvel movie, but Iron Man is my favourite superhero because of his morals (Don’t know what I mean? Watch Avengers: Endgame!). This movie is a great way to break-up the usual festive movies that you will be watching at this time of year. To end off on a quote from the film: “You can take away my house, all my tricks and toys. One thing you can't take away . . . I am Iron Man.”

Decorating Disney Holiday Magic, 2017

Ending off the list is my favourite holiday special on Disney+. Hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, we see how the Disney parks have their Halloween decorations replaced with Christmas decorations overnight. The spectacle is not only amazing to watch, but it is incredible to see the amount of work that goes into it.

You thought decorating your house was hard? Wait until you see the thousands of people who come together to decorate parks across the globe as well as all of Disney’s resorts. Although the streaming service has only been out for just over a year now, watching this special during the holidays has become a tradition for me as I love to see all the decorations and the magic that Disney brings with everything that they do.

The name of the book instantly sparks conversation, people are eager to discuss whether or not they’ve read it, what they know about it, and what they think about it.  And because it’s so enormously popular, it’s inevitable that there will be those who won’t like it. But whether you adore the book or you despise it, I’ll argue that there are some positives to the story. I’m certain that some people will be mildly revolted, throwing down and crumpling their papers. But if you’re even slightly curious about what these positives might be, then read on.


Here's a brief summary for those of you who have been living under a rock for the last six months:


Grad-student Ana Steele meets billionaire Christian Grey when she goes to interview him for her school paper. Both characters are immediately attracted to one another and begin a relationship. In order for the relationship to work, Ana will have to conform to Christian's erotic tastes.


My friend and I decided to read the book, both of us curious to see if a book with so strange a plot that inspired so much hatred was any good at all. It was my friend who opened my eyes to the more positive sides to the story.


1) Ana learns to step outside of her comfort zone and become assertive.


Ana is an extremely quiet girl and spends most of her time studying and seems to have little to no interest in boys. When she meets Christian Grey, she steps way out of her comfort zone, allowing herself to relax about her studies and explore this relationship (though it’s very different from the usual “first love”). She also learns to be assertive, telling Christian that she is not comfortable with certain things he wants to do.


2) Ana learns the importance of taking risks.


The risk I'm talking about is falling in love. You may scoff and roll your eyes at this, but love is one of the greatest risks. Because even if you love someone there will always doubt: doubt that you aren't good enough or that your partner will find someone better. Allowing yourself to fall in love will always imply the risk of being hurt. For Ana, this is a huge risk as she had never been in a relationship before and doesn’t have examples of steady love in her life (her mother was married three times).


3) Ana becomes more comfortable with her physical appearance.


Every moment of every day we are told to look a certain way. We are constantly obsessing over our hair, our makeup, our weight and our skin. It's extremely difficult to be comfortable with our body image, especially with the forever-present fear of being rejected. Ana learns to be comfortable with her appearance and accept that she isn't going to change for anyone. She comes to love herself, which is something few people can say.


It’s important that readers remember is that there are positives and negatives in every novel. When we love a book we see it as perfect and flawless, we sometimes place it on an altar to be worshiped. When we hate a book we want to throw it into the fiery pits of hell and watch it burn with delight. Perhaps we all need to open up our eyes a little more and stop seeing everything as either black or white - perhaps we should focus on the grey.


Sarah O'Connor

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