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The most popular Christmas movies in the U.S.

‘Tis the season, when ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ airs on Christmas Eve and ‘A Christmas Story’ runs for 24 hours straight on Christmas Day

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A scene from “The Polar Express.”

A scene from “The Polar Express.” “The Polar Express” is one of the most popular Christmas films in the country, being the favorite in 10 states.

Provided by Warner Bros. Picture, Warner Bros.

‘Tis the season, when “It’s a Wonderful Life” airs on Christmas Eve and “A Christmas Story” runs for 24 hours straight on Christmas Day.

The website BeautyAnswered.com recently analyzed online search trends and search volume to determine the most popular Christmas films in every state.

Here are some takeaways from the research.


What is the most popular Christmas movie?

The most popular Christmas movie award goes to both “Elf” and “The Polar Express,” which were each the favorites in 10 states.

Elf” hit theaters in 2003 and is a modern classic that “has remained culturally relevant over the span of nearly two decades,” going on to inspire a Broadway musical and an animated TV special, the Deseret News reported.

“No, it never received a Golden Globe or Oscar nomination,” Deseret News reporter Gitanjali Poonia wrote. “But it still manages to touch hearts and force out many full-bellied laughs.”

The following 10 states — including Utah — claimed “Elf” as their favorite Christmas film:

  • Colorado.
  • Iowa.
  • Massachusetts.
  • Michigan.
  • Minnesota.
  • Nebraska.
  • Ohio.
  • Rhode Island.
  • Utah.
  • Wyoming.

“The Polar Express” — based on the picture book from the author and illustrator behind “Jumanji” — came out a year after “Elf,” and tells the story of a train ride to the North Pole that inspires children to keep the spirit of Christmas alive.

“The Polar Express” was the most popular Christmas movie in the following 10 states:

  • Alabama.
  • Arizona.
  • Connecticut.
  • Georgia.
  • Louisiana.
  • Mississippi.
  • Missouri.
  • North Carolina.
  • Oklahoma.
  • South Carolina.

What are other popular Christmas movies?

The Santa Clause,” “The Holiday” and “White Christmas” are also popular films, each claiming the top spot in five states.

Deseret News reporter Natalie Issa recently shared her love for the classic film “White Christmas,” which came out in 1954.

“The main message of the film still rings true,” she wrote. “Because most importantly, ‘White Christmas’ is a movie about hope. Hope that you can bring your loved ones together. Hope that everything will be all right, in the end. And hope that maybe, one day, it will snow again.”

The Nightmare Before Christmas” was a favorite in four states, while “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” each stole the hearts of three states.

Both “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “Home Alone” each made the cut in two states. It’s worth noting that “Home Alone” was most popular in Illinois and New York, which have been filming locations in the “Home Alone” franchise.


What are the least popular Christmas movies?

Despite making it on just about every list of classic Christmas movies, “Miracle on 34th Street” and “Love Actually” proved to be the least popular holiday films.

Alaska claimed “Miracle on 34th Street” as its favorite Christmas movie, while “Love Actually” went to Washington, D.C.