This is the time of year to curl up by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa and, of course, your favorite Christmas movie. But deciding which Christmas movie truly captures the essence of the holiday is a matter of national controversy.
Using data from Rotten Tomatoes and Google Trends, Wealthy Nickel pulled the numbers to determine the most popular holiday movie in each state. Many Christmas classics made the list, while a few notable omissions — what, no National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, White Christmas, Charlie Brown, or Rudolph? – Raised eyebrows. And a few states surprised us with their unconventional decisions. Snuggle up on the couch in the twinkling glow of the Christmas lights and find out if California’s idea of the most beautiful time of the year includes the North Pole or Nakatomi Plaza.
Top ranked Christmas movies by state
Something about Christmas movies really captures the spirit of the season and can evoke a sense of nostalgia that transports viewers to Christmases past.
One of those vacation classics is “The Polar Express,” which took first place in Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. These states love the mysterious train that travels to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. Who doesn’t love the dancing waiters and chefs serving hot chocolate to all the kids?
Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Texas and West Virginia loved The Grinch, the tale of a cynical grump trying to ruin Christmas for all of Whoville. Although there are a few theatrical versions of the story, the most popular is 2018’s animated rendition, with the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch as the Grinch.
With a flair for romance, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Virginia and the District of Columbia all chose Love Actually, which follows 10 Brits as they navigate their love lives in a countdown to Christmas. This romantic comedy has become a modern day Christmas for many.
Other popular Christmas movies are Home Alone, Elf and It’s a Wonderful Life.
The Midwest – Illinois, Ohio and North Dakota – backs the Chicago-based “Home Alone” starring Macaulay Culkin as a resourceful 8-year-old who fends off two hapless robbers from his family home. Nebraska, Nevada and Utah eat as much sugar as they can while watching Will Ferrell run around New York City in the endearing story of Buddy the Elf. And Connecticut, Missouri, New Hampshire and Wisconsin stand by the oldie but goodie: “It’s a Wonderful Life”.
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Some recent films are even beginning to make their mark and become part of the Christmas tradition. The 2019 Netflix animated film Klaus is popular in states like Colorado and Washington.
“Elf” or “Edward Scissorhands”?
What Counts as a Christmas Movie? Does something scheduled during the holiday season fit in or does Santa Claus have to show up? This debate has undoubtedly sparked many arguments at family gatherings. However, the cold hard facts don’t lie. Wealthy Nickel’s research showed that December’s search volume skyrocketed for several films that wouldn’t normally come to mind as heartwarming Christmas classics.
Voted a favorite by six states, one of the most surprising Christmas movies is Trading Places. The 1980s comedy has thrilled audiences in Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania year after year. The film follows an upper-class financial executive and a street prostitute who switch lifestyles to win a bet. Set in Philadelphia during the holiday season, there are plenty of opportunities for holiday fun, including Dan Akroyd in a Santa suit.
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California’s most popular film
Edward Scissorhands is making the cut in California, as well as three other states – Arizona, Florida and New Mexico – which all agree the film is a must-see during the holidays. While it doesn’t fit the “merry and merry” definition of a standard Christmas movie, it is set during the holiday season and is loved by many.
Perhaps the most famous Christmas movie that may not be a Christmas movie is Die Hard. Both Montana and Idaho enjoy watching John McClane fight to save Christmas from a group of renegade terrorists.
Which states have the most and least Christmas cheer?
According to the rankings, Utah is the most festive state, always looking for a dose of holiday cheer. Of the twenty films reviewed, Utahns were among the top five seekers for twelve of them. West Virginia and New Hampshire came in second and third as states that can’t say no to a good Christmas movie. West Virginia was among the top five seekers for eleven films and New Hampshire for seven.
The least festive states, at least by volume of Christmas movie searches, were Hawaii, Florida, Mississippi, New York and Louisiana. While most of these states will never have a white Christmas, New York should feel a little ashamed to be on this list.
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Most popular Christmas movies by state
What do Nevada and Nebraska have in common? Her love for the film “Elf” of course! Here is the complete list of the most popular Christmas movies in each state:
- Alabama – The Polar Express
- Alaska – JackFrost
- Arizona – Edward with the scissor hands
- Arkansas – Spoilsport
- California – Edward with the scissor hands
- Colorado – Klaus
- Connecticut – It’s a beautiful life
- Delaware – trading places
- District of Columbia- love actually
- Florida – Edward with the scissor hands
- Georgia – trading places
- hawaii trading places
- Idaho – Die Hard
- illinois Home alone
- indiana- a Christmas Story
- Iowa – Christmas holidays
- Kansas – Miracles on 34th Street
- Kentucky – Spoilsport
- Louisiana – Spoilsport
- Maine – Jingle all the way
- maryland- love actually
- Massachusetts – love actually
- Michigan – Krampus
- Minnesota – Jingle all the way
- Mississippi – The Polar Express
- missouri It’s a beautiful life
- Montana – Die Hard
- Nebraska – Eleven
- Nevada – Eleven
- New Hampshire – It’s a beautiful life
- New Jersey – trading places
- new mexico Edward with the scissor hands
- New York – trading places
- North Carolina – The Polar Express
- North Dakota – Home alone
- Ohio – Home alone
- Oklahoma – The Polar Express
- Oregon – love actually
- Pennsylvania – trading places
- Rhode Island – JackFrost
- South Carolina – The Polar Express
- South Dakota – Christmas holidays
- tennessee Santa Claus
- Texas – Spoilsport
- Utah – Eleven
- Vermont – Miracles on 34th Street
- Virginia – love actually
- Washington – Klaus
- West Virginia – Spoilsport
- wisconsin It’s a beautiful life
- Wyoming – Krampus