We were curious about which Christmas movies were actually the most popular and where classics ranked against recent releases. To uncover these trends, we analyzed Google search interest data around the holidays for the last 5 years. The results give an interesting look at which Christmas movies have become the most beloved.
The Top 15 Holiday Movies:
- A Christmas Story
- Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
- The Polar Express
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
- A Nightmare Before Christmas
- Home Alone
- Love Actually
- White Christmas
- A Charlie Brown Christmas
- It’s a Wonderful Life
- Bad Santa
- Die Hard
- Planes, Trains and Automobiles
- Jingle All the Way
Visualized above are the top 15 holiday movies based on search interest. Also included in the graphic are release year, box office performance, and icons denoting significant elements in each movie.
Interestingly, box office performance doesn’t appear to be closely correlated with where movies ranked on the list. For example, A Christmas Story landed the #1 spot, but it had the third lowest box office earnings on the list at $19.3 million. Similarly, It’s a Wonderful Life only earned $3.3 million even though it ranked at #11 and is widely viewed as one of the most iconic Christmas movies of all time.
The elements found in each movie allowed us to draw a few other interesting insights. For one, almost all of the top 15 movies have significant comedic aspects to them. Furthermore, even though only 5 of the 15 movies are based on books, 3 of those are in the top 5. Similarly, 3 movies in the top 5 also include a child as the main character. Most unexpected of all was that only one of the top 5 movies includes notable romantic moments.
What is your favorite Christmas movie? Are you surprised at how these stacked up? Family traditions can vary wildly, but it is always interesting to see how data backs up American holiday favorites.