‘Tis the season for curling 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 holidays is a point of contention across the nation.
Using data from Rotten Tomatoes and Google Trends, Wealthy Nickel crunched the numbers to determine the most popular Christmas movie in every state. Many holiday classics made the list, but a few states surprised us with their non-traditional picks. So cozy up on the couch amidst the twinkling glow of Christmas lights and find out if your state’s idea of the most wonderful time of the year involves the North Pole or Nakatomi Plaza.
The Highest-Ranked Christmas Movies by State
Something about Christmas movies really captures the spirit of the season and can bring on a sense of nostalgia that transports viewers to Christmases past.
One of those holiday classics is The Polar Expresswhich took the top spot in Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. These states love the mysterious train headed to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. Who doesn’t love the dancing waiters and chefs who serve hot chocolate to all the kids?
Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Texas, and West Virginia loved The Grinchthe story of a cynical grump who attempts to ruin Christmas for all of Whoville. While there are a few theatrical versions of the story, the most popular is 2018’s animated interpretation starring the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch as the Grinch.
With a flair for the romantic, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, Virginia, and The District of Columbia all chose Love Actuallywhich follows ten Brits as they navigate their love lives in a countdown to Christmas. This romantic comedy has become a modern-day Christmas staple for many.
Other favorite Christmas movies include Home Alone, Elfand It’s a Wonderful Life.
The Midwest – Illinois, Ohio, and North Dakota – support the Chicago-based Home Alonestarring Macaulay Culkin as the resourceful eight-year-old who fends off two hapless robbers from his family home. Nebraska, Nevada, and Utah eat up all the sugar they can as they watch 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.
Some newer movies are even starting to make their mark and become a part of the Christmas tradition. The 2019 Netflix animated movie Klaus is popular among states such as Colorado and Washington.
Elf or Edward Scissorhands?
What counts as a Christmas movie? Does anything set during the holiday season fit the bill, or does Santa Claus have to make an appearance? This debate has undoubtedly started many squabbles at family gatherings. However, the cold, hard facts don’t lie. The research from Wealthy Nickel showed that search volume spiked in December for several movies that wouldn’t usually spring to mind as heartwarming holiday classics.
One of the most surprising Christmas movies, voted a favorite by six states, is Trading Places. The 1980s comedy captures audiences year after year in Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. The movie follows an upper-class financial executive and a street hustler who switch lifestyles to win a bet. Set in Philadelphia during Christmas, there are plenty of opportunities for holiday hijinks, including Dan Akroyd in a Santa suit.
Edward Scissorhands shockingly makes the cut with four states – Arizona, California, Florida, and New Mexico – all agreeing that the movie is a must-see during the holidays. While it does not adhere to the “merry and bright” definition of a standard holiday flick, it does take place during Christmastime and is beloved by many.
Perhaps the most well-known Christmas-movie-that-maybe-isn’t-a-Christmas-movie is Die Hard. Both Montana and Idaho enjoy seeing John McClane fighting to save Christmas from a group of rogue terrorists.
Which States Have the Most and Least Christmas Spirit?
According to the rankings, Utah is the most festive state, always on the lookout for a dose of holiday cheer. Of the twenty movies rated, Utahns were among the top five searchers for twelve of them. West Virginia and New Hampshire took second and third place as states that can’t say no to a good Christmas movie. West Virginia was among the top five searchers for eleven movies 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 be slightly ashamed to be counted in that list.
Most Popular Christmas Movies By State
What do Nevada and Nebraska have in common? Their love of the movie Elfof course! Here is the complete list of the most popular Christmas movie in every state.
- Alabama – The Polar Express
- Alaska – Jack Frost
- Arizona – Edward Scissorhands
- Arkansas – The Grinch
- California – Edward Scissorhands
- Colorado – Klaus
- Connecticut – It’s a Wonderful Life
- Delaware – Trading Places
- District of Columbia – Love Actually
- Florida – Edward Scissorhands
- Georgia – Trading Places
- Hawaii – Trading Places
- Idaho – Die Hard
- Illinois – Home Alone
- Indiana – A Christmas Story
- Iowa – Christmas Vacation
- Kansas – Miracle on 34th Street
- Kentucky – The Grinch
- Louisiana – The Grinch
- 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 Wonderful Life
- Montana – Die Hard
- Nebraska – Elf
- Nevada – Elf
- New Hampshire – It’s a Wonderful Life
- New Jersey – Trading Places
- New Mexico – Edward Scissorhands
- 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 – Jack Frost
- South Carolina – The Polar Express
- South Dakota – Christmas Vacation
- Tennessee – The Santa Clause
- Texas – The Grinch
- Utah – Elf
- Vermont – Miracle on 34th Street
- Virginia – Love Actually
- Washington – Klaus
- West Virginia – The Grinch
- Wisconsin – It’s a Wonderful Life
- Wyoming – Krampus
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