12/21: America’s Favorite Holiday Films

It’s becoming a holiday tradition of its very own.  Once again, A Christmas Story and It’s a Wonderful Life battle it out as Americans’ favorite holiday movie.  But, could little Ralphie be on his way to outdistancing himself from Capra’s classic?

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According to this Marist Poll, 26% of adults nationally cite A Christmas Story as their favorite holiday movie.  It’s a Wonderful Life is preferred by 24%.  Miracle on 34th Street warms the hearts of 16% while 13% enjoy watching Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney croon in White Christmas.  An additional 13% say A Christmas Carol is their favorite holiday flick, and 9% are unsure.

When Marist last asked this question in 2010, 24% of U.S. residents said It’s a Wonderful Life was their choice for classic holiday movie compared with 23% for A Christmas StoryMiracle on 34th Street received 22% while 13% said A Christmas Carol was their holiday staple.  12% most enjoyed White Christmas, and 5% were unsure.

There is an age gap.  Nearly four in ten adults under 45 years old — 39% — currently prefer A Christmas Story while 31% of Americans 45 and older say It’s a Wonderful Life is their favorite holiday film.

While 29% of men choose A Christmas Story, there is less of a consensus among women.  24% of women most fondly think of It’s a Wonderful Life compared with 22% who feel the same about A Christmas Story.

Table: Favorite Holiday Movie

Table: Favorite Holiday Movie (Over Time)








Two Holiday Classics Tie for Favorite Animated Holiday Flick

Despite a new addition to the list, two traditional movies take top honors as Americans’ favorite animated holiday movie.  Once again, Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer — 24% — and A Charlie Brown Christmas — 24% — tie for first place.  How the Grinch Stole Christmas — 19% — retains third place while a new addition this year, The Polar Express, follows with 11%.  Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town is the favorite animated holiday movie of 8% compared with Frosty the Snowman which is the pick of 6% of adults nationally.  Seven percent are unsure.

When Marist last reported this question in December of 2010, Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer — 26% — and A Charlie Brown Christmas — 26% — also vied for holiday ‘toon supremacy.  One in four adults — 25% — chose How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  Frosty the Snowman was picked by 9% while Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town sledded into the hearts of 8%.  Five percent were unsure.

While more than four in ten residents under the age of 30 — 42% — view How the Grinch Stole Christmas as their favorite animated holiday movie, there is little agreement among the older generations.  Among those 30 to 44, A Charlie Brown Christmas — 27% — and Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer — 25% — are the top selections.  However, Rudolph — 28% — dashes to the head of the pack among those 45 to 59.  A Charlie Brown Christmas — 27% — kicks a holiday field goal with those 60 and older.

Table: Favorite Animated Holiday Movie

Table: Favorite Animated Holiday Movie (Over Time)

How the Survey was Conducted

Nature of the Sample