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The most searched classic Christmas movies in America

Last Updated on December 18, 2023 by Zoi Walker


During Christmas movie season, most of the country watches the same set of titles for a month—and watches them again the next year, and the one after that. Even awards season can’t generate that kind of audience. And it definitely can’t radiate Christmas spirit.

With all those repeat viewings, it doesn’t take long for a good Christmas movie to become a classic. The team at CenturyLinkQuote wanted to see which ones were on your minds this year, so we scoured the internet to find out and dropped the data into a cheery Christmas map.

Notice any you haven’t seen yet? This could be your year to try them out. Find the classics and other Christmas movies to watch on your favorite online streaming service.

Most searched classic Christmas movies [Map]

Interesting findings

  • Elf emerged as this year’s most searched Christmas movie, leading the charts in seven states. In celebration of its 20th anniversary, the film is being re-released in theaters.
  • A three-way tie for second place ensued, with The Nightmare Before Christmas, Four Christmases, and Love Actually each claiming the spotlight in five states. Nightmare Before Christmas may have even more staying power in the holiday season because of its appeal at both Halloween and Christmas.
  • The debate over whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie rages among the general population, but the film authorities IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes have spoken: it is.
  • Only two of these titles seem like Christmas movies made for kids: The Polar Express and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Both are based on children’s books.
  • Geographical ties are evident in the preferences of some states.
    • New York leans toward Home Alone, which has a sequel set in NYC. The film also narrowly edged out Elf for the top search spot.
    • Indiana favors A Christmas Story, set in Hohman, Indiana.
  • Many of the best Christmas movies had drama behind the scenes too:
    • It’s a Wonderful Life, now a beloved classic, was originally a box office fail
    • Will Ferrell, who played Buddy the Elf, suffered from headaches and nausea during the filming because he had to eat so much sugar.
    • According to The Nightmare Before Christmas’s supervising animator Eric Leighton, the film was shot at 24 frames per second, meaning the characters had to be posed 24 different times for each second of the film.
    • The movie Angels with Filthy Souls, referenced in the famous Kevin McAllister line, “I’m eating junk and watching rubbish,” doesn’t exist in the real world. The filmmakers created this movie within a movie just for Home Alone.
    • Home Alone features two clips from other classic Christmas movies on our list: Miracle on 34th Street, which plays in the background when Kevin discovers he’s home alone, and It’s a Wonderful Life, which the cousins watch at their uncles’ house in France.
    • In The Polar Express, Tom Hanks not only voiced the conductor but also provided the motion-capture performance for several other characters, including the boy and the hobo.


First, we gathered a list of 50 of the best Christmas movies according to IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes scores and pop culture lists by Screen Rant, Time Out, and Town & Country Magazine. Then, we used Semrush to determine the top 18 movies with the highest search volume in the last 12 months and plugged them into Google Trends to analyze the results by state. Seventeen films were searched more than any other in at least one state.


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Most searched classic Christmas movies [Table]

WyomingA Christmas Carol
OklahomaA Christmas Carol
VirginiaA Christmas Carol
IndianaA Christmas Story
OhioA Christmas Story
WashingtonDie Hard
AlaskaDie Hard
KansasDie Hard
MontanaDie Hard
North DakotaElf
ArkansasFour Christmases
KentuckyFour Christmases
MississippiFour Christmases
Rhode IslandFour Christmases
TennesseeFour Christmases
IllinoisHome Alone
New YorkHome Alone
LouisianaHow the Grinch Stole Christmas
West VirginiaHow the Grinch Stole Christmas
MissouriIt's a Wonderful Life
New HampshireIt's a Wonderful Life
MaineLove Actually
MassachusettsLove Actually
MinnesotaLove Actually
OregonLove Actually
VermontLove Actually
MarylandMiracle on 34th Street
South DakotaNational Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
New JerseySerendipity
ColoradoThe Holiday
ConnecticutThe Holiday
District of ColumbiaThe Holiday
ArizonaThe Nightmare Before Christmas
CaliforniaThe Nightmare Before Christmas
NevadaThe Nightmare Before Christmas
New MexicoThe Nightmare Before Christmas
TexasThe Nightmare Before Christmas
GeorgiaThe Polar Express
North CarolinaThe Polar Express
South CarolinaThe Polar Express
AlabamaThe Santa Clause
UtahWhite Christmas
WisconsinWhite Christmas

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