BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — One of the US’s favorite ways to celebrate the Christmas season is to kick back and enjoy a Christmas movie. We all have our favorite things to watch around this time of year, from the heartwarming to the humorous, and given the sheer number of Christmas movies that have come out over the years, there’s bound to be some weird, wild, or even frightening festive flicks that catch your eye whenever the season rolls around (our favorites include It’s a Wonderful Life, The Santa Clause, and the South American movie in which Santa fights the Devil with the help of Merlin). Everyone’s got a usual assortment of holiday staples, but according to a recent study, even the states have their own preferences.

A study performed by took the top 25 Christmas movies from IMDB’s list of the Top 100 Christmas Movies of All Time and cross-referenced it with search interest from Google Trends between November and January of 2021 to determine the most popular movie in each state. From here, there was one movie that stood out very clearly among the most popular, and its popularity is almost as huge as the tree that its main character brought into his home.

Of the 52 territories surveyed — including all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico — a whopping 40 unanimously agreed that National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation was the go-to favorite Christmas film. Even putting aside those who list it as number one, there are only four areas that don’t have it in the top five. While an overwhelming majority of states say that they enjoy spending their Christmas with the Griswolds more than any other Christmas classic, there are 12 states and US-owned territories that prefer other movies around the season. In particular, other states — including both Dakotas — have their own holiday favorites.

In our case, the most popular film is actually one based around love — more specifically, Love Actually, the 2003 romantic comedy taking place around Christmas. At the same time, some of our fellow areas dissenting from the norm have more interesting taste in Christmas flicks — among the other 11 who don’t favor Christmas Vacation, movies like The Nightmare Before Christmas, Gremlins, Edward Scissorhands, and Die Hard are also favorites (hey, those last three take place around Christmas, they technically count). Here are the favorite festive films of every territory and state that didn’t choose Christmas Vacation.

  • Arkansas — Die Hard
  • Georgia Edward Scissorhands
  • Puerto Rico/Vermont– Gremlins
  • Hawaii/Alaska/Idaho/Wyoming — It’s a Wonderful Life
  • North Dakota — Love Actually
  • South Dakota/District of Columbia — The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Delaware — The Shop Around the Corner

Here are a few other points of note from the study.

  • Overall, It’s a Wonderful Life is the country’s second-favorite holiday movie, landing in the top five for 38 other states outside of the four where it placed first.
  • Out of the top 25 movies, only eight were voted the favorites of any surveyed area.
  • Although they were some of the least-favorite picks, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Home Alone are the fourth and fifth favorite Christmas movies in the US.
  • The eight state-favorite movies were mostly released in the 80s, with North Dakota’s own pick being the only one that came out in the last 20 years.
  • Despite only being #1 in one state, Die Hard is America’s 3rd favorite holiday film, placing in the top five in 38 states.
  • Only two of the top 25 movies — Trading Places and Silent Night — didn’t place in any area’s top five.
  • The most popular genres of Christmas movies are fantasy, drama, and comedy. Seven of the eight films that were ranked number one in at least one state fit into at least one of these genres.

To view the full study, as well as a list of the favorite movies of every surveyed area, visit this page on