SURVEY SAYS: What's Your Favorite Holiday Flick?

December 22, 2005 ( - Here in the Northeast, it's tempting to pose a question about the transit strike in NYC - but with luck, by the time we had the results compiled, it would be over (not to mention the fact that many of our readers probably couldn't care less).

Instead, this week we honored a NewsDash holiday tradition of sorts – asking readers to name their favorite holiday movie.

It was nip and tuck most of the day – but when the day was done, and the tally taken, ” It’s a Wonderful Life ” garnered the most support – 22.73%.   Frank Capra’s classic is a long-time favorite of NewsDash readers — in fact, while this year’s tally was down slightly from 24% a year ago, it has been our readers’ favorite holiday movie for the past four years.   Not that it was easy.   As one reader noted, “Hmmm…tough call – White Christmas…no, wait,…It’s a Wonderful Life…no, wait,…A Christmas Story…no, wait,…White Christmas…no, wait,…It’s a Wonderful Life,…no, wait,…A Christmas Story…no, wait,…White Christmas…no, wait,…It’s a Wonderful Life,…no, wait,…A Christmas Story…no, wait,…White Christmas…no, wait,…It’s a Wonderful Life…””

We also had a repeat performance for our #2 film, A Christmas Story , which got more than 18% of the vote this year, up from roughly 14% a year ago (despite   – or perhaps as a result of — its 24-hour TBS marathons).   Nearly to a person, its supporters also saw fit to share that timeless line, “You’ll put your eye out.”  

However, leaping into third place this year was National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation , cited by more than 10%.   That Chevy Chase classic has been making steady progress – from #4 last year and from #6 the year before that, although its share of the overall vote was up only slightly from last year’s poll.

In fourth place was Miracle on 34 th Street , which, with 7.14% of the total, improved on both last year’s place (#6) and vote tally (5%).   Fifth place belonged to White Christmas , as it did a year ago, garnering nearly 6.5% of the vote, also roughly the same as a year ago.   Sixth place was a tie between the Alistair Sim version of A Christmas Carol and the Boris Karloff (not Jim Carrey) version of The Grinch That Stole Christmas , each with about 4%.   That was a notable slide for Christmas Carol (#3 last year, 10.5% of the vote), and a move up for the Grinch, which was stuck in a three-way tie for 8 th place a year ago with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (stuck back in the herd this year) and Christmas in Connecticut (which barely made this year’s roster).

There were some unusual entries this year – even more unusual because of their relatively strong support.  Bad Santa tied with that Bing Crosby classic Holiday Inn in 7 th place (roughly 4% each) – and Die Hard (which takes place at Christmas time), which drew nearly 2%, good enough for a four-way tie with Rudolph , The Santa Clause , and A Charlie Brown Christmas .

Also on our list were:   A Christmas Carol (versions starring George C. Scott, Albert Finney, and Patrick Stewart were cited – there are reportedly 47 different film versions of this classic), Elf, Going My Way, Home Alone, Beverly Hills Cop, The Bishop’s Wife, The Christmas Shoes, The Godfather (there IS a Christmas scene), Meet Me in St. Louis, The Out of Towners, Planes, Trains & Automobiles (it involves a holiday – Thanksgiving), the Polar Express, The Ref, Scrooged, and The Toy That Saved Christmas.

Once again this week, readers had some interesting – and often entertaining – insights.   Some of the best follow:

“My favorite is ‘Nat’l Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.’   It’s my generation’s ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ which is both sad and somehow profound…And Cousin Eddie is a gift that keeps on giving.”

“My vote is for the ever-popular ‘A Christmas Story’ — simply because I, too, was triple-dog-dared into licking a frozen pole.”  Asked to elucidate on the particulars, this reader responded, “It was much less dramatic than the movie (of course) …   a friend got a cup of warm water and that did the trick.   Thank goodness I never asked for a BB gun!”

“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation….we’ve all got a ‘Cousin Eddie.'”

“Any of them that were shot in black and white, and are still played on television in black and white. No colorized or remakes for me.”

“#1 Any movie that happens to be playing on the display TV’s at any store providing a momen’ts relief as my wife drags me through endless holiday shopping.   #2 Any movie I’m watching at home, because that means I’m not at work.”

“Movies like ‘Miracle on 34th Street,’ ‘A Christmas Carol,’ ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas,’ or ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ are all good contenders.   However, anyone who votes for ‘A Very Brady Christmas’ or ‘Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer’ should be banned from this site.”

The NYC Transit strike was on the minds of a few:

“Today you quoted my fave—’How the Grinch Stole Christmas’   And the NYC Transit Strike is making me about as cuddly as a cactus and as charming as an eel.”

“‘It’s a Wonderful Life’   – The story of a Metro Transit Authority employee who gets an 8% pay raise annually, retirement benefits at age 55, and only has to contribute 2% to his retirement plan.”

As well as a reader who wistfully noted, “Would that we had a transit system!”

“‘A Christmas Story,’ no doubt….I’d watch it on TBS for 24 hours straight, but then Santa might not come to my house….”

But this week’s Editor’s Choice goes to a reader who picked “Bad Santa,” and then explained, “Yes, that shows you what 22 years in HR can do to you….Now Billy Bob Thornton is an HR nightmare….”

Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey!