SURVEY SAYS: What's Your Favorite Holiday Movie?

December 20, 2007 ( - I don't know how it is where you are, but here it's looking "a lot (too much?) like Christmas."

This week, I’ve decided to honor reader requests – and a long-standing NewsDash holiday tradition – by asking, What’s your favorite holiday movie?

Once again, it was “nip and tuck” throughout the day – and once again, it was ” It’s a Wonderful Life ” vying with ” A Christmas Story ” for top spot.   And this time the winner is….(drum roll, please) “It’s a Wonderful Life”!

That’ right, the Jimmy Stewart classic recaptured the number one spot with 20% of the responses, just ahead of the 16.9% registered on behalf of “A Christmas Story.”   In fact, “It’s a Wonderful Life” has been the favorite of NewsDash readers every year of the past six years except for  2006 .   As one reader noted, “How can anyone not be moved by Jimmy Stewart’s portrayal of a good man struggling to overcome life’s challenge? Better still, he succeeds with the help of others returning his kindness. Yes, it takes Clarence the Angel to help him see the way, but that is the essence of the spirit of Christmas. Miracles happen!”   Another noted, I miss the days when you could find it on at least one channel at any time during the month of December.”

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (” Who doesn’t have an “Eddie” in the family!” noted one reader) remained firmly ensconced in third place (8.9%), but only barely ahead of ” A Miracle on 34 th Street ” (8.4%) – the traditional 1947 version with Natalie Wood, by the way.  White Christmas ” managed to hold on to its traditional fifth place finish (that’s four years in a row), while ” A Christmas Carol ” (Alistair Sim version – it was actually called ” Scrooge “) was a distant sixth (it had tied with “White Christmas” last year at fifth) – tied with ” Holiday Inn ” in this year’s survey (that had also been tied for fifth last year, but tied for seventh in 2005).

How the Grinch Stole Christmas ” (the cartoon version) tied with ” Love, Actually ” for eighth, both just ahead of ” A Charlie Brown Christmas .”  

Other films that got more than one vote in this week’s survey were; Die Hard, The Polar Express, A Christmas Carol (George C. Scott version), Elf, The Year Without a Santa Claus, Bad Santa, The Bishop’s Wife (the Cary Grant version, apparently – though there was a more recent entry with Denzel Washington), The Santa Clause, The Bells of St. Mary’s, A Christmas Carol (Mr. Magoo version), A Miracle on 34th Street (the new one), A Muppet’s Christmas Carol, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (yes, it’s about Thanksgiving – but I said favorite HOLIDAY movie), The Ref, Scrooged, and The Toy That Saved Christmas.

Once again, it was a tough choice for many.   One noted, "After I stared at the selections for five minutes, and realizing that you really can't pick more than one (clever, Nevin!) I settled for the last movie I saw, 'Polar Express.'"   As one reader noted, "No...No...Not that dreadful question....AAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!"   In fact, most of the 7.6% who chose other basically chose "others" - unable to pick just one.  

Just about every single fan of "A Christmas Story" accompanied their response with the quote, "You'll shoot your eye out!!!"

Several readers were impressed with the breadth of choice in this year's survey.   One noted, "I thought I was a serious Christmas movie watcher, but I can see from your list that I am an amateur. I better start watching more than one a night."  Another noted, "It was a hard choice to pick just one. I also never miss 'White Christmas,' 'Miracle on 34th Street' (traditional), 'Christmas Carol' with George C. Scott, and 'It's a Wonderful Life.' I watched one the other night called 'Angel in the Family' that may become one of my must-sees in the future. I never realized there were so many until I saw your listing.   Where did you get some of these?"  For the record, the list was drawn from the submissions readers have turned in as favorites over the years.

If the results of the survey have been remarkably consistent over the years, some readers have seen their favorites - evolve:  "When I was young and saw the world through rose-colored glasses, it was definitely 'It's a Wonderful Life'; then, as I settled into my 30's, and having started a family of my own, my preference changed to 'A Christmas Story.' Now that I am in my 40's and more 'jaded,' It has got to be 'Christmas Vacation.' I can relate to most of the situations Clark finds himself in, and that dang squirrel gets me every time!"

"No matter how many times I have watched it, National Lampoon's 'Christmas Vacation' makes me laugh out loud," noted another.  "On years when Christmas is a small affair, it reminds me why we haven't invited people over, and on years when extended family will be joining me, the movie helps me remember that it could always be worse."

Last year's Editor's Choice came in slightly modified; "And in my long-standing tradition for a second year (slightly altered): It's a wonderful life when you have a miracle on 34th street that let's you experience a white Christmas in Connecticut at the Holiday Inn. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night."

One "Elf" fan observed, "How can you not like a movie that defines the major food groups as "candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup"?"

Another reader noted, "Bad Santa reminds me of a good day at my office - politics included."

One reader - apparently looking for a "good" Santa - noted, "Dear Santa: I have been good this year, and I would like a Guardian Angel that is handsome, suave, and urbane, like Cary Grant in 'The Bishop's Wife.' Scratch that, I'd rather have a boyfriend that is handsome, suave, and urbane like Cary Grant. Thank you."

But this week's Editor's Choice goes to the "Miracle on 34 th Street" fan who said, "Like Natalie, we all want to believe."

Here's to believing!   Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey!

For those interested in comparisons, last year's version is still online at

The 2005 version is online at

The 2004 version is online at