These Are The Most Popular Holiday Movies, According to Google Searches

updated May 3, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Warner Bros)

Google sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake – or at least, it knows what holiday-themed movies you’re trying to find online every December.

A new graphic from the team at Treetopia shows the 15 most popular holiday movies, according to Google search interest data collected over the last five years. The number one spot goes to “A Christmas Story,” the 1983 classic that TBS airs for 24 hours on Christmas Day, and number two goes to “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” – the 2000 live action version with Jim Carrey, not the animated classic from 1966.

Rounding out the rest of top five are “The Polar Express” (2004) at number three, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (1989) at number four, and “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1994) in the fifth spot. (I feel that last one should have ranked higher, since it’s perfectly acceptable to watch it at any point between October 1 and December 31.)

(Image credit: Treetopia)

Here are some takeaways from the top 15 searched-for holiday movies:

While Google search popularity often correlates with box office dollars, that’s not always the case – for example, according to Treetopia, “A Christmas Story” ranks at number one despite performing worse at the box office than 85% of the other films on the list.

Only one movie in the top five includes a notable romantic moment — instead, most of these are comedies, and/or center around a child as the main character.

Wildly, four of these 15 holiday movies are rated R, so holiday movies aren’t just for kids: “Bad Santa,” “Die Hard,” “Love Actually,” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” all fall into that category.

The “newest” movie is from 2004 (“The Polar Express”), and the oldest is “It’s A Wonderful Life,” from 1946.

Only one of the 15 takes place around Thanksgiving (“Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”). We need more Thanksgiving movies in our lives.

Three of the 15 are animated: “The Polar Express;” “A Charlie Brown Christmas;” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

Four of the 15 involve traveling a long distance, including “Elf” (it’s a long way from the North Pole to Manhattan), “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles,” “Love Actually,” and “The Polar Express.” The graphic doesn’t count “Home Alone” in this, probably because the Kevin doesn’t leave the city, but his mom takes a long journey to get back to him.

Did any of your favorites get snubbed by Google searchers? I’ll just be over here trying to boost the rankings for “Scrooged” and “The Family Stone” so they show up in next year’s graphic.