Ah, it’s that time of year again. Somewhere deep in an airless cavern, a loudspeaker stirs. A poorly-fed intern recoils with fearful anticipation. With a single word from Mr Murdoch, the ceremony is set in motion. The pipes are connected; hours of snowy entertainment flood into houses up and down our green, pleasant land.
Suddenly, “Sky Christmas” appears on every TV in the country.
Yes, it’s now acceptable to bury yourself in a sofa and have “whatever’s on“ make your viewing decisions. It’ll all be Christmas-themed, and it’ll all be spectacular in December.
Of course, not all ‘Christmas movies’ have to feature reindeer, presents or a fat magical bearded man. Some – and even, most – of our favourite movies don’t have the world’s biggest holiday at the center of the story. Christmas takes a backseat in Trading Places, and The Holiday, which are on heavy rotation in our household come December.
If you’ve answered the question “What’s your favourite Christmas Movie?” with “Die Hard!“, you probably already know you’re unfunny and unoriginal. But, good news! I can now tell you exactly how unoriginal you are.
Thousands of people tweet every December about “the best Christmas movie”. By logging them since 2014 (it’s public – don’t get mad!), we’ve found a ranking of what’s trending. Tweet about one of the movies below and you’ll be in good company online.
The ranking is based on tweets specifically stating “[x] is the best Christmas Movie”, rather than by mentions alone. Retweets are also excluded, because original thought is always better than regurgitation.
Woah there, funny man! Looks like 1,541 people have come up with that exact same John McClane-shaped punchline. But let’s not throw too much shade on the Die Hard fans – it’s a really good film, and it is set at Christmas. It just doesn’t fill everyone with the same festive spirit.
Are you surprised by the other entries on the list? I’m not. Elf is still bordering on a euphoric cinema experience for me, and I’ve even seen it a few times in July. It fully deserves its top spot on the list. Likewise with National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, It’s a Wonderful Life and How The Grinch Stole Christmas!. They’re all timeless gems that warm you up every Christmas – just don’t get the latter confused with Ron Howard’s 2000 reimagining.
The crowd doesn’t follow the critics. No correlation shines though between the number of twitter mentions and IMDb rating. That could be because all Christmas movies are, honestly, a bit average.
Jack Frost is (fairly) awarded a 5 by IMDb users, Jingle All the Way is (unfairly) awarded a 5.5. Beyond that, only two points separate the movies on this list. These films are meant to watched when the whole family is gathered together – even your kino-ignorant uncle. Christmas movies are meant to please everyone, but don’t amaze or disgust many.
Elf gets far more Twitter votes than other, statistically ‘better’, films. Maybe people are too emotionally scarred by The Muppet Christmas Carol to wrench it up on Twitter. Maybe – despite what everyone says – Love Actually does have cultural shelf-life.
Wherever they appear in these charts, you’ll probably watch one of these films by accident this year. What are you going out of your way to watch before December 25th? Get 3,259 friends to join you, and you might make it onto this list next year.