Americans Prefer Decades-Old Holiday Movies

By: James Flippin · December 20, 2022 · Reading Time: 3 minutes

Can’t Wait to Watch Elf Again

In winter, there’s almost nothing better than curling up to watch a Christmas movie. But despite the number of new holiday movies available each year, a recent survey revealed that most people prefer to travel through the seven levels of the candy cane forest for the umpteenth time.

According to data from Samba TV, the most-watched holiday movies of the past month were Christmas Vacation, Home Alone, and Elf, respectively. The last, released 19 years ago, is the only one of the top three to have been released in the past two decades. And of the top 10, only two were released this year: Netflix’s (NFLX) Falling For Christmas and The Noel Diary.

Cranking Out Christmas Content

It’s not like there aren’t other options for holiday movie night. Dozens of new Christmas flicks get made each year.

For example, Hallmark churned out 40 new original holiday movies this year, while A&E Networks’ Lifetime channel produced 26 of its own. And not all of these films were made-for-TV quality. AppleTV’s (AAPL) Spirited, for example, had a budget of $75 million and starred Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds.

But despite all this effort, no recent Christmas movies seem to have generated the rewatchability of the Christmas classics.

Fighting Nostalgia

The most likely reason why Americans enjoy rewatching Christmas movies is nostalgia. A few decades ago, there were only a few holiday movies that were syndicated regularly. With just a handful of titles to choose from, families got used to watching the same films every year. By the time streaming services created countless other content options, it was already tradition.

Plus, the fact that plenty of new holiday films get produced each year only makes it harder for individual films to stand out. Each new holiday movie is just another snowflake in the blizzard of new movies. Even Netflix’s success with this year’s top performers Falling For Christmas and The Noel Diary could prove short-lived. A holiday film is only a true success if families queue it up again next Christmas.

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