Is There an Upset Winner Among Favorite Michigan Christmas Movies?

Is There an Upset Winner Among Favorite Michigan Christmas Movies?
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

Like ornaments for the tree and holiday songs, everyone has a favorite, or maybe a few favorites, when it comes to Christmas movies. In fact, some people are so enamored with their holiday favorite, the film seemingly, or literally, is running on a loop on the household big screen.

Taking a break from Michigan sports betting, set out to find what the favorite Christmas movies are for the state.

In Michigan, the favorite Christmas movie turned out to be something of a surprise, at least if preferences in films can lean toward what hits close to home geographically — but more on that in a bit.

Utilizing Google Trends, analyzed the most popular Christmas movies of state residents by looking at the search results of each movie over the past five Christmases. The movies included the 40 most popular Christmas movies over the past year, based on global traffic from

You won’t find these odds on Michigan betting apps, just our research right here.

Isn’t The Polar Express a Michigan Movie?

So, before the big reveal of the No. 1 Christmas movie choice of Michiganders, we’ll start with what was a surprise.

In a bit of a stunning turn, The Polar Express was consigned to No. 2 with a 20% “Interest Percentage.”

The 2004 Tom Hanks movie is a computer-animated film about a magical Christmas train that whisks children to the North Pole. Hanks plays multiple roles, including the conductor of the Polar Express.

Now, for what’s interesting about the movie regarding Michigan. The adventure begins when the train stops at the home of the little boy protagonist in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The film’s roots are planted firmly in Michigan. Reportedly, the locomotive is modeled after the Pere Marquette 1225, which was on display near Michigan State’s Spartan Stadium in East Lansing.

The book on which the movie is based was written by Michigan native son, Chris Van Allsburg. Clearly, The Polar Express is decidedly a Michigan Christmas tale.

The movie has inspired train excursions all over the world as well as theme park rides, a video game and even concerts.

Still, it finished in second place in a review of Michigan Christmas movie favorites.

So, Which Movie Is No. 1?

So . . .  what holiday film could outdistance The Polar Express in Michigan?

That distinction went to the Macaulay Culkin comedy-adventure Home Alone with Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern as buffoonish burglars who were foiled by a string of hilarious booby-traps set by a little boy accidentally left, well, home alone as his family traveled to Paris. It registered 30% in “Interest Percentage.”

There’s no question that Home Alone was extremely entertaining and popular. The film did more than $476 million in box office and set the stage for the Home Alone film franchise. Donald Trump had a cameo in Home Alone 2. 

However, the Home Alone house where young Kevin battled the funny bad guys was set in a suburb of Chicago, a geographic detail that many Michiganders were apparently willing to overlook when picking HA over Polar Express.

The rest of the top five Christmas movies in Michigan were: No. 3, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (18%), Chevy Chase’s Griswold clan also lives in suburban Chicago; No. 4, A Christmas Story (17%), set in a 1940s fictional Indiana town, although the actual house used in filming is in Cleveland, Ohio, and No. 5, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the 2000 Jim Carrey version (15%), set in Whoville and nearby Mt. Crumpit.

Keep a close eye on for stories of the season and of pro sports seasons, as well as for Michigan sportsbook promos.

Most Popular Christmas Movies in Michigan

RankChristmas MoviePct. Interest
🎅 1Home Alone30%
🎅 2The Polar Express20%
🎅 3National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation18%
🎅 4A Christmas Story17%
🎅 5How the Grich Stole Christmas15%

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Bill Ordine, senior journalist and columnist for, was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years, and was a lead reporter on a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News. Bill started reporting on casinos and gaming shortly after Atlantic City’s first gambling halls opened and wrote a syndicated column on travel to casino destinations for 10 years. He covered the World Series of Poker for a decade and his articles on gaming have appeared in many major U.S. newspapers, such as the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald and others.

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