It can be a bit dicey wading into the debate of “best Christmas movies.” Opinions are strong like a reindeer, peoples’ takes hot like cocoa, and opinions tougher than fruitcake.

But I stand by my choices, as should you. After all, what region should have more say than New England, where the weather outside is frightful approximately 40% of the calendar year?

My top three never waver. And I was delighted to see that each film has a New England connection.

The winner and champion is always Christmas Vacation. Show me someone who doesn’t like Christmas Vacation, and I’ll happily call them personally to recite Chevy Chase’s infamous breakdown monologue right to their face.

You know you love it. But what you may not know that the man that is Chevy Chase (and you’re not) spent summers in Ipswich, Massachusetts, as a child.

Coming in a close second is a film that’s often cited as the gold standard, while also being serviceable at any other time of the year: It’s a Wonderful Life. We all know the tale of George Baily, played by the legendary James Stewart, rediscovering through some hocus pocus that the world really does need him, after all.

But did you know that when he was starting out, Stewart performed in summer theater productions on Cape Cod (much the way another leading man who gets a lot of Stewart-like roles today started out at the old Hampton Playhouse)?

The third you won’t see coming, as it’s sadly flown under the radar: 1985’s Santa Claus: The Movie. It's one of the most '80s Christmas movies you can find, and one so convincing that it remains my mental image of Santa and his workshop.

This film has New England connections of its own, as it stars Harvard graduate John Lithgow and Amherst College graduate Burgess Meredith.

It’s also interesting to delve into the data to see what Christmas movies shine brightest in each part of New England...

The Most Popular Christmas Movie in Each New England State

The website Wishlisted conducted a study by analyzing online search trends to determine the top Christmas movie in all 50 United States. Here’s what came out on top...

Eight Great Holiday Movies Set in New England

From romance to comedy and even horror, here are eight holiday films set in New England to check out this year.

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