By Jonathan Landrum Jr. The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is the highest-charting Billboard Hot 100 holiday hit in 60 years, but Americans still prefer hearing carols such as “Silent Night” and “Jingle Bells,” a new poll shows.
With Christmas next week, 12 per cent of Americans named “Silent Night” as their favourite holiday song followed by “Jingle Bells” at 8 per cent, according to a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The open-ended question showed that “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a fan favourite among holiday films, followed closely by a mix of recent comedies and classics.
Nine per cent of respondents listed the 1946 Frank Capra classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” as their favourite film. Jimmy Stewart plays a conscientious family man who faces a seemingly insurmountable debt and attempts to end his life, but is stopped by a guardian angel on Christmas Eve.
“It’s a story of redemption,” said Michael Germana, 65, who called the film his favourite. The California native is also among the 21 per cent of adults 60 and older who choose “Silent Night,” which was first performed 200 years ago.
“It’s a song of inclusion,” Germana said. “There’s no strife.”
Americans under 30 are more likely than those older to name “Jingle Bells” (12 per cent) and Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” (7 per cent) as their favourite.
Carey’s song only trails the 1958 song “The Chipmunk Song” by David Seville as the highest-charting hit on Billboard. Other popular songs on Billboard charts include Kenny G’s “Auld Lang Syne” and “This One’s for the Children” by New Kids on the Block.
“All I Want for Christmas Is You” was named by 3 per cent of adults overall, while “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” which has drawn criticism in the #MeToo era and led some stations to stop playing it, was named by 5 per cent.
There were more contemporary choices among respondents when it came to film. Seven per cent chose 1983’s “A Christmas Story” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” but most people didn’t specify whether they preferred the 1966 animated television special or the 2000 live-action adaption starring Jim Carrey. A computer animated version, “The Grinch” has earned more than $239 million domestically since its early November release.
Six per cent selected the 2003 comedy “Elf” starring Will Ferrell, the Chevy Chase-led “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and “Home Alone,” a 1990 box office hit starring Macaulay Culkin as the burglar-thwarting Kevin McCallister.
Also listed as a favourite by 2 per cent of respondents: the 1988 Bruce Willis action film “Die Hard.”
Overall, Seventy movies or Christmas specials and 107 songs were cited as holiday favourites by poll respondents.