We watched the nation's favourite festive films to find the recipe for the perfect Christmas movie

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The Grinch Played By Jim Carrey Conspires With His Dog Max To Deprive The Who's Of Thei

It's the most wonderful time of the year - one which wouldn't be the same without twinkling lights, Christmas carols and, of course, festive films.

There's nothing to get you more into the holiday spirit than settling down for an evening of mulled wine and a Christmas flick. Which is why we watched seven of the nation's favourite festive movies - Love Actually, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, The Santa Clause, It's A Wonderful Life, Elf, The Muppet Christmas Carol and Home Alone - to work out the recipe for the perfect Christmas film.

The ingredients include a sprinkle of festive arguments, a good dose of snow and a dash of Christmas spirit...

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In case you were wondering - and we know you are - here's a breakdown of a handful of the deciding factors and how they differed from film to film.

First up are the number of Christmas songs, which don't feature as heavily as you may have assumed.

Every single Silent Night or Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas was taken into account - as long the song fitted the festive theme, it was considered.

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Then comes the number of times the word "Christmas" is said, whether it's uttered under one's breath, screamed from the rooftops or delightfully greeted.

Considering how averse to Christmas the Grinch was, it sure is said a helluva lot in Whoville.

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The earliest snowfall - not the first glimpse of snow on the ground or any other inanimate sighting - may come as a surprise to many.

While snow fell immediately after the opening credits for two films, we were waiting a while for the magical moment in the others.

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Ah we all know that one person who takes a lot more coaxing to embrace the Christmas spirit than others - and it was no different in the Christmas classics.

While none of the anti-Christmas characters were too keen to succumb to festivities, they all got there in the end - with It's a Wonderful Life's George Bailey and Love Actually's Billy Mack taking the longest to realise the true meaning of the holiday.

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So there you have it - the recipe for creating the perfect Christmas film. A film that could have you sobbing more tears than It's a Wonderful Life, laughing harder than Home Alone, and filling you with more joy than Love Actually. It could very well have the potential to be even more spectacular than, dare we say it, Richard Curtis's rom-com. On second thoughts, maybe not.