Data in Everyday Life – Yippee-ki-yay-Happy-Holidays

Thanks to Veronica Ramshaw, Film Librarian at Archer Libraries and Archives for assisting with the research for this blog!

It’s December. It’s dark and cold, but also many of us will be celebrating secular or religious holidays. What better way to celebrate the holidays than embracing hygge, grabbing a hot chocolate or other delicious, warm beverage, and watching a holiday movie? After all, December is when holiday movies, primarily Christmas movies, take over cable TV, streaming, and theatrical releases. So let’s talk about holiday movies and what is, or isn’t a Christmas movie.

With this in mind, let’s discuss a very important question: Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?

Poster for the film Die Hard (1988). Internet Movie Database, 2023,

I looked for polls and surveys asking if Die Hard is a Christmas movie and the results are…

Die Hard is not a Christmas movie. I found six surveys, in every single one the majority of respondents said no!

Survey 1: YouGov UK 2017 – 30% of people think it’s a Christmas film, 52% do not.

Survey 2: US based survey by The Hollywood Reporter and Morning Consult 2018 – 25% say yes Die Hard is a Christmas film, 62% say no.

Survey 3: 2019 Canadian Survey by Abacus Data – 25% say yes it’s a Christmas film, 55% say no.

Survey 4: 2020 YouGov US Survey – 42% of those polled say yes, 43% say no Die Hard is not a Christmas movie.

Survey 5: YouGov UK 2021 – 44% of participants say yes, 47% say no.

Survey 6: Canadian 2022 Survey from Cineplex – only 36% of those polled consider Die Hard a Christmas movie.

All these surveys featured a variation of the question “Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? If you have not seen or do not know the movie answer ‘I don’t know’.”

My heart breaks to see this data, so let’s dive into what is or isn’t a Christmas movie.

There’s no clear-cut definition of a Christmas movie, and a lot of the debate is focused on opinion, but I was able to find some core themes of Christmas movies from articles from The Hollywood Reporter, CBC, the Unspooled podcast, and an interview with critic Craig Outhier. I also asked our Film Librarian to do a quick search for scholarly articles, but most of what we found focused on the sub-genre of Hallmark style Christmas movies. It’s important to realize that despite the Hallmark style Holiday movie machine producing highly formulaic stories focusing on love, romance, nostalgia, and good fuzzy feelings, traditional or classic Christmas movies do not fall into those themes. After all, A Christmas Carol is a ghost story.

So, an unofficial, almost entirely opinion-based list of common themes in Christmas movies:

  • Must include a Christmas setting at some point during the film
  • Meaningful use of Christmas in the film – often described as “Could the plot be described without Christmas and still make sense?”
  • Characters going through a transformation
  • Reunion with family

Opinions will vary, but to me, Die Hard is my go-to holiday movie. It’s got action, humour, romance, family drama, and of course Alan Rickman. However, does it fit into our Christmas movie themes list?

Christmas Movie ThemeDie Hard
Christmas SettingYes, takes place at the Christmas party on Christmas Eve
Meaningful Use of Christmas in the FilmYes, Christmas enhances the plot and emotional arcs of the characters
Characters go through a transformationYes
Reunion with familyYes

So there you have it. Die Hard is a Christmas movie.

If you haven’t seen Die Hard or want to rewatch this holiday classic, you can access it through the Archer Library and Archives Criterion on Demand Database or borrow a physical copy from Regina Public Library.

Author: Kaetlyn Phillips

Top Ten Research Guides

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Because everyone loves a top ten list at the end of the year, here are our most accessed Research Guides (also sometimes referred to as Lib Guides) by Archer patrons. Not surprised to see the APA guide at number 1 as we get a lot of citation questions at the Help Desk. Citing correctly is tricky business!

Research Guides cover many specific topics & areas of study and are prepared for you by Archer staff. They can be found under “Popular Services” on our homepage:

Live Library Occupancy Information

The library now has live occupancy data available online and on the Waitz app. See where the busiest, and calmest, parts of the library are before you even arrive, or check the status at the door on your way in.

A screenshot of the University of Regina Waitz page. A navy blue bar across the top has the Waitz logo in white on the left, and 'Home' 'iOS' and 'Andriod' links on the right. Below it says 'University of Regina Check real-time crowd levels on campus. Know before you go with Waitz'. Below that it shows the Archer Library is 71% Busy. The next hour will be more crowded. Today is more crowded than last week. Peak hours are 1pm, 3pm and 4pm. The 6th Floor Computer Lab is best right now. Below that it breaks down the library by area. 1st Floor Archives Reading Room with a capacity of 20 is 11% Not Busy. 1st Floor Library Main with a capacity of 162 is 86% Very Busy. 1st Floor Regina/Wascana Room with a capacity of 80 is 39% Not Busy. 3rd Floor All with a capacity of 70 is 74% Busy.

You can access the library occupancy data anytime from the library website:

A screencap from the library home page. It shows the Popular Services buttons and the Hours. Under popular services, the 4th button is highlighted with a red box, it says 'Library Occupancy'

You can also bookmark or get the Waitz app available for both iOS and Android.

Download Waitz for iOS or Waitz for Android.

Takao Tanabe: Life & Work

“Takao Tanabe: Life & Work” by Ian Thom (Art Canada Institute, 2023) is published today! The University of Regina is lucky to have several works by Tanabe in its art collection, including his series of colourful banners, formerly displayed in the Ad Hum building.

Takao Tanabe (b. 1926), Untitled (Banners), 1973, printed nylon banners. University of Regina President’s Art Collection, pc.1973.2. Photograph by the University of Regina.

Psychology 408 Class @ the Archives

Archives was pleased to host Dr. Sarah Sangster’s Psychology 408 History & Systems students for their final presentations this week. They’ve been frequent visitors in our reading room this term, working on an assignment related to the history of their Department. Critical thinking, hands-on primary source research, and team work in action! Well done everyone!