The audience for the entire marathon has grown from more than 38 million people tuning in at one time or another more than a decade ago to roughly 54 million watching Santa kick Ralphie down the slide or Flick stick his tongue to the flagpole in 2009. The first showing on Christmas Eve regularly registers between 4.3 million and 4.5 million viewers, with last year's 8 p.m. showing pulling in nearly 4.9 million. Of the Top 10 programs on cable television last Christmas Eve, showings of A Christmas Story accounted for the top three, with even the midnight showing (and its 3 million viewers) outperforming college football on ESPN (2.4 million viewers).

We realize it's difficult to let go of holiday traditions. In certain cases, however, replacing cherished favorites with less anachronistic alternatives is best for everybody involved. It makes for good business, sure, but it makes even better holiday memories.

-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

RELATED STORIES:
Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Esquire.com, Time Out New York, the Boston Herald, the Boston Phoenix, the Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent. He previously served as the political and global affairs editor for Metro U.S., layout editor for Boston Now, assistant news editor for the Herald News of West Paterson, N.J., editor of Go Out! Magazine in Hoboken, N.J., and copy editor and lifestyle editor at the Jersey Journal in Jersey City, N.J.

If you liked this article you might like

Equifax CEO and Board Are Pretty Cozy

Weekend Box Office Preview: Could 'Kingsman 2' Finally Dethrone 'It?'

Netflix Shares Could Rise 16% on Big Boost in Subscribers

How eSports Leaders Are Making a Business Out of the Professional Gaming Market

'The Handmaid's Tale' Emmy Win Is Really Big for Netflix