The biggest selling Christmas Number 1s of all time

Which festive chart-toppers have shifted the most? We count 'em down.

A Christmas Number 1 is a huge accolade for any pop star, and it usually means that no matter how festive (or not very festive) the song, it's forever associated with the holiday season. If you look at each and every Christmas Number 1 over the years, they're an eclectic bunch.

But if a Christmas Number 1 is a big deal, who gets the even bigger honour of having the most popular of all? Christmas chart-toppers are usually huge sellers – we've crunched the numbers and present the biggest selling of all time.

Christmas-themed faves

A good few sleigh rides in front of the competition is the slightly gloomy and problematic, yet very catchy and nostalgic, Do They Know It's Christmas? from 1984. The mega-selling charity single was a huge phenomenon and successfully blocked the also big seller Last Christmas by Wham getting to Number 1. It's been covered, and hit the top spot again, three times – Band Aid 20's 2004 do-over is at 14 – and has sold a whopping 3.8 million copies.

Religious-themed Mary's Boy Child makes two appearances – it comes in fourth for Boney M's 1978 rendition (1.89 million), while Harry Belafonte's 1957 is 13th (1.19 million). Slade's inescapable Merry Xmas Everybody is one of the few Christmas Number 1s with the word "Christmas" in the title (well, kind of) and it finishes 10th, with 1.31 million sales.

Repeat successes

Paul McCartney features on the most Christmas Number 1s of anyone and he takes up a quarter of our Top 20. Aside from both Band Aids here, Sir Paul claims third place for 1977's Mull of Kintyre (2.09 million) and two Beatles' tracks from 1964 and 1965 – I Feel Fine is on 1.42 million (7) and double-A We Can Work It Out/Day Tripper is on 1.4m (8).

Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody is the second biggest selling Christmas Number 1 of all time and has one of the longest reigns at the top, and it's hit the snow-topped summit twice, in 1975 and 1991.

Unhappy Christmas

Misery also does quite well at Christmas – I guess that's why we all watch EastEnders on Christmas Day. Human League's lovelorn Don't You Want Me from '81 has sold 1.64 million (6), Michael Jackson's Earth Song from '95 is on 1.21m (12), and Pink Floyd's almost hilariously un-festive Another Brick in the Wall cheered everyone up in 1979 and sold 1.15 million (15).

X Factor

Three winners make our Top 20. Alexandra Burke's Hallelujah form 2008 is the biggest, with 1.31 million sales; Shayne Ward's That's My Goal form 2005 is on 1.11m (17), and Matt Cardle's not very cheery When We Collide is 19th, with 1.02m sales.


Burko holds the single that would end up 2008's Christmas Number 1. (Ken McKay/REX)

Other highlights

Plus, a shoutout for top selling Christmas Number 1 by a female solo star is I Will Always Love You from the late great Whitney Houston, in 5th place (1.64m), and female group is Spice Girls' Christmassy condom anthem, 2 Become 1, on 1.14m sales.

Here's the full Official Top 20 biggest selling Christmas Number 1s.

Listen to all the Official Christmas Number 1s on Spotify, Deezer and Apple music

  TITLE ARTIST YEAR
1 DO THEY KNOW IT'S CHRISTMAS? BAND AID 1984
2 BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY QUEEN 1975/1991
3 MULL OF KINTYRE/GIRLS' SCHOOL WINGS 1977
4 MARY'S BOY CHILD/OH MY LORD BONEY M 1978
5 I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU WHITNEY HOUSTON 1992
6 DON'T YOU WANT ME? HUMAN LEAGUE 1981
7 I FEEL FINE THE BEATLES 1964
8 WE CAN WORK IT OUT/DAY TRIPPER THE BEATLES 1965
9 HALLELUJAH ALEXANDRA BURKE 2008
10 MERRY XMAS EVERYBODY SLADE 1973
11 GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME TOM JONES 1966
12 EARTH SONG MICHAEL JACKSON 1995
13 MARY'S BOY CHILD HARRY BELAFONTE 1957
14 DO THEY KNOW IT'S CHRISTMAS? BAND AID 20 2004
15 ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL (PART 2) PINK FLOYD 1979
16 2 BECOME 1 SPICE GIRLS 1996
17 THAT'S MY GOAL SHAYNE WARD 2005
18 CAN WE FIX IT? BOB THE BUILDER 2000
19 WHEN WE COLLIDE MATT CARDLE 2010
20 LONG HAIRED LOVER FROM LIVERPOOL LITTLE JIMMY OSMOND 1972

©2017 Official Charts Company. All rights reserved.

Here's our gallery of every Christmas Number 1 ever:

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