There are a few Christmas classics that are hard to beat when it comes to claiming space in the affections of the British public. You know, the big ones: Mariah. Wham. The Pogues. Shakin' Stevens.
Since the introduction of downloads in 2005, and streaming in 2014, many festive favourites have risen from their slumber to climb back into the Top 40, some of them over four decades since their first appearance. It also means newer festive tunes are making their presence felt – but which of them can earn a place in the Christmas canon and endure for years to come?
Well, we have a few suggestions. We look at festive tunes released in the last decade that are well worth a slot on your Christmas playlist, and are also sizing up a spot in the hall of fame.
Leona Lewis – One More Sleep (2013)
Combined sales: 571,000
One More Sleep's Motown-with-sleigh-bells sound made it feel like an instant classic when it was released in December 2013. It's one of the highest charting modern Christmas songs, topping out at Number 3, while the track itself perfectly captures the excitement of the build up to the big day.
Coldplay – Christmas Lights (2010)
Combined sales: 458,000
Okay, so it's not exactly jingle bells, but Christmas is a time for reflection as well as celebration, and, well, you know what Coldplay are like. Christmas Lights encapsulates the bittersweet of the season ("I took my feet To Oxford Street/ Trying to right a wrong"), particularly around the two-minute mark when it switches up from a low-key piano ballad to stadium-sized singalong.
Sia - Santa's Coming For Us (2017)
Combined sales: 139,000
In 2017, Sia tossed her very festive wig into the Christmas music circuit with Every Day Is Christmas. Lead single Santa's Coming For Us is a ridiculously catchy number with a timeless video to boot. In 2018, Sia topped it up with three more Christmas bangers, with My Old Santa Claus already shaping up to be a modern classic.
Ariana Grande – Santa Tell Me (2014)
Combined sales: 476,000
Recorded before Ariana's much-deserved world domination, her seasonal staple is three-and-a-half minutes of tinsel, teeth, and tonsils that's part '60s girl group pastiche, part the sort of thing you'd expect to accompany a dazzling display atop a Disneyland Christmas parade float. Full marks for pep and charm.
Michael Bublé – It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas (2011)
Combined sales: 649,000
The popular choice from his extremely popular Christmas album, Michael Buble's rendition of the 1950s standard, released in 2011, is now up there with Perry Como and Bing Crosby's versions.
Gwen Stefani – You Make it Feel Like Christmas (2017)
Combined sales: 66,000
As any episode of EastEnders will tell you, Christmas is all about "fah-mily". Gwen kept things close to home with the title track from her festive album by roping in her husband Blake Shelton for a quick guest appearance. There's just the right amount of schmaltz and country-pop festive cheer, so expect to see this reappear in the coming years.
Katy Perry – Cozy Little Christmas (2018)
Combined sales: 63,000
For her festive hit, Katy had her eye on a winning formula. Cozy Little Christmas has got all the ingredients you'd expect:it's a jazzy, '60s pastiche that preaches the heart-warming message that presents don't matter, so long as you have love – although Katy will be hanging onto one Chanel gift. You can't have Christmas without a cheeky nod to capitalism!
Justin Bieber – Mistletoe (2011)
Combined sales: 452,000
Christmas albums are particularly big among US artists and Justin Bieber wasted no time in getting his down the chimney, releasing it as the follow-up to his debut album, My World, in 2011. Lead single Mistletoe is a curious mix of reggae, R&B and pop with lashings of sleigh bells slathered over the top, but it's holding up over time, having been streamed over 19 million times in the UK since records began in 2014.
Kylie Minogue - Every Day's Like Christmas (2015)
Taken from her 2015 album Kylie Christmas, Every Day's Like Christmas was originally recorded as a winter-warming ballad but found new life after undergoing a remix by Stock Aitken Waterman. Unsurprisingly, it could easily sit among her '80s hits and seems to be the preferred version with fans, now approaching 1.25 million streams. Kylie's biggest post-2000 Christmas single became her 50th Top 40 hit when it charted for the first time in December 2017 – Santa Baby is on 330,000 combined sales, including 47.2 million streams.
Sam Smith – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (2014)
Combined sales: 199,000
First recorded by Judy Garland in 1944, Sam's take on the festive standard holds the accolade of being the first version of the song to chart in America, reaching Number 90. In the UK, that distinction goes to Judy's collaboration with daughter Lorna Luft in 1995, but it's Sam's version that the public seem to be revisiting, notching up over 11 million streams to date. See where every version of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas charted in the UK
Kelly Clarkson – Underneath The Tree (2013)
Combined sales: 318,000
The lead single from Kelly's Wrapped In Red album is the equivalent of a double shot of Bailey's, taking precisely six seconds to kick in before sweeping you up into a four-minute burst of festive hysteria.
John Legend – Bring Me Love
There aren't many smoother than John Legend, and the standout of his 2018 festive album A Legendary Christmas was the loungecore, jazz-tinged upbeat Bring Me Love. Like Katy's 2018 offering, John's got a fairly simple request for Santa, and it's not a Scalextric or a coffee machine. It's LOVE! Of course. It's already managed 1.31 million streams and that's certain to rise this year once the eggnog starts flowing.
Hurts – All I Want For Christmas Is New Year’s Day (2010)
Combined sales: 26,000
Hurts' Christmas offering strikes a near-perfect balance between happy and sad. "Everybody waits for Christmas, for me it's New Year's Day," singer Theo sings over plodding church bells, rejecting the big C but remaining hopeful next year will be different.
Look back through every Official Christmas Number 1 ever: