Christmas songs are like Brussels sprouts: they only appear in December and you either love or loathe them - but either way they are an essential component of the festive season.
Like distant relatives bounding into your family home on Christmas morning, every December sees a flurry of festive favourites flood back into the Official Chart - ever since the age of downloading (2005) and streaming (2014) made the classics (as well as the newer Christmas songs) more accessible.
This year, Christmas songs have re-appeared in the chart earlier than usual, perhaps a sign we’re all keen to celebrate the festivities as early as possible in an otherwise difficult year.
Looking at the UK’s most-streamed Christmas songs (based on Official Charts Company data), the Top 3 is the holy trinity of classics: Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You lands at the top of the tree with 180 million streams to date, followed by Wham’s Last Christmas (158m) and Fairytale Of New York by The Pogues ft. Kirsty MacColl (125m). All three are usually the first to return to the Official Chart each December, often competing for spots in the Christmas Chart Top 10.
Completing the Top 5 are two more old favourites, Shakin’ Stevens’ Merry Christmas Everyone in fourth (97m), and Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas? at 5 (94m). The iconic charity single released in 1984 is one of the UK’s best-selling singles of all time, with over 3.8m pure sales, and continues to hold up well in the streaming era.
The highest-placed modern Christmas song - that is, festive songs released since 2010 - goes to Ariana Grande; her 2014 original song Santa Tell Me is the UK’s eighth most-streamed Christmas track with 78 million plays.
Other modern festive songs holding their own against the classics include Leona Lewis’ One More Sleep in 15th place (65m), Justin Bieber’s Mistletoe in 16th (58m), and Kelly Clarkson’s Underneath The Tree in 19th (52m).
If Mariah is the Queen of Christmas, then surely Michael Buble is the King. His Christmas album is the UK’s biggest festive-themed record with just over 3 million chart sales, and four of its tracks rank among the Top 40 most-streamed Christmas songs, led by It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas in sixth (92m).
The Official Top 40 most-streamed Christmas Songs
|1||ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU||MARIAH CAREY|
|3||FAIRYTALE OF NEW YORK||POGUES FT KIRSTY MACCOLL|
|4||MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE||SHAKIN' STEVENS|
|5||DO THEY KNOW IT'S CHRISTMAS||BAND AID|
|6||IT'S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE||MICHAEL BUBLE|
|7||STEP INTO CHRISTMAS||ELTON JOHN|
|8||SANTA TELL ME||ARIANA GRANDE|
|9||I WISH IT COULD BE CHRISTMAS EVERYDAY||WIZZARD|
|10||ROCKIN' AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE||BRENDA LEE|
|11||DRIVING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS||CHRIS REA|
|12||MERRY XMAS EVERYBODY||SLADE|
|13||ONE MORE SLEEP||LEONA LEWIS|
|15||IT'S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR||ANDY WILLIAMS|
|16||HAPPY XMAS (WAR IS OVER)||JOHN & YOKO/PLASTIC ONO BAND|
|17||UNDERNEATH THE TREE||KELLY CLARKSON|
|18||WONDERFUL CHRISTMASTIME||PAUL MCCARTNEY|
|20||HOLLY JOLLY CHRISTMAS||MICHAEL BUBLE|
|21||WHITE CHRISTMAS||BING CROSBY|
|22||JINGLE BELL ROCK||BOBBY HELMS|
|23||MARY'S BOY CHILD/OH MY LORD||BONEY M|
|25||CHRISTMAS (BABY PLEASE COME HOME)||DARLENE LOVE|
|26||LET IT SNOW LET IT SNOW LET IT SNOW||DEAN MARTIN|
|27||SANTA BABY||KYLIE MINOGUE|
|28||LONELY THIS CHRISTMAS||MUD|
|29||STOP THE CAVALRY||JONA LEWIE|
|31||BLUE CHRISTMAS||ELVIS PRESLEY|
|32||CHRISTMAS TIME (DON'T LET THE BELLS END)||DARKNESS|
|33||SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN||MICHAEL JACKSON & JACKSON FIVE|
|34||SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN||MICHAEL BUBLE|
|35||HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS||SAM SMITH|
|36||SANTA BABY||EARTHA KITT|
|37||LET IT SNOW LET IT SNOW LET IT SNOW||FRANK SINATRA|
|38||THE CHRISTMAS SONG||NAT KING COLE|
|39||BABY IT'S COLD OUTSIDE||IDINA MENZEL FT MICHAEL BUBLE|
|40||SANTA'S COMING FOR US||SIA|
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