By this time, you might be tired of hearing holiday nuggets such as José Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad,” “Last Christmas” from Wham!, Bobby Helms’s timeless “Jingle Bell Rock,” or Brenda Lee’s immortal “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” on constant rotation on the radio and in stores and other public places. There’s a good reason why they get such frequent play: They are among the most popular Christmas songs of all time.
To determine the most popular Christmas songs of all time, 24/7 Tempo reviewed performance data on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Holiday songs were ranked based on an inverse score wherein a week at No. 1 is worth 100 points, a week at No. 2 worth 99 points, and so on, up to a week at No. 100 worth one point. Chart data is current through the week of Dec. 17, 2022. (If you want to hear more than just a song or two here and there, consider some of the best Christmas albums of all time.)
Popularity in Yuletide music, as reported by Billboard, includes songs extending from the 1950s through 2022. Great stars of the past are well-represented – including Frank Sinatra, Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash, and Ray Charles – as are luminaries of our own day, such as Lizzo, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, and of course Justin Bieber (who shows up four times).
Two of the top-selling Christmas songs here – “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and “Do They Know It’s Christmas” – have been controversial in recent years, the former because some people think it advocates date rape, the latter because it is said to engage in racial stereotyping. That hasn’t hurt their popularity, however. “Baby It’s Cold Outside” appears three times on this list, in three different versions, while “Do They Know It’s Christmas” shows up twice, once by the original 1984 Band Aid super-group of stars and again by 1984’s Band Aid 30 lineup.
On a lighter note, there are plenty of novelty numbers here, from “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” to “The Chipmunk Song” by David Seville and the Chipmunks, which appears three times, recharting in different eras. (Here are some more songs that have returned to the Billboard Hot 100.)
Traditionalists will be pleased to see favorites like “Silent Night,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” and “White Christmas” on the list. And there’s even one song here that frankly isn’t about Christmas at all: Adam Sandler’s modern-day classic “The Chanukah Song.”
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