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Jingle All the Way! The 10 Best-Selling Christmas Singles of All Time!

As Noddy Holder screeches: “It’s CHRRRRRRRRRRRRIIIISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSTMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSS!!”

What does that mean for you? A valid excuse to eat the mince pies you have been scoffing since late October? (No? Just me then!) A chance to begin the epic shopping of something special for your “grateful” relatives? A chance to begin the lists that will never be finished: cards, decorations, tree, food, party dress, etc.?

Or best of all, a chance to bust out all those festive tunes that will have you bopping through until the New Year? What is your favorite? Mariah’s “All I Want for Christmas”? “Band Aid”? Or something more classic, like “The Little Drummer Boy”?

There are more records sold in the run up to Christmas than any other typical chart week, and that coveted No. 1 spot is a special goal for any artist. Unless a novelty act beats you to it (or Cliff Richard!), the top spot on the charts was usually held by THE singer/group of that year. However, not all of the biggest-selling Christmas singles have made it to No. 1 (two in the Top 10 peaked at No. 2, and one peaked at No. 5), and not all of the biggest-selling Christmas singles have been Christmas-y (for want of a better word).

Below is a list of the top ten best “Christmas-y” singles of all time, as compiled by The Official Charts Company. But just what is the best-selling Christmas song of ALL time?

Guess!

  • #10: Johnny Mathis, "When a Child Is Born" 1 of 10
    mathis

    American singer Johnny Mathis released this track in 1976, and it hit the top spot in the UK. Mathis' recordings have sold well over 350 million worldwide, and he is the third most successful recording artist in the U.S. Johnny Mathis is the third biggest-selling recording artist of the 20th century, coming only after Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. 

     

    Listen to Johnny Mathis' "When a Child Is Born" on YouTube

     

    Photo credit: Amazon 

  • #9: Cliff Richard, "The Millennium Prayer" 2 of 10
    cliff

    Cliff's "Millennium Prayer" was released in 1999 as a charity single. The song features the UK's national treasure singing the words of the Lord's Prayer to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne." Proceeds of the single went to aid the charity Children's Promise. It never made it to No. 1 at Christmas, even though it had been at No. 1 for the previous two weeks in the UK!   

     

    Listen to Cliff Richard's "The Millenium Prayer" on YouTube

     

    Photo Credit: Amazon  

  • #8: The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl, "Fairytale of New York" 3 of 10
    kirsty

    If there is a better Christmas song, I know not of it. For me, this encompasses everything wonderful about the festive season, yet it nearly never happened! The song was originally planned as a duet by Shane MacGowan and Pogues bassist Cait O'Riordon, but she left the band in 1986 before the song was completed. The Pogues were at the time being produced by Kirsty MacColl's husband Steve Lillywhite, who asked his wife to sing on the demo version of the song. The Pogues liked MacColl's contribution so much that they asked her to sing the part on the actual recording. Sadly, this Irish folk ballad never made it to No. 1 in any country.

     

    Listen to The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York" on YouTube

     

    Photo credit: Amazon 

  • #7: Bing Crosby, "White Christmas" 4 of 10
    bing

    First released in 1942, this classic festive song spent 11 weeks at the top of the Billboard charts. The single returned to the No. 1 spot during the holiday seasons of 1945 and 1946 (on the chart dated January 4, 1947), thus becoming the only single with three separate runs at the top of the U.S. charts! It also won an Oscar!

     

    Listen to Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" on YouTube

     

    Photo Credit: Amazon 

  • #6: Band Aid 20, "Do They Know It’s Christmas?" 5 of 10
    band aid 20

    The 20th anniversary version of the famous Band Aid track is at No. 6 in the countdown, with sales of 1.17 million copies. The hit features Chris Martin, Bono, and Robbie Williams. 

     

    Listen to Band Aid 20's "Do They Know It's Christmas" on YouTube

     

    Photo credit: Amazon 

  • #5: Harry Belafonte, "Mary’s Boy Child" 6 of 10
    harry b

    Three-time Grammy winner, Harry Belafonte, is an American singer, songwriter, actor, and activist. One of the most successful African-American pop stars in history, he is known as the "King of Calypso." Belafonte heard the song being performed by a Schumann's Hollywood Choir and sought permission to record it. It was recorded in 1956 for his album An Evening With Belafonte. An edited version was subsequently released as a single in 1957. 

     

    Listen to Harry Belafonte's "Mary's Boy Child" on YouTube

     

    Photo Credit: Amazon

  • #4: Slade, "Merry Christmas Everybody" 7 of 10
    slade

    This was Slade's 6th No. 1 hit in the UK, and it stayed at the top spot from Christmas 1973 right through until January 1974 — only leaving the Top 30 that February! It beat another Christmas-themed song, Wizzard's "I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day," which reached fourth place. 

     

    Listen to Slade's "Merry Christmas Everybody" on YouTube

     

    Photo Credit: Amazon 

  • #3: Wham, "Last Christmas" 8 of 10
    wham

    Wham was the biggest group in the UK at the time they released this Christmas hit. The duo, made up of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley, released this in 1984 as a double A side, along with "Everything She Wants." It is the biggest selling Christmas song to have never reached No. 1, with sales of $1.68 million.

     

    Listen to Wham's "Last Christmas" on YouTube

     

    Photo Credit: Amazon 

  • #2: Boney M., "Mary’s Boy Child" 9 of 10
    boney M 2

    Boney M was formed in 1975, and the four original members of the group's official line-up were Jamaican-born British singers Liz Mitchel and Marcia Barrett, Maizie Williams from Montserrat, and Bobby Farrell from Aruba. They released "Mary's Boy Child (Oh My Lord)" in the Christmas of 1978 — a cover of Harry Belafonte's 1956 hit — and topped our charts for 4 weeks. The song has been covered by Glee

     

    Listen to Boney M.'s "Mary's Boy Child" on YouTube

     

    Photo credit: Amazon 

  • #1: Band Aid, "Do They Know It’s Christmas?" 10 of 10
    band aid

    I still remember when David Bowie introduced this song in 1984 on UK television. I was blown away at the amazing range of pop stars that Bob Geldof and Midge Ure managed to gather in London to sing on this charity record. It was the first of its kind and touched the nation. The funds raised from its sale were for the tragic Ethiopian famine. Featuring Boy George, U2, George Michael, and Bono, it has sold a staggering 3.7 million copies to date and is the second biggest selling single of all time. It still makes me well up every time I hear it... 

     

    Listen to Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" on YouTube

     

    Photo credit: Amazon

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