Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Christmas music

Christmas music

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Christmas music'
Start a new discussion about 'Christmas music'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Christmas music comprises a variety of genres of music
Music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

 normally performed or heard around the Christmas season, which tends to begin in the months leading up the actual holiday
Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

 and end in the weeks shortly thereafter.

Early


Music was an early feature of the Christmas season and its celebrations. The earliest chant
Chant
Chant is the rhythmic speaking or singing of words or sounds, often primarily on one or two pitches called reciting tones. Chants may range from a simple melody involving a limited set of notes to highly complex musical structures Chant (from French chanter) is the rhythmic speaking or singing...

s, litanies
Litany
A litany, in Christian worship and some forms of Jewish worship, is a form of prayer used in services and processions, and consisting of a number of petitions...

, and hymn
Hymn
A hymn is a type of song, usually religious, specifically written for the purpose of praise, adoration or prayer, and typically addressed to a deity or deities, or to a prominent figure or personification...

s were Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 works intended for use during the church liturgy, rather than popular songs. The 13th century saw the rise of the carol
Christmas carol
A Christmas carol is a carol whose lyrics are on the theme of Christmas or the winter season in general and which are traditionally sung in the period before Christmas.-History:...

 written in the vernacular under the influence of Francis of Assisi
Francis of Assisi
Saint Francis of Assisi was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher. He founded the men's Franciscan Order, the women’s Order of St. Clare, and the lay Third Order of Saint Francis. St...

.

In the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, the English combined circle dances with singing and called them carols. Later, the word carol came to mean a song in which a religious topic is treated in a style that is familiar or festive. From Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, it passed to France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, and later to England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. Christmas carols in English first appear in a 1426 work of John Audelay
John Audelay
John Audelay or Awdelay was a priest and poet from Haughmond Abbey in Shropshire; he is one of the few English poets of the period whose name is known to us. Some of the first Christmas carols recorded in English appear among his works....

, a Shropshire
Shropshire
Shropshire is a county in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes, the county is a NUTS 3 region and is one of four counties or unitary districts that comprise the "Shropshire and Staffordshire" NUTS 2 region. It borders Wales to the west...

 priest and poet, who lists twenty five "caroles of Cristemas", probably sung by groups of wassailers
Wassailing
The tradition of Wassailing falls into two distinct categories: The House-Visiting wassail and the Orchard-Visiting wassail. House-Visiting wassail, very much similar to caroling, is the practice of people going door-to-door singing Christmas carols...

, who went from house to house. Music in itself soon became one of the greatest tributes to Christmas, and Christmas music includes some of the noblest compositions of the great musicians.

Puritan prohibition


During the Commonwealth of England
Commonwealth of England
The Commonwealth of England was the republic which ruled first England, and then Ireland and Scotland from 1649 to 1660. Between 1653–1659 it was known as the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland...

 government under Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell
Oliver Cromwell was an English military and political leader who overthrew the English monarchy and temporarily turned England into a republican Commonwealth, and served as Lord Protector of England, Scotland, and Ireland....

, the Rump Parliament
Rump Parliament
The Rump Parliament is the name of the English Parliament after Colonel Pride purged the Long Parliament on 6 December 1648 of those members hostile to the Grandees' intention to try King Charles I for high treason....

 prohibited the practice of singing Christmas carols as pagan
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

 and sinful. Like other customs associated with popular Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, it earned the disapproval of Protestant Puritans. Famously, Cromwell's interregnum prohibited all celebrations of the Christmas holiday. This attempt to ban the public celebration of Christmas can also be seen in the early history of Father Christmas
Father Christmas
Father Christmas is the name used in many English-speaking countries for a figure associated with Christmas. A similar figure with the same name exists in several other countries, including France , Spain , Brazil , Portugal , Italy , Armenia , India...

.

The Westminster Assembly of Divines established Sunday as the only holy day in the calendar in 1644. The new liturgy produced for the English church recognised this in 1645 and so legally abolished Christmas. Its celebration was declared an offence by Parliament in 1647. There is some debate as to the effectiveness of this ban and whether or not it was enforced in the country.

Puritans generally disapproved of the celebration of Christmas — a trend which has continually resurfaced in Europe and the USA through the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Royal restoration


When in May 1660 Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

 restored the Stuarts to the throne, the people of England once again practised the public singing of Christmas carols as part of the revival of Christmas customs, sanctioned by the king's own celebrations. William B. Sandys
William B. Sandys
William B. Sandys , was an English solicitor, member of the Percy Society, fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, and remembered for his publication Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern , a collection of seasonal carols that Sandys had gathered and also apparently improvised...

's Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern (1833), contained the first appearance in print of many now-classic English carols, and contributed to the mid-Victorian revival of the holiday. Singing carols in church was instituted on Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve refers to the evening or entire day preceding Christmas Day, a widely celebrated festival commemorating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth that takes place on December 25...

 1880 (Nine Lessons and Carols
Nine Lessons and Carols
The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is a format for a service of Christian worship celebrating the birth of Jesus that is traditionally followed at Christmas...

) in Truro Cathedral
Truro Cathedral
The Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Truro is an Anglican cathedral located in the city of Truro, Cornwall, in the United Kingdom. It was built in the Gothic Revival architectural style fashionable during much of the nineteenth century, and is one of only three cathedrals in the United Kingdom...

, Cornwall
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

, England, which is now seen in churches all over the world.

Alms


The tradition of singing Christmas carols in return for alms or charity began in England in the seventeenth century after the Restoration
English Restoration
The Restoration of the English monarchy began in 1660 when the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II after the Interregnum that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms...

. Town musicians or 'waits' were licensed to collect money in the streets in the weeks preceding Christmas, the custom spread throughout the population by the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries up to the present day. Also from the seventeenth century, there was the English custom, predominantly involving women, of taking a 'wassail bowl' round their neighbours to solicit gifts, accompanied by carols. Despite this long history, almost all surviving Christmas carols date only from the nineteenth century onwards, with the exception of some traditional folk songs such as; 'God Rest You Merry Gentlemen', 'As I Sat on a Sunny Bank' and 'The Holly and the Ivy'
The Holly and the Ivy
"The Holly and the Ivy" is an English traditional Christmas carol. The carol contains intermingled Christian and Pagan imagery, with holly and ivy representing Pagan fertility symbols. Holly and ivy have been the mainstay of Christmas decoration for church use since at least the fifteenth and...

.

Church feast


The status of Christmas as an important feast within the church year also means there is a long tradition of music specially composed for celebrating the season. The following is a brief and non-exhaustive list of notable compositions:
  • Thomas Tallis
    Thomas Tallis
    Thomas Tallis was an English composer. Tallis flourished as a church musician in 16th century Tudor England. He occupies a primary place in anthologies of English church music, and is considered among the best of England's early composers. He is honoured for his original voice in English...

    : Mass "Puer natus est nobis" (1554)
  • Heinrich Schütz
    Heinrich Schütz
    Heinrich Schütz was a German composer and organist, generally regarded as the most important German composer before Johann Sebastian Bach and often considered to be one of the most important composers of the 17th century along with Claudio Monteverdi...

    : Weihnachtshistorie (1664)
  • Marc-Antoine Charpentier
    Marc-Antoine Charpentier
    Marc-Antoine Charpentier, , was a French composer of the Baroque era.Exceptionally prolific and versatile, he produced compositions of the highest quality in several genres...

    : Pastorale sur la naissance de N.S. Jésus-Christ (c. 1670)
  • Johann Sebastian Bach
    Johann Sebastian Bach
    Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

    : several cantata
    Bach cantata
    Bach cantata became a term for a cantata of the German Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach who was a prolific writer of the genre. Although many of his works are lost, around 200 cantatas survived....

    s for Christmas to Epiphany and Christmas Oratorio
    Christmas Oratorio
    The Christmas Oratorio BWV 248, is an oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach intended for performance in church during the Christmas season. It was written for the Christmas season of 1734 incorporating music from earlier compositions, including three secular cantatas written during 1733 and 1734 and a...

    (1734)
  • George Frideric Handel
    George Frideric Handel
    George Frideric Handel was a German-British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Handel was born in 1685, in a family indifferent to music...

    : Messiah
    Messiah (Handel)
    Messiah is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742, and received its London premiere nearly a year later...

    (1741)
Messiah has become inextricably linked with the Christmas season, especially in England. This is in part due to the efforts of amateur choral societies during the nineteenth century. When it was composed, it was performed during Passiontide
Passiontide
Passiontide is a name for the last two weeks of Lent, beginning on Passion Sunday and ending on Holy Saturday....

.
  • Jakub Jan Ryba
    Jakub Jan Ryba
    Jakub Šimon Jan Ryba was a Czech teacher and composer of classical music. His most famous work is Czech Christmas Mass "Hey, Master!" ....

    : Czech Christmas Mass "Hey, Master!" (1796)
  • Various 18th century composers such as Arcangelo Corelli
    Arcangelo Corelli
    Arcangelo Corelli was an Italian violinist and composer of Baroque music.-Biography:Corelli was born at Fusignano, in the current-day province of Ravenna, although at the time it was in the province of Ferrara. Little is known about his early life...

    , Antonio Vivaldi
    Antonio Vivaldi
    Antonio Lucio Vivaldi , nicknamed because of his red hair, was an Italian Baroque composer, priest, and virtuoso violinist, born in Venice. Vivaldi is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread over Europe...

    , Giuseppe Torelli & others: Christmas Concertos (for performance on Christmas Eve)
  • Hector Berlioz
    Hector Berlioz
    Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts . Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works; as a...

    : L'enfance du Christ
    L'enfance du Christ
    L'enfance du Christ , Opus 25, is an oratorio by the French composer Hector Berlioz, based on the Holy Family's flight into Egypt. Berlioz wrote his own words for the piece. Most of it was composed in 1853 and 1854, but it also incorporates an earlier work La fuite en Egypte...

    (1853–4)
  • Camille Saint-Saëns
    Camille Saint-Saëns
    Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns was a French Late-Romantic composer, organist, conductor, and pianist. He is known especially for The Carnival of the Animals, Danse macabre, Samson and Delilah, Piano Concerto No. 2, Cello Concerto No. 1, Havanaise, Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, and his Symphony...

    : Oratorio de Noël
    Oratorio de Noël
    The Oratorio de Noël, Opus 12, by Camille Saint-Saëns, also known as Christmas Oratorio, "in dimensions hardly exceeds the limits of a cantata, but musically is constructed in oratorio style." "The Christmas Oratorio of Saint-Saens [sic] is a delightful substitute for endless Messiah performances."...

    (1858)
  • Benjamin Britten
    Benjamin Britten
    Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten, OM CH was an English composer, conductor, and pianist. He showed talent from an early age, and first came to public attention with the a cappella choral work A Boy Was Born in 1934. With the premiere of his opera Peter Grimes in 1945, he leapt to...

    : A Ceremony of Carols
    A Ceremony of Carols
    A Ceremony of Carols, Op. 28, is a choral piece by Benjamin Britten, scored for three-part treble chorus, solo voices, and harp. Written for Christmas, it consists of eleven movements, with text from The English Galaxy of Shorter Poems, by Gerald Bullett; it is in Middle English...

    (1942)

'Christmas creep'



In the United States the playing of Christmas music had generally begun after the Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Day is a holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Thanksgiving is celebrated each year on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. In Canada, Thanksgiving falls on the same day as Columbus Day in the...

 holidays, at which point Christmas decorations in stores and on streets would also appear, but in recent decades the music and related decor have been appearing increasingly early. This tendency for the length of the Christmas and holiday season to grow is referred to as 'Christmas creep
Christmas creep
Christmas creep is a merchandising phenomenon in which merchants and retailers exploit the commercialized status of Christmas by moving up the start of the holiday shopping season. The term was first used in the mid 1980s...

'. Given the importance of the seasonal gift-giving to the U.S. economy, one driven largely by consumer spending, and with the music industry making at least 40 percent of its annual revenue in the fourth quarter culminating at Christmas, demands for increased revenues motivates the shift. Christmas music best serenades these shopping months, injecting the Christmas spirit and putting shoppers into the proper mood for buying gifts.

Radio station
Radio station
Radio broadcasting is a one-way wireless transmission over radio waves intended to reach a wide audience. Stations can be linked in radio networks to broadcast a common radio format, either in broadcast syndication or simulcast or both...

s—responsible for so much of Christmas music broadcasting, popularization, and appreciation—are "going Christmas earlier and earlier", even the day after Halloween
Halloween
Hallowe'en , also known as Halloween or All Hallows' Eve, is a yearly holiday observed around the world on October 31, the night before All Saints' Day...

, because executives "think that listeners will stick with the first station to change to a seasonal theme." About 400 radio stations "across the United States play Christmas music around the clock." In Chicago, WLIT-FM saw its share of all radio listeners grow from a 2.9/3.6 share earlier in the year to 9.3 during the Nov. 28 to Dec. 11, 2003 Arbitron rating period. A 2002 Arbitron ratings study confirmed holiday-music surges at stations around the country.

Traditional Christmas carols


Songs which are traditional, even some without a specific religious context, are often called Christmas carol
Christmas carol
A Christmas carol is a carol whose lyrics are on the theme of Christmas or the winter season in general and which are traditionally sung in the period before Christmas.-History:...

s. Each of these has a rich history, some dating back many centuries. A standard set of these traditional carols might include:
  • "Angels We Have Heard on High
    Angels We Have Heard on High
    "Angels We Have Heard on High" is a Christmas carol. The song commemorates the story of the birth of Jesus Christ found in the Gospel of Luke, in which shepherds outside Bethlehem encounter a multitude of angels singing and praising the newborn child....

    "
  • "Away in a Manger
    Away in a Manger
    "Away in a Manger" is a Christmas carol first published in 1885 in Philadelphia and used widely throughout the English-speaking world. In Britain it is one of the most popular carols, a 1996 Gallup Poll ranking it joint second.-History of the lyrics:...

    "
  • "Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella
    Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella
    "Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabelle" is a Christmas carol which originated from the Provence region of France in the 16th century. The song is usually notated in 3/8 time....

    "
  • "Coventry Carol
    Coventry Carol
    The "Coventry Carol" is a Christmas carol dating from the 16th century. The carol was performed in Coventry in England as part of a mystery play called The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors. The play depicts the Christmas story from chapter two in the Gospel of Matthew...

    "
  • "Deck the Halls" (Deck the Hall)
  • "Ding Dong Merrily on High
    Ding Dong Merrily on High
    "Ding Dong Merrily on High" is a Christmas carol. The tune first appeared as a secular dance tune known as "le branle de l'Official" in Orchésographie, a dance book written by Jehan Tabourot...

    "
  • "The First Nowell" (The First Noël)
  • "Gabriel's Message
    Gabriel's Message
    "Gabriel's Message" or "The angel Gabriel from heaven came" is a Basque Christmas folk carol about the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary by the archangel Gabriel that she would become the mother of Jesus Christ the Son of God...

    "
  • "Go Tell It on the Mountain
    Go Tell It on the Mountain (song)
    "Go Tell It on the Mountain" is an African-American spiritual song, compiled by John Wesley Work, Jr., dating back to at least 1865, that has been sung and recorded by many gospel and secular performers...

    "
  • "God rest you merry, gentlemen" (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen)
  • "Good King Wenceslas
    Good King Wenceslas
    "Good King Wenceslas" is a popular Christmas carol about a king who goes out to give alms to a poor peasant on the Feast of Stephen . During the journey, his page is about to give up the struggle against the cold weather, but is enabled to continue by following the king's footprints, step for step,...

    "
  • "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
    Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
    “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” is a Christmas carol that first appeared in 1739 in the collection Hymns and Sacred Poems, having been written by Charles Wesley. This is not the version widely known today. A sombre man, Wesley had requested and received slow and solemn music for his lyrics, not the...

    "
  • "Here We Come A-Wassailing
    Here We Come A-Wassailing
    Here We Come A-wassailing is an English traditional Christmas carol and New Years song, apparently composed c. 1850...

    "
  • "The Holly and the Ivy
    The Holly and the Ivy
    "The Holly and the Ivy" is an English traditional Christmas carol. The carol contains intermingled Christian and Pagan imagery, with holly and ivy representing Pagan fertility symbols. Holly and ivy have been the mainstay of Christmas decoration for church use since at least the fifteenth and...

    "
  • "I Saw Three Ships
    I Saw Three Ships
    "I Saw Three Ships " is a traditional and popular Christmas carol from England. A variant of its parent tune "Greensleeves", the earliest printed version of "I Saw Three Ships" is from the 17th century, possibly Derbyshire, and was also published by William B. Sandys in 1833...

    "
  • "I Wonder as I Wander
    I Wonder As I Wander
    "I Wonder as I Wander" is a Christmas carol written by John Jacob Niles. The carol has its origins in a song fragment collected on July 16, 1933 by folklorist and singer John Jacob Niles....

    "
  • "In dulci jubilo
    In Dulci Jubilo
    In dulci jubilo is a traditional Christmas carol. In its original setting, the carol is a macaronic text of German and Latin dating from the Middle Ages. Subsequent translations into English, such as J.M...

    "
  • "In the Bleak Midwinter
    In the Bleak Midwinter
    "In the Bleak Midwinter" is a Christmas carol based on a poem by the English poet Christina Rossetti written before 1872 in response to a request from the magazine Scribner's Monthly for a Christmas poem....

    "
  • "It Came upon the Midnight Clear"
  • "Joy to the World
    Joy to the World
    "Joy to the World" is a Christian Christmas carol.The words are by English hymn writer Isaac Watts, based on Psalm 98 in the Bible. The song was first published in 1719 in Watts' collection; The Psalms of David: Imitated in the language of the New Testament, and applied to the Christian state and...

    "
  • "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming
    Es ist ein Ros entsprungen
    "Es ist ein Ros entsprungen" , most commonly translated to English as "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming" or "A Spotless Rose", is a Christmas carol and Marian Hymn of German origin.-History:...

    "
  • "O Come All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles
    Adeste Fideles
    "Adeste Fideles" is a hymn tune attributed to English hymnist John Francis Wade . The text itself has unclear beginnings, and may have been written in the 13th century by John of Reading, though it has been concluded that Wade was probably the author.The original four verses of the hymn were...

    )"
  • "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
    O come, O come, Emmanuel
    O come, O come, Emmanuel is a translation of the Latin text by John Mason Neale and Henry Sloane Coffin in the mid-19th century. It is a metrical version of a collation of various Advent Antiphons , which now serves as a popular Advent hymn...

    "
  • "O Holy Night (Cantique de Noel)"
  • "O Little Town of Bethlehem
    O Little Town of Bethlehem
    "O Little Town of Bethlehem" is a popular Christmas carol. The text was written by Phillips Brooks , an Episcopal priest, Rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Philadelphia. He was inspired by visiting the Palestinian city of Bethlehem in 1865. Three years later, he wrote the poem for his...

    "
  • "Once in Royal David's City
    Once In Royal David's City
    Once In Royal David's City is a Christmas carol originally written as poem by Cecil Frances Alexander. The carol was first published in 1848 in Miss Cecil Humphreys' hymnbook Hymns for little Children. A year later, the English organist Henry John Gauntlett discovered the poem and set it to music...

    "
  • "See, Amid the Winter's Snow
    See, Amid The Winter's Snow
    "See, Amid The Winter's Snow", also known as "Hymn For Christmas Day", is a Christmas carol. It was written by Edward Caswall , with music composed by Sir John Goss ....

    "
  • "Silent Night
    Silent Night
    "Silent Night" is a popular Christmas carol. The original lyrics of the song "Stille Nacht" were written in Oberndorf bei Salzburg, Austria, by the priest Father Joseph Mohr and the melody was composed by the Austrian headmaster Franz Xaver Gruber...

    "
  • "Sussex Carol
    Sussex Carol
    The Sussex Carol is a Christmas carol popular in Britain, sometimes referred to by its first line On Christmas night all Christians sing. Its words were first published by Luke Wadding, a 17th-century Irish bishop, in a work called Small Garland of Pious and Godly Songs...

     (On Christmas Night)"
  • "The Twelve Days of Christmas
    The Twelve Days of Christmas (song)
    "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is an English Christmas carol that enumerates a series of increasingly grand gifts given on each of the twelve days of Christmas. Although first published in England in 1780, textual evidence may indicate the song is French in origin...

    "
  • "Up on the House Top
    Up on the House Top
    "Up on the House Top" is a Christmas song written by Benjamin Hanby in 1864 in the town of New Paris, Ohio.. It has been recorded by a multitude of singers, among the most notable Gene Autry, who is also known for his version of the classic "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer".-History:According to...

    "
  • "We Three Kings
    We Three Kings
    "We Three Kings", also known as "We Three Kings of Orient Are" or "The Quest of the Magi", is a Christmas carol written by the Reverend John Henry Hopkins, Jr., who wrote both the lyrics and the music. It is suggested to have been written in 1857 but did not appear in print until his Carols, Hymns...

     of Orient Are"
  • "We Wish You a Merry Christmas
    We Wish You a Merry Christmas
    "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" is a popular secular sixteenth-century English carol from the West Country of England. The origin of this Christmas carol lies in the English tradition where wealthy people of the community gave Christmas treats to the carolers on Christmas Eve such as 'figgy...

    "
  • "Wexford Carol
    Wexford Carol
    The Wexford Carol is a traditional religious Irish Christmas carol originating from County Wexford, and specifically, Enniscorthy , and dating to the 12th century. The subject of the song is that of the nativity of Jesus Christ....

    "
  • "What Child Is This"
  • "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks
    While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks
    "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks" is a Christmas carol describing the Annunciation to the Shepherds, with words attributed to Irish hymnist, lyricist and England's Poet Laureate, Nahum Tate....

    "

Popular Christmas songs



More recently popular Christmas songs, often introduced through film
Christmas songs introduced in theater, television, and film
Many popular Christmas songs have been introduced in theater, television, and film. These include:* "All I Want For Christmas Is You" – by Olivia Olsen from the film Love Actually....

 or other entertainment medium, are specifically about Christmas
Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

, but are typically not overtly religious and therefore do not qualify as Christmas carol
Christmas carol
A Christmas carol is a carol whose lyrics are on the theme of Christmas or the winter season in general and which are traditionally sung in the period before Christmas.-History:...

s. The archetypal example is 1942’s “White Christmas
White Christmas (song)
"White Christmas" is an Irving Berlin song reminiscing about an old-fashioned Christmas setting. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the version sung by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single of all time, with estimated sales in excess of 50 million copies worldwide.Accounts vary as...

”, although many other holiday songs have become perennial favorites in the United States, such as Gene Autry
Gene Autry
Orvon Grover Autry , better known as Gene Autry, was an American performer who gained fame as The Singing Cowboy on the radio, in movies and on television for more than three decades beginning in the 1930s...

’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer is a fictional reindeer with a glowing red nose. He is popularly known as "Santa's 9th Reindeer" and, when depicted, is the lead reindeer pulling Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve. The luminosity of his nose is so great that it illuminates the team's path through...

”.

Most-performed Christmas songs (USA)


According to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers in 2006, the following are the Top 25 most-performed "holiday" songs written by ASCAP members, for the first five years of the 21st century: (tracking plays in the U.S. only, and in order of number of plays)
  1. "The Christmas Song
    The Christmas Song
    "The Christmas Song" is a classic Christmas song written in 1944 by musician, composer, and vocalist Mel Tormé and Bob Wells. According to Tormé, the song was written during a blistering hot summer...

    " (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) – Mel Tormé
    Mel Tormé
    Melvin Howard Tormé , nicknamed The Velvet Fog, was an American musician, known for his jazz singing. He was also a jazz composer and arranger, a drummer, an actor in radio, film, and television, and the author of five books...

    , Robert Wells
  2. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
    Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
    "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is a song introduced by Judy Garland in the 1944 MGM musical Meet Me in St. Louis. Frank Sinatra later recorded a version with modified lyrics, which has become more common than the original. The song was written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane...

    " – Ralph Blane
    Ralph Blane
    Ralph Blane was an American composer, lyricist, and performer.-Life and career:Born Ralph Uriah Hunsecker in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, Blane was the son of grocery store owners. He attended Tulsa Central High School...

    , Hugh Martin
    Hugh Martin
    Hugh Martin was an American musical theater and film composer, arranger, vocal coach, and playwright. He is best known for his score for the 1944 MGM musical Meet Me In St...

  3. "Winter Wonderland
    Winter Wonderland
    "Winter Wonderland" is a winter song, popularly treated as a Christmastime pop standard, written in 1934 by Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith . Through the decades it has been recorded by over 150 different artists.-History:...

    " – Felix Bernard
    Felix Bernard
    Felix Bernard was an American conductor, pianist and a composer of popular music. His writing credits include the popular songs Winter Wonderland and Dardanella.-Biography:...

    , Richard B. Smith
    Richard B. Smith
    Richard B. Smith wrote the lyrics to the popular song Winter Wonderland, which was composed by Felix Bernard. Smith was born in Pennsylvania, and was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1931. He succumbed to the disease on September 28, 1935....

  4. "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
    Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
    "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" is a Christmas song. It was written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie, and was first sung on Eddie Cantor's radio show in November 1934....

    " – J. Fred Coots
    J. Fred Coots
    John Frederick Coots was an American songwriter. He wrote over 700 songs.He is most famous for the song "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town", a song that became one of the biggest best sellers in American music history....

    , Haven Gillespie
    Haven Gillespie
    James Lamont "Haven" Gillespie was an American Tin Pan Alley composer and lyricist. He was the writer of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" as well as "You Go to My Head", "Honey", "By the Sycamore Tree", "That Lucky Old Sun", "Breezin' Along With The Breeze", "Right or Wrong," "Beautiful Love",...

  5. "White Christmas
    White Christmas (song)
    "White Christmas" is an Irving Berlin song reminiscing about an old-fashioned Christmas setting. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the version sung by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single of all time, with estimated sales in excess of 50 million copies worldwide.Accounts vary as...

    " – Irving Berlin
    Irving Berlin
    Irving Berlin was an American composer and lyricist of Jewish heritage, widely considered one of the greatest songwriters in American history.His first hit song, "Alexander's Ragtime Band", became world famous...

  6. "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" – Sammy Cahn
    Sammy Cahn
    Sammy Cahn was an American lyricist, songwriter and musician. He is best known for his romantic lyrics to films and Broadway songs, as well as stand-alone songs premiered by recording companies in the Greater Los Angeles Area...

    , Jule Styne
  7. "Jingle Bell Rock
    Jingle Bell Rock
    "Jingle Bell Rock" is the name of a popular Christmas song first released by Bobby Helms in 1957. It has received frequent airplay in the United States during every Christmas time since then. "Jingle Bell Rock" was composed by Joseph Carleton Beal , and James Ross Boothe...

    " – Joseph Carleton Beal, James Ross Boothe
  8. "The Little Drummer Boy" – Katherine K. Davis
    Katherine K. Davis
    Katherine Kennicott Davis was a composer, pianist, and author of the famous Christmas tune "The Little Drummer Boy".-Biography:...

    , Henry V. Onorati, Harry Simeone
    Harry Simeone
    Harry Moses Simeone was a distinguished music arranger, conductor and composer, best known for arranging the famous Christmas song "The Little Drummer Boy", for which he received co-writing credit.-Early years:Harry grew up listening to stars performing at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City,...

  9. "Sleigh Ride
    Sleigh Ride
    "Sleigh Ride" is a popular light orchestral piece composed by Leroy Anderson. The composer had the original idea for the piece during a heat wave in July 1946; he finished the work in February 1948. Lyrics, about a person who would like to ride in a sleigh on a winter's day with another person,...

    " – Leroy Anderson
    Leroy Anderson
    Leroy Anderson was an American composer of short, light concert pieces, many of which were introduced by the Boston Pops Orchestra under the direction of Arthur Fiedler...

    , Mitchell Parish
  10. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
    Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
    Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer is a fictional reindeer with a glowing red nose. He is popularly known as "Santa's 9th Reindeer" and, when depicted, is the lead reindeer pulling Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve. The luminosity of his nose is so great that it illuminates the team's path through...

    " – Johnny Marks
    Johnny Marks
    Johnny Marks was an American songwriter. Although he was Jewish, he specialized in Christmas songs and wrote many standards, including "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" , "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" , "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" , and "A Holly...

  11. "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
    It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
    "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" is a popular Christmas song written in 1963 by Edward Pola and George Wyle. It was recorded and released that year by pop singer Andy Williams for his first Christmas album, The Andy Williams Christmas Album...

    " – Edward Pola, George Wyle
  12. "I'll Be Home for Christmas" – Walter Kent, Kim Gannon, Buck Ram
  13. "Silver Bells" – Jay Livingston
    Jay Livingston
    Jay Livingston was an American composer and singer best known as half of a songwriting duo with Ray Evans that specialized in songs composed for films. Livingston wrote the music and Evans the lyrics....

    , Ray Evans
    Ray Evans
    Raymond Bernard Evans was an American songwriter. He was a partner in a composing and songwriting duo with Jay Livingston, known for the songs they composed for films...

  14. "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
    Rockin' around the Christmas Tree
    "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" is a Christmas song written by Johnny Marks and recorded by Brenda Lee in 1958 on Decca 9-30776.-Background:...

    " – Johnny Marks
    Johnny Marks
    Johnny Marks was an American songwriter. Although he was Jewish, he specialized in Christmas songs and wrote many standards, including "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" , "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" , "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" , and "A Holly...

  15. "Feliz Navidad
    Feliz Navidad (song)
    "Feliz Navidad" is a Christmas song written in 1970 by the Puerto Rican singer-songwriter José Feliciano. With its simple Spanish chorus "Feliz Navidad" is a Christmas song written in 1970 by the Puerto Rican singer-songwriter José Feliciano. With its simple Spanish chorus "Feliz Navidad" is a...

    " – José Feliciano
    José Feliciano
    José Feliciano is a Puerto Rican singer, virtuoso guitarist and composer known for many international hits including the 1970 holiday single "Feliz Navidad".-Childhood:...

  16. "Blue Christmas
    Blue Christmas
    "Blue Christmas" is a Christmas song written by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson. The heart-broken tale of unrequited love during the holidays had long been considered a Christmas staple of country music, having been recorded first by Doye O'Dell in 1948 and popularised by Ernest Tubb the next year...

    " – Billy Hayes, Jay W. Johnson
  17. "Frosty the Snowman
    Frosty the Snowman
    "Frosty the Snowman" is a popular song written by Walter "Jack" Rollins and Steve Nelson, and first recorded by Gene Autry and the Cass County Boys in 1950. It was written after the success of Autry's recording of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" the previous year; Rollins and Nelson shipped the...

    " – Steve Nelson, Walter E. Rollins
  18. "A Holly Jolly Christmas" – Johnny Marks
    Johnny Marks
    Johnny Marks was an American songwriter. Although he was Jewish, he specialized in Christmas songs and wrote many standards, including "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" , "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" , "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" , and "A Holly...

  19. "It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas
    It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
    "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" is a classic Christmas song written in 1951 by Meredith Willson. The song was originally titled "It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas"...

    " – Meredith Willson
  20. "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
    I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
    "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" is an American Christmas song with music and lyrics by Tommie Connor.The original recording by Jimmy Boyd on 15 July 1952 when he was 13 reached #1 on the Billboard charts in December 1952, and on the Cash Box chart at the beginning of the following year...

    " – Tommie Connor
    Tommie Connor
    Tommie Connor was a British songwriter, credited with several hit songs over his long career. Most notable among these was "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus", which has been recorded by many artists, including the Jackson 5 and is among the top 25 Christmas music songs...

  21. "Here Comes Santa Claus
    Here Comes Santa Claus
    "Here Comes Santa Claus " is a Christmas song written by Gene Autry and Oakley Haldeman.Autry got the idea for the song after riding his horse in the 1946 Santa Claus Lane Parade in Los Angeles, during which crowds of spectators chanted, "Here comes Santa Claus". This inspired him to write a song...

    " (Right Down Santa Claus Lane) – Gene Autry
    Gene Autry
    Orvon Grover Autry , better known as Gene Autry, was an American performer who gained fame as The Singing Cowboy on the radio, in movies and on television for more than three decades beginning in the 1930s...

    , Oakley Haldeman
  22. "Carol of the Bells
    Carol of the Bells
    "Carol of the Bells" is the common English language title of a Christmas carol of Ukrainian origin, which has in recent years grown in popularity, particularly in English-speaking countries. The work was originally a choral miniature composition by the Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych based on...

    " – Peter J. Wilhousky, Mykola D. Leontovych
  23. "Do They Know It's Christmas? (Feed the World)
    Do They Know It's Christmas?
    "Do They Know It's Christmas?" is a song written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in 1984 to raise money for relief of the 1984–1985 famine in Ethiopia. The original version was produced by Midge Ure and released by Band Aid on 29 November 1984....

     — Midge Ure, Bob Geldof
    Bob Geldof
    Robert Frederick Zenon "Bob" Geldof, KBE is an Irish singer, songwriter, author, occasional actor and political activist. He rose to prominence as the lead singer of the Irish rock band The Boomtown Rats in the late 1970s and early 1980s alongside the punk rock movement. The band had hits with his...

  24. "(There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays
    Home for the Holidays (song)
    " Home for the Holidays" is a popular song, commonly associated with the Christmas season although the lyrics are more applicable to the Thanksgiving holidays....

    " – Bob Allen
    Robert Allen (musicwriter)
    Robert Allen Deitcher was a pianist and an arranger and writer of music for popular songs.He was born in Troy, New York and had 4 children: a son, Gordon, and 3 daughters, Pamela, Diana, Katie....

    , Al Stillman
    Al Stillman
    Al Stillman was an American lyricist.-Biography:Stillman was born in New York City. His name was originally Albert Silverman, but changed it to that of a well-known New York banking family. He was Jewish. He attended New York University. After graduation, he contributed to Franklin P...

  25. "Santa Baby
    Santa Baby
    "Santa Baby" is a 1953 Christmas song written by Joan Javits and Philip Springer. Although Tony Springer is listed as co-writer, he was a legal fiction created for purposes of membership in the performing rights organization BMI.The song is a tongue-in-cheek look at a Christmas list sung by a...

    " – Joan Ellen Javits, Philip Springer, Tony Springer, and Fred Ebb
    Fred Ebb
    Fred Ebb was an American musical theatre lyricist who had many successful collaborations with composer John Kander. The Kander and Ebb team frequently wrote for such performers as Liza Minnelli and Chita Rivera....



Of these, the oldest songs are "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
"Santa Claus is Coming to Town" is a Christmas song. It was written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie, and was first sung on Eddie Cantor's radio show in November 1934....

" and "Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland
"Winter Wonderland" is a winter song, popularly treated as a Christmastime pop standard, written in 1934 by Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith . Through the decades it has been recorded by over 150 different artists.-History:...

" which were both published in 1934. Do They Know It's Christmas? (Feed the World)
Do They Know It's Christmas?
"Do They Know It's Christmas?" is a song written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in 1984 to raise money for relief of the 1984–1985 famine in Ethiopia. The original version was produced by Midge Ure and released by Band Aid on 29 November 1984....

 by Midge Ure and Bob Geldof
Bob Geldof
Robert Frederick Zenon "Bob" Geldof, KBE is an Irish singer, songwriter, author, occasional actor and political activist. He rose to prominence as the lead singer of the Irish rock band The Boomtown Rats in the late 1970s and early 1980s alongside the punk rock movement. The band had hits with his...

 is new to the list: "Recorded in 1984 by Band Aid — an all-star band of British musicians — this benefit single assisted famine relief efforts in Ethiopia, and sold millions of copies over the '84 holiday season." Songs introduced through motion pictures
Christmas songs introduced in theater, television, and film
Many popular Christmas songs have been introduced in theater, television, and film. These include:* "All I Want For Christmas Is You" – by Olivia Olsen from the film Love Actually....

 in the top 25 are: "White Christmas
White Christmas (song)
"White Christmas" is an Irving Berlin song reminiscing about an old-fashioned Christmas setting. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the version sung by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single of all time, with estimated sales in excess of 50 million copies worldwide.Accounts vary as...

" from Holiday Inn
Holiday Inn (film)
Holiday Inn is a 1942 American musical film starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, with music by Irving Berlin. The film has twelve songs written expressly for the film, the most notable being "White Christmas"...

 (1942), "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" is a song introduced by Judy Garland in the 1944 MGM musical Meet Me in St. Louis. Frank Sinatra later recorded a version with modified lyrics, which has become more common than the original. The song was written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane...

" from Meet Me in St. Louis
Meet Me in St. Louis
Meet Me in St. Louis is a 1944 musical film from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer which tells the story of an American family living in St. Louis at the time of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition World's Fair in 1904...

 (1944), and "Silver Bells" in The Lemon Drop Kid
The Lemon Drop Kid
The Lemon Drop Kid is a 1951 comedy film based on the short story of the same name by Damon Runyon, starring Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell, and directed by Sidney Lanfield.The song "Silver Bells," sung by Hope and Maxwell, was introduced in the film...

 (1950).

Johnny Marks
Johnny Marks
Johnny Marks was an American songwriter. Although he was Jewish, he specialized in Christmas songs and wrote many standards, including "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" , "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" , "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" , and "A Holly...

 has three top Christmas songs, the most for any writer—"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer is a fictional reindeer with a glowing red nose. He is popularly known as "Santa's 9th Reindeer" and, when depicted, is the lead reindeer pulling Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve. The luminosity of his nose is so great that it illuminates the team's path through...

", "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
Rockin' around the Christmas Tree
"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" is a Christmas song written by Johnny Marks and recorded by Brenda Lee in 1958 on Decca 9-30776.-Background:...

", and "A Holly Jolly Christmas". By far the most recorded Christmas song is "White Christmas
White Christmas
A white Christmas refers to the presence of snow on Christmas Day. This phenomenon is most common in the northern countries of the Northern Hemisphere...

" with well over 500 versions in dozens of languages.

While the ASCAP list is relatively popular in the United Kingdom and Ireland, it remains largely overshadowed by a collection of chart hits recorded in a bid to be crowned the UK Christmas number one single during the 1970s and 1980s. According to a 2007 poll, the UK's most popular Christmas song is Merry Xmas Everybody
Merry Xmas Everybody
"Merry Xmas Everybody" is a 1973 song by the English rock band Slade. Written by lead vocalist and guitarist Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea, and produced by Chas Chandler, it was the band's sixth number-one single in the UK...

 by Slade
Slade
Slade are an English rock band from Wolverhampton, who rose to prominence during the glam rock era of the early 1970s. With 17 consecutive Top 20 hits and six number ones, the British Hit Singles & Albums names them as the most successful British group of the 1970s based on sales of singles...

, a band that was popular in the 1970s.

Most played Christmas Songs (UK)


The top ten most played Christmas songs in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 based on a 2010 survey conducted by PRS for Music, who collect and pay royalties to its 75,000 song-writing and composing members, are as follows:
  1. "All I Want for Christmas Is You" – Mariah Carey
    Mariah Carey
    Mariah Carey is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and actress. She made her recording debut with the release of her eponymous studio album in 1990, under the guidance of Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola, whom she later married in 1993...

  2. "Last Christmas
    Last Christmas
    "Last Christmas" is a song by British pop duo Wham!, released on Epic Records in 1984, on a double A-side with "Everything She Wants". It was written by George Michael, one half of the duo...

    " – Wham!
    WHAM!
    Wham! were a short-lived British musical duo formed by George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley in the early 1980s. They were briefly known in the United States as Wham! UK due to a naming conflict with an American band....

  3. "Fairytale of New York
    Fairytale of New York
    "Fairytale of New York" is a song by the Irish rock group The Pogues, released in 1987 and featuring the British singer Kirsty MacColl. The song is an Irish folk style ballad, written by Jem Finer and Shane MacGowan, and featured on The Pogues' album If I Should Fall from Grace with God...

    " – The Pogues
    The Pogues
    The Pogues are a Celtic punk band, formed in 1982 and fronted by Shane MacGowan. The band reached international prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. MacGowan left the band in 1991 due to drinking problems but the band continued first with Joe Strummer and then with Spider Stacy on vocals before...

     with Kirsty MacColl
    Kirsty MacColl
    Kirsty Anna MacColl was an English singer-songwriter.MacColl scored several pop hits from the early 1980s to the early 1990s...

  4. "Do They Know It’s Christmas?" – Band Aid
    Band Aid (band)
    Band Aid was a charity supergroup featuring British and Irish musicians and recording artists. It was founded in 1984 by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia by releasing the song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" for the Christmas market that year. The single...

  5. "Merry Xmas Everybody
    Merry Xmas Everybody
    "Merry Xmas Everybody" is a 1973 song by the English rock band Slade. Written by lead vocalist and guitarist Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea, and produced by Chas Chandler, it was the band's sixth number-one single in the UK...

    " - Slade
    Slade
    Slade are an English rock band from Wolverhampton, who rose to prominence during the glam rock era of the early 1970s. With 17 consecutive Top 20 hits and six number ones, the British Hit Singles & Albums names them as the most successful British group of the 1970s based on sales of singles...

  6. "White Christmas
    White Christmas
    A white Christmas refers to the presence of snow on Christmas Day. This phenomenon is most common in the northern countries of the Northern Hemisphere...

    " - Louis Armstrong
    Louis Armstrong
    Louis Armstrong , nicknamed Satchmo or Pops, was an American jazz trumpeter and singer from New Orleans, Louisiana....

  7. "Driving Home for Christmas
    Driving Home for Christmas
    "Driving Home for Christmas" is a single written by Chris Rea and released in December 1988 as a non-album single. The song peaked at #53 in the UK Single Chart in 1988, and re-entered the chart in 2007, peaking at #33. In 2000, Michael Ball released a version of the song for the album Christmas...

    " – Chris Rea
    Chris Rea
    Chris Rea is an English singer-songwriter, recognisable for his distinctive, husky voice and slide guitar playing. The British Hit Singles & Albums stated that Rea was "one of the most popular UK singer-songwriters of the late 1980s. He was already a major European star by the time he finally...

  8. "Merry Christmas Everyone
    Merry Christmas Everyone
    "Merry Christmas Everyone" is a popular festive song by the Welsh singer-songwriter Shakin' Stevens.Written by Bob Heatlie and produced by Dave Edmunds, this was Shakin' Stevens fourth, and most recent, number one on the UK singles chart...

    " - Shakin' Stevens
    Shakin' Stevens
    Shakin' Stevens, also known as "Shaky" is a platinum selling Welsh rock and roll singer and songwriter who holds the distinction of being the UK's biggest-selling singles artist of the 1980s . His recording and performing career began in the late 1960s, although it was not until 1980 that he saw...

  9. "Mistletoe and Wine
    Mistletoe and Wine
    "Mistletoe and Wine" is a popular single by Cliff Richard.Written by Jeremy Paul, Leslie Stewart and Keith Strachan, it was originally performed as part of the musical Scraps at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, London in 1976...

    " – Cliff Richard
    Cliff Richard
    Sir Cliff Richard, OBE is a British pop singer, musician, performer, actor, and philanthropist who has sold over an estimated 250 million records worldwide....

  10. "Walking in the Air
    Walking in the Air
    "Walking in the Air" is a song written by Howard Blake for the 1982 animated film of Raymond Briggs' 1978 children's book The Snowman. In the film the song was performed by St Paul's Cathedral choirboy Peter Auty...

    " - Aled Jones
    Aled Jones
    Aled Jones is a Welsh singer and television/radio personality, broadcaster and television presenter who first came to fame as a treble...



Included in previous lists—like those for 2009 and 2008—are such titles as "Stop the Cavalry
Stop the Cavalry
"Stop the Cavalry" is a song written and performed by the musician Jona Lewie.The song peaked at number three in the UK Singles Chart in December 1980, at one point only being kept from number one by two re-issued songs by John Lennon, who had been murdered on 8 December.In an interview for Channel...

" - Jona Lewie
Jona Lewie
Jona Lewie is an English singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.-Career:Jona Lewie joined his first group, The Johnston City Jazz Band, while still at school in 1963, and by 1968 had become a blues & boogie singer and piano player...

, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
"Santa Claus is Coming to Town" is a Christmas song. It was written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie, and was first sung on Eddie Cantor's radio show in November 1934....

" - Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen , nicknamed "The Boss," is an American singer-songwriter who records and tours with the E Street Band...

, "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day" - Wizzard
Wizzard
Wizzard was a Birmingham-based band formed by Roy Wood, former member of The Move and co-founder of Electric Light Orchestra. The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits states, "Wizzard was Roy Wood just as much as Wings were Paul McCartney."-Biography:...

, "Step into Christmas
Step Into Christmas
"Step into Christmas" is a Christmas song by Elton John released in 1973. It was originally released as a stand-alone single in 1973 with the B-Side "Ho! Ho! Ho! ", peaking at #23 in the UK. Due to Billboard magazine's editorial policy it was held off the Hot 100...

" - Elton John
Elton John
Sir Elton Hercules John, CBE, Hon DMus is an English rock singer-songwriter, composer, pianist and occasional actor...

, "Lonely This Christmas
Lonely This Christmas
"Lonely This Christmas" was a popular single by the English glam rock band Mud, that topped the UK singles chart in 1974 and reached Christmas number one.-The song:...

" - Mud
Mud
Mud is a mixture of water and some combination of soil, silt, and clay. Ancient mud deposits harden over geological time to form sedimentary rock such as shale or mudstone . When geological deposits of mud are formed in estuaries the resultant layers are termed bay muds...

, and "White Christmas
White Christmas
A white Christmas refers to the presence of snow on Christmas Day. This phenomenon is most common in the northern countries of the Northern Hemisphere...

" by Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby
Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby was an American singer and actor. Crosby's trademark bass-baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century, with over half a billion records in circulation....

.

The BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 has covered the stories of the writing of Christmas songs, including:

"Christmas number one single" in U.K. and Ireland


In Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

, the terms "Christmas number one single
Christmas number one single
The Christmas number one single is a single that reaches number one on the national pop music charts in the week immediately prior to Christmas. It is primarily a pop culture phenomenon in the United Kingdom and in the neighboring Republic of Ireland....

" and "Christmas number two single" denote songs released around the time of the Christmas holiday and that reach the top of the UK Singles Chart
UK Singles Chart
The UK Singles Chart is compiled by The Official Charts Company on behalf of the British record-industry. The full chart contains the top selling 200 singles in the United Kingdom based upon combined record sales and download numbers, though some media outlets only list the Top 40 or the Top 75 ...

 and/or Irish Singles Chart
Irish Singles Chart
The Irish Singles Chart is Ireland's music industry standard singles popularity chart issued weekly by the Irish Recorded Music Association and compiled on behalf of the IRMA by Chart-Track. Chart rankings are based on sales, which are compiled through over-the-counter retail data captured...

 respectively. Because of the two countries' proximity to each other, the Irish #1 is usually the same as the British #1 or #2. Though some of these songs do tend to develop an association with Christmas or the holiday season, such an association tends to be much shorter lived than the more traditionally themed Christmas songs such as "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday
I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday
"I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" is a popular Christmas song, first released in 1973 by the English glam rock band Wizzard.It reached number four in the UK singles chart. The song was famously beaten to Christmas number one by Slade's "Merry Xmas Everybody" which remained there for nine...

", "Mistletoe and Wine
Mistletoe and Wine
"Mistletoe and Wine" is a popular single by Cliff Richard.Written by Jeremy Paul, Leslie Stewart and Keith Strachan, it was originally performed as part of the musical Scraps at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, London in 1976...

" and "Merry Christmas Everyone
Merry Christmas Everyone
"Merry Christmas Everyone" is a popular festive song by the Welsh singer-songwriter Shakin' Stevens.Written by Bob Heatlie and produced by Dave Edmunds, this was Shakin' Stevens fourth, and most recent, number one on the UK singles chart...

", and the songs may have nothing to do with Christmas or even winter. Past Christmas number-ones include children's songs such as "Mr Blobby
Mr Blobby (song)
"Mr Blobby" is a novelty song performed by character Mr Blobby, famous for appearing in the TV programme Noel's House Party. The song originally peaked at #1 on the chart on 5 December 1993 for one week. It later spent a total of 3 weeks at #1...

" (#1, 1993) and the theme from Bob the Builder
Can We Fix It?
"Can We Fix It?" is the name of the theme song, written by Paul K. Joyce, from the children's television programme Bob the Builder, produced by Hot Animation. The title is derived from the main character's catchphrase, a query towards the rest of the cast when presented with a challenge...

 (#1, 2000), novelty songs such as Benny Hill
Benny Hill
Benny Hill was an English comedian and actor, notable for his long-running television programme The Benny Hill Show.-Early life:...

's "Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West)
Ernie (the Fastest Milkman in the West)
"Ernie " is an innuendo-laden comedy or novelty song, written and performed by the English comedian Benny Hill...

" (#1, 1971) and South Park's "Chocolate Salty Balls
Chocolate Salty Balls
"Chocolate Salty Balls " is a 1998 song from the animated comedy TV series South Park, performed by the character Chef and featured on the soundtrack album Chef Aid: The South Park Album....

" (#2, 1998), and several examples of standard pop fare that would likely be just as popular outside the holiday season. Some songs will be "tweaked" to make them more related to Christmas. This is almost exclusively a British cultural phenomenon; some notable and longer-lasting examples include Band Aid
Band Aid (band)
Band Aid was a charity supergroup featuring British and Irish musicians and recording artists. It was founded in 1984 by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia by releasing the song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" for the Christmas market that year. The single...

's "Do They Know It's Christmas?
Do They Know It's Christmas?
"Do They Know It's Christmas?" is a song written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in 1984 to raise money for relief of the 1984–1985 famine in Ethiopia. The original version was produced by Midge Ure and released by Band Aid on 29 November 1984....

" (#1, 1985, 1989 and 2004), Slade
Slade
Slade are an English rock band from Wolverhampton, who rose to prominence during the glam rock era of the early 1970s. With 17 consecutive Top 20 hits and six number ones, the British Hit Singles & Albums names them as the most successful British group of the 1970s based on sales of singles...

's "Merry Xmas Everybody
Merry Xmas Everybody
"Merry Xmas Everybody" is a 1973 song by the English rock band Slade. Written by lead vocalist and guitarist Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea, and produced by Chas Chandler, it was the band's sixth number-one single in the UK...

" (#1, 1972) and Wham!
WHAM!
Wham! were a short-lived British musical duo formed by George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley in the early 1980s. They were briefly known in the United States as Wham! UK due to a naming conflict with an American band....

's "Last Christmas
Last Christmas
"Last Christmas" is a song by British pop duo Wham!, released on Epic Records in 1984, on a double A-side with "Everything She Wants". It was written by George Michael, one half of the duo...

" (#2, 1984).

Reality television
Reality television
Reality television is a genre of television programming that presents purportedly unscripted dramatic or humorous situations, documents actual events, and usually features ordinary people instead of professional actors, sometimes in a contest or other situation where a prize is awarded...

 has had an impact on both the British and the Irish charts since 2002. In that year, the series Popstars The Rivals
Popstars The Rivals
Popstars The Rivals was a British television talent show series that was broadcast on ITV1 in late 2002. It was the second UK series of the international Popstars franchise...

produced the top three singles on the Christmas charts: two produced by the two "rival" groups created as the result of the series (the girl group
Girl group
A girl group is a popular music act featuring several young female singers who generally harmonise together.Girl groups emerged in the late 1950s as groups of young singers teamed up with behind-the-scenes songwriters and music producers to create hit singles, often featuring glossy production...

 Girls Aloud
Girls Aloud
Girls Aloud are a British and Irish pop girl group based in London. They were created through the ITV1 talent show Popstars The Rivals in 2002. The group consists of Cheryl Cole , Nadine Coyle, Sarah Harding, Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh. They are signed to Fascination Records, a Polydor...

 and the boy band
Boy band
A boy band is loosely defined as a popular music act consisting of only male singers. The members are expected to dance as well as sing, usually giving highly choreographed performances. More often than not, boy band members do not play musical instruments, either in recording sessions or on...

 One True Voice
One True Voice
One True Voice were a British boyband created on the ITV television series Popstars: The Rivals, which also produced girl group Girls Aloud. The band was created by the public, who voted for their favourite hopefuls each week...

) finished first and second respectively, while failed contestants The Cheeky Girls
The Cheeky Girls
The Cheeky Girls are a pop duo consisting of twin sisters Gabriela and Monica Irimia, from Cluj-Napoca in Transylvania, Romania, but based in Britain. After appearing as auditionees in Popstars: The Rivals, they achieved success in the charts with four top ten hits between 2002 and 2004...

 charted with a novelty hit at third, on the British charts. Will Young
Will Young
William Robert "Will" Young is a British singer-songwriter and actor who came to prominenceafter winning the 2002 inaugural series of the British music contest Pop Idol, making him the first winner of the now-worldwide Idols-format franchise...

, winner of the first Pop Idol
Pop Idol
Pop Idol is a British television series which debuted on ITV on 6 October 2001. The show was a talent contest to decide the best new young pop singer in the United Kingdom, based on viewer voting and participation. Two series were broadcast - one in 2001-02 and a second in 2003...

, charted at the top of the Irish charts in 2003, but not in his native Britain. Since the second series of the TV series The X Factor
The X Factor (UK)
The X Factor is a British television music competition to find new singing talent. Created by Simon Cowell, it began in September 2004 and is contested by aspiring singers drawn from public auditions. It is the originator of the international X Factor franchise. The seven series of the show to date...

, which ends in December, the debut song from that series' winner generally is released at a time conducive to it becoming the Christmas number one in both countries, and most of the songs are unrelated to Christmas. X Factor winners have earned the Christmas number one in at least one of the two countries every year since 2005, and in both for all but two of them. As a result of the show's stranglehold on the top of the charts, each year since 2008 has seen protest campaigns to outsell the X Factor single and prevent it from reaching number one. Only one has actually been successful: in 2009, "Killing in the Name
Killing in the Name
"Killing in the Name" is a song by American rap metal band Rage Against the Machine, featured on their self-titled debut album, and was released as the lead single from the album in November 1992...

" by Rage Against the Machine
Rage Against the Machine
Rage Against the Machine is an American rock band from Los Angeles, California. Formed in 1991, the group's line-up consists of vocalist Zack de la Rocha, bassist and backing vocalist Tim Commerford, guitarist Tom Morello and drummer Brad Wilk...

 reached number one in the UK instead of that year's X Factor winner, Joe McElderry
Joe McElderry
Joseph "Joe" McElderry is an English singer and model. He won the sixth series of the ITV show The X Factor in 2009. His first single "The Climb" reached number one on the UK Singles Chart and Irish Singles Charts. He was also crowned the winner of the second series of Popstar to Operastar, two...

; McElderry did reach number one in Ireland. 2010 saw several campaigns to unseat the X Factor winner, but fracturing between the warring campaigns in Britain and a delay in the delivery of The Rubberbandits
The Rubberbandits
The Rubberbandits are the award-winning comedy hip-hop duo of Blindboy Boat Club and Mr. Chrome from Limerick, Ireland. Primarily a satirical stage and television act, they have performed throughout Ireland, the UK and USA with shows at events such as Electric Picnic Oxegen and the Bulmers...

' "Horse Outside
Horse Outside
Horse Outside is a single by a Limerick group called the The Rubberbandits. It was released on 8 December 2010, after its accompanying music video was aired on RTÉ Television programme Republic of Telly...

" to stores in Ireland led to X Factor winner Matt Cardle
Matt Cardle
Matthew Sheridan "Matt" Cardle is an English singer-songwriter and guitarist who rose to fame after winning the seventh series of The X Factor in 2010. He received a £1 million recording contract with Syco Music by winning, and his debut number one single "When We Collide" was released immediately...

 earning the number one in both countries.

Christmas music in Australia


Situated in the southern hemisphere
Southern Hemisphere
The Southern Hemisphere is the part of Earth that lies south of the equator. The word hemisphere literally means 'half ball' or "half sphere"...

, where seasons are reversed from the northern, the heat of early summer in Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 affects the way Christmas is celebrated and how northern hemisphere
Northern Hemisphere
The Northern Hemisphere is the half of a planet that is north of its equator—the word hemisphere literally means “half sphere”. It is also that half of the celestial sphere north of the celestial equator...

 Christmas traditions
Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

 are followed. Australians generally spend Christmas out of doors, going to the beach for the day, or heading to camp grounds for a vacation. International visitors to Sydney
Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

 at Christmastime often go to Bondi Beach where tens of thousands gather on Christmas Day.

The tradition of an Australian Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve refers to the evening or entire day preceding Christmas Day, a widely celebrated festival commemorating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth that takes place on December 25...

 carol service lit by candles, started in 1937 by radio announcer Norman Banks, has taken place in Melbourne
Melbourne
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne City Centre is the hub of the greater metropolitan area and the Census statistical division—of which "Melbourne" is the common name. As of June 2009, the greater...

 annually since then. Carols by Candlelight
Carols by Candlelight
Carols by Candlelight is an Australian Christmas tradition that originated in southeastern Australia in the 19th century and was popularised in Melbourne in the 1930s. The tradition has since spread around the world. It involves people gathering, usually outdoors in a park, to sing carols by...

 events can be "huge gatherings . . televised live throughout the country" or smaller "local community and church events." Carols in the Domain
Carols in the Domain
Carols in the Domain is an annual Christmas concert free event held in the Domain Gardens, Sydney, Australia. It began in 1982. It is broadcast around Australia on the Seven Network and simulcast on 101.7 WSFM....

 in Sydney is now a "popular platform for the stars of stage and music."

Some "uniquely Australian Christmas carols" have become popular: John Wheeler
John Wheeler
John Wheeler may refer to:* John Wheeler , American Emmy Award-winning audio/video engineer* John Wheeler , Union officer in the Civil War; killed at Gettysburg* John Wheeler John Wheeler may refer to:* John Wheeler (audio/video technologist) (born 1957), American Emmy Award-winning audio/video...

's "The Three Drovers" may be the best known. Other "light-hearted Australian Christmas songs" have become "an essential part of the Australian Christmas experience." Rolf Harris
Rolf Harris
Rolf Harris, CBE, AM is an Australian musician, singer-songwriter, composer, painter and television personality.Born in Perth, Western Australia, Harris was a champion swimmer before studying art. He moved to England in 1952, where he started to appear on television programmes on which he drew the...

' "Six White Boomers", Colin Buchanan's "Aussie Jingle Bells", and the "Australian Twelve Days of Christmas", examples of these, proudly proclaim the differing traditions Down Under. A verse from "Aussie Jingle Bells" makes the point:
Engine's getting hot
Dodge the kangaroos
Swaggie* climbs aboard
He is welcome too
All the family is there
Sitting by the pool
Christmas day, the Aussie way
By the barbecue!

  • "swagman
    Swagman
    A swagman is an old Australian and New Zealand term describing an underclass of transient temporary workers, who travelled by foot from farm to farm carrying the traditional swag...

    "—also called a swaggie, sundowner, or tussocker—is an old Australian and New Zealand
    New Zealand
    New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

     slang term describing transient temporary workers who travelled by foot from farm-to-farm carrying the traditional "swag", or bedroll.

Christmas song surveys


Edison Media Research and Pinnacle Media Worldwide independently survey radio listeners on which Christmas songs they like and dislike. In both surveys, results of which were reported in 2007, the most loved songs were standards such as Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby
Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby was an American singer and actor. Crosby's trademark bass-baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century, with over half a billion records in circulation....

's "White Christmas
White Christmas
A white Christmas refers to the presence of snow on Christmas Day. This phenomenon is most common in the northern countries of the Northern Hemisphere...

" (1942), Nat King Cole
Nat King Cole
Nathaniel Adams Coles , known professionally as Nat King Cole, was an American musician who first came to prominence as a leading jazz pianist. Although an accomplished pianist, he owes most of his popular musical fame to his soft baritone voice, which he used to perform in big band and jazz genres...

's "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
"The Christmas Song" is a classic Christmas song written in 1944 by musician, composer, and vocalist Mel Tormé and Bob Wells. According to Tormé, the song was written during a blistering hot summer...

" (1946), and Burl Ives
Burl Ives
Burl Icle Ivanhoe Ives was an American actor, writer and folk music singer. As an actor, Ives's work included comedies, dramas, and voice work in theater, television, and motion pictures. Music critic John Rockwell said, "Ives's voice .....

' "A Holly Jolly Christmas" (1965). Other favorites like "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
Rockin' around the Christmas Tree
"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" is a Christmas song written by Johnny Marks and recorded by Brenda Lee in 1958 on Decca 9-30776.-Background:...

" (Brenda Lee
Brenda Lee
Brenda Mae Tarpley , known as Brenda Lee, is an American performer who sang rockabilly, pop and country music, and had 37 US chart hits during the 1960s, a number surpassed only by Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Ray Charles and Connie Francis...

, 1958), "Jingle Bell Rock
Jingle Bell Rock
"Jingle Bell Rock" is the name of a popular Christmas song first released by Bobby Helms in 1957. It has received frequent airplay in the United States during every Christmas time since then. "Jingle Bell Rock" was composed by Joseph Carleton Beal , and James Ross Boothe...

" (Bobby Helms
Bobby Helms
Robert Lee Helms , better known as Bobby Helms, was an American country music singer who enjoyed his peak success in 1957 with his hit, "Jingle Bell Rock". He was mostly known for the Christmas song...

, 1957) and John Lennon
John Lennon
John Winston Lennon, MBE was an English musician and singer-songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles, one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music...

 and Yoko Ono
Yoko Ono
is a Japanese artist, musician, author and peace activist, known for her work in avant-garde art, music and filmmaking as well as her marriage to John Lennon...

's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" (1971), scored well in the Pinnacle study. Also "loved" were Johnny Mathis
Johnny Mathis
John Royce "Johnny" Mathis is an American singer of popular music. Starting his career with singles of standards, he became highly popular as an album artist, with several dozen of his albums achieving gold or platinum status, and 73 making the Billboard charts...

' "Do You Hear What I Hear?
Do You Hear What I Hear?
"Do You Hear What I Hear?" is a Christmas song written in October 1962 with lyrics by Noël Regney and music by Gloria Shayne Baker. The pair were married at the time, and wrote it as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis...

" and Harry Simeone
Harry Simeone
Harry Moses Simeone was a distinguished music arranger, conductor and composer, best known for arranging the famous Christmas song "The Little Drummer Boy", for which he received co-writing credit.-Early years:Harry grew up listening to stars performing at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City,...

 Chorale's "Little Drummer Boy
Little Drummer Boy
"The Little Drummer Boy," originally known as "Carol of the Drum," is a popular Christmas song written by the American classical music composer/teacher Katherine Kennicott Davis in 1941. It was recorded 1955 by the Trapp Family Singers and further popularized by a 1958 recording by the Harry...

". The newest song in the Pinnacle top 10 is Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and actress. She made her recording debut with the release of her eponymous studio album in 1990, under the guidance of Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola, whom she later married in 1993...

's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" (1994); for the Edison list it is Lennon and Ono's.

The Pinnacle survey divided its listeners into music-type categories:
  • "Adult contemporary" listeners rated Brenda Lee
    Brenda Lee
    Brenda Mae Tarpley , known as Brenda Lee, is an American performer who sang rockabilly, pop and country music, and had 37 US chart hits during the 1960s, a number surpassed only by Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Ray Charles and Connie Francis...

    's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
    Rockin' around the Christmas Tree
    "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" is a Christmas song written by Johnny Marks and recorded by Brenda Lee in 1958 on Decca 9-30776.-Background:...

    " best.
  • "Adult Top 40" fans liked Bobby Helms
    Bobby Helms
    Robert Lee Helms , better known as Bobby Helms, was an American country music singer who enjoyed his peak success in 1957 with his hit, "Jingle Bell Rock". He was mostly known for the Christmas song...

    ' "Jingle Bell Rock
    Jingle Bell Rock
    "Jingle Bell Rock" is the name of a popular Christmas song first released by Bobby Helms in 1957. It has received frequent airplay in the United States during every Christmas time since then. "Jingle Bell Rock" was composed by Joseph Carleton Beal , and James Ross Boothe...

    ".
  • "Hip-hop/R&B" fans liked the Jackson 5's "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
    Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
    "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" is a Christmas song. It was written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie, and was first sung on Eddie Cantor's radio show in November 1934....

    " ("faring poorly with hip-hop fans" was James Brown
    James Brown
    James Joseph Brown was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and recording artist. He is the originator of Funk and is recognized as a major figure in the 20th century popular music for both his vocals and dancing. He has been referred to as "The Godfather of Soul," "Mr...

    's "Santa Go Straight to the Ghetto").
  • "Country" listeners ranked Burl Ives
    Burl Ives
    Burl Icle Ivanhoe Ives was an American actor, writer and folk music singer. As an actor, Ives's work included comedies, dramas, and voice work in theater, television, and motion pictures. Music critic John Rockwell said, "Ives's voice .....

    ' "A Holly Jolly Christmas" number one.
  • "Smooth jazz" fans liked "The Christmas Song
    The Christmas Song
    "The Christmas Song" is a classic Christmas song written in 1944 by musician, composer, and vocalist Mel Tormé and Bob Wells. According to Tormé, the song was written during a blistering hot summer...

    " as sung by Nat King Cole
    Nat King Cole
    Nathaniel Adams Coles , known professionally as Nat King Cole, was an American musician who first came to prominence as a leading jazz pianist. Although an accomplished pianist, he owes most of his popular musical fame to his soft baritone voice, which he used to perform in big band and jazz genres...

    .


Among the most-hated Christmas songs, according to Edison's research, are Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand
Barbra Joan Streisand is an American singer, actress, film producer and director. She has won two Academy Awards, eight Grammy Awards, four Emmy Awards, a Special Tony Award, an American Film Institute award, a Peabody Award, and is one of the few entertainers who have won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy,...

's "Jingle Bells?", the Jackson 5's "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
"Santa Claus is Coming to Town" is a Christmas song. It was written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie, and was first sung on Eddie Cantor's radio show in November 1934....

", Elmo & Patsy's "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
"Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" is a novelty Christmas song, which led to the creation of an animated movie with the same title.Written by Randy Brooks, the song was originally performed by the husband and wife duo of Elmo and Patsy Trigg Shropshire in 1979...

", and "O Holy Night
O Holy Night
"O Holy Night" is a well-known Christmas carol composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem "Minuit, chrétiens" by Placide Cappeau , a wine merchant and poet, who had been asked by a parish priest to write a Christmas poem...

" as performed by cartoon characters from Comedy Central
Comedy Central
Comedy Central is an American cable television and satellite television channel that carries comedy programming, both original and syndicated....

's "South Park
South Park
South Park is an American animated television series created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone for the Comedy Central television network. Intended for mature audiences, the show has become famous for its crude language, surreal, satirical, and dark humor that lampoons a wide range of topics...

".

The "most-hated Christmastime recording" is "Jingle Bells
Jingle Bells
"Jingle Bells" is one of the best-known and commonly sung winter songs in the world. It was written by James Lord Pierpont and published under the title "One Horse Open Sleigh" in the autumn of 1857...

" by the Singing Dogs, a revolutionary novelty song originally released 1955 (reedited and re-released in 1970).

Other popular Christmas songs


Popular Christmas songs that failed to make the U.S. or U.K. lists include "Happy Holidays", "Baby It's Cold Outside", "Marshmallow World
Marshmallow World
"Marshmallow World" is a popular Christmas song that was written in 1949 by Carl Sigman and Peter DeRose . Although it has been recorded by many artists, it was first a hit for Bing Crosby...

", and "Give Love on Christmas Day
Give Love on Christmas Day
"Give Love on Christmas Day" is a Christmas song first recorded by Motown Records' family quintet The Jackson 5. Written by the label's songwriting-producing team, The Corporation , the song was recorded for the Jackson brothers' 1970 seasonal album, entitled The Jackson 5 Christmas Album...

"—all recorded by a number of acts. Newer titles mostly associated with the originating artist include "Happy Xmas (War is Over)
Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
"Happy Xmas " is a song written by John Lennon and Yoko Ono and released in 1971 as a single by John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir....

" by John Lennon
John Lennon
John Winston Lennon, MBE was an English musician and singer-songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles, one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music...

, "Baby Please Come Home" by Darlene Love
Darlene Love
Darlene Love is an American popular music singer and actress. She gained prominence in the 1960s for the song "He's a Rebel," a #1 American single in 1962, and was part of the Phil Spector stable that produced a celebrated Christmas album in 1963....

 (later covered by U2
U2
U2 are an Irish rock band from Dublin. Formed in 1976, the group consists of Bono , The Edge , Adam Clayton , and Larry Mullen, Jr. . U2's early sound was rooted in post-punk but eventually grew to incorporate influences from many genres of popular music...

), "Christmas Is the Time to Say I Love You
Christmas Is the Time to Say I Love You
Christmas Is the Time to Say I Love You is the third studio album, and first holiday themed album from American Idol season five runner-up Katharine McPhee. The album was released on October 12, 2010. The album features mostly covers, and one original song, "It’s Not Christmas Without You"...

" by Billy Squier
Billy Squier
William Haislip "Billy" Squier is an American rock musician. Squier had a string of arena rock hits in the 1980s. He is best known for the song "The Stroke" on his 1981 album release Don't Say No...

, "Merry Christmas Darling
Merry Christmas Darling
"Merry Christmas, Darling" by The Carpenters was written by Richard Carpenter & Frank Pooler and originally recorded in 1970. At the time, it was first available on a 7" single from A&M Records and later in 1974 reissued as A&M 1648 and in 1977 as A&M 1991...

" by The Carpenters
The Carpenters
Carpenters were an American vocal and instrumental duo, consisting of sister Karen and brother Richard Carpenter. The Carpenters were the #1 selling American music act of the 1970s. Though often referred to by the public as "The Carpenters", the duo's official name on authorized recordings and...

, "Merry Christmas, Baby" and "Little Saint Nick
Little Saint Nick
"Little Saint Nick" is a Christmas song written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love and originally performed by their group The Beach Boys. It was first released as a single in December 1963, reaching number three on the Billboard Christmas charts and peaking at #69 on the regular weekly sales chart...

" by the Beach Boys (with the former later covered by Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen , nicknamed "The Boss," is an American singer-songwriter who records and tours with the E Street Band...

), "Thank God It's Christmas
Thank God It's Christmas
"Thank God It's Christmas" is a Christmas single by British rock band Queen. It was written by guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor.Released on 26 November 1984, the single spent six weeks in the UK charts over Christmas 1984 and new year of 1985, and reached number 21.Though not released...

" by Queen
Queen (band)
Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1971, originally consisting of Freddie Mercury , Brian May , John Deacon , and Roger Taylor...

, "Wonderful Christmastime
Wonderful Christmastime
"Wonderful Christmastime" is a 1979 Christmas song by Paul McCartney. It enjoys significant Christmas time popularity around the world. The notable synthesiser riff was played on a Sequential Circuits Prophet-5. The song was later added as a bonus track on the CD reissue of Wings' Back to the Egg...

" by Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney
Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE, Hon RAM, FRCM is an English musician, singer-songwriter and composer. Formerly of The Beatles and Wings , McCartney is listed in Guinness World Records as the "most successful musician and composer in popular music history", with 60 gold discs and sales of 100...

, and "Pretty Paper
Pretty Paper
Pretty Paper is a 1979 Christmas album recorded by country singer Willie Nelson. His title track had also been a hit Christmas song in 1963, when it was recorded by Roy Orbison...

" by Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
Roy Kelton Orbison was an American singer-songwriter, well known for his distinctive, powerful voice, complex compositions, and dark emotional ballads. Orbison grew up in Texas and began singing in a rockabilly/country & western band in high school until he was signed by Sun Records in Memphis...

 and Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson
Willie Hugh Nelson is an American country music singer-songwriter, as well as an author, poet, actor, and activist. The critical success of the album Shotgun Willie , combined with the critical and commercial success of Red Headed Stranger and Stardust , made Nelson one of the most recognized...

. "Please Come Home for Christmas
Please Come Home for Christmas
"Please Come Home for Christmas" is a Christmas song, released in 1960, by the American blues singer and pianist Charles Brown. Hitting Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in December 1961, the tune Brown co-wrote with Gene Redd peaked at position #76. It appeared on the Christmas Singles chart for nine...

" was written and released by Charles Brown
Charles Brown (musician)
Charles Brown , born in Texas City, Texas was an American blues singer and pianist whose soft-toned, slow-paced blues-club style influenced the development of blues performance during the 1940s and 1950s...

 in 1960, but is now mostly associated with The Eagles.

More recent covers of songs found on the ASCAP top-25 have gained a popularity all their own. Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley
Elvis Aaron Presley was one of the most popular American singers of the 20th century. A cultural icon, he is widely known by the single name Elvis. He is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply "the King"....

 famously covered a number of Christmas standards on his Christmas album
Elvis' Christmas Album
Elvis' Christmas Album is the fourth album by Elvis Presley on RCA Victor Records, LOC 1035, a deluxe limited edition, released in October 1957, and recorded at Radio Recorders in Hollywood. It has been reissued in numerous different formats since its first release...

, originally released in 1957. His versions of "Here Comes Santa Claus
Here Comes Santa Claus
"Here Comes Santa Claus " is a Christmas song written by Gene Autry and Oakley Haldeman.Autry got the idea for the song after riding his horse in the 1946 Santa Claus Lane Parade in Los Angeles, during which crowds of spectators chanted, "Here comes Santa Claus". This inspired him to write a song...

" and the previously mentioned "Blue Christmas" are particularly popular. Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen , nicknamed "The Boss," is an American singer-songwriter who records and tours with the E Street Band...

 and The Jackson Five recorded separate versions of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
"Santa Claus is Coming to Town" is a Christmas song. It was written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie, and was first sung on Eddie Cantor's radio show in November 1934....

", as well as other Christmas titles. The unlikely pairing of Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby
Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby was an American singer and actor. Crosby's trademark bass-baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century, with over half a billion records in circulation....

 with David Bowie
David Bowie
David Bowie is an English musician, actor, record producer and arranger. A major figure for over four decades in the world of popular music, Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s...

 on the impromptu "The Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth
Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy
"Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy" is a Christmas song with an added counterpoint performed by David Bowie and Bing Crosby...

" created one of the most popular Christmas duets ever recorded.

Adopted Christmas music


Much of what is known as Christmas music today was adopted from music initially created for other purposes. Retroactively these were applied to Christmas, or came to be associated with the holiday in some way. Many secular songs are regarded as “Christmas” songs due to the time of year they are most often heard or sung, despite never mentioning anything about the holiday. These include favorites such as “Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland
"Winter Wonderland" is a winter song, popularly treated as a Christmastime pop standard, written in 1934 by Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith . Through the decades it has been recorded by over 150 different artists.-History:...

”, “Let it Snow”, and "Baby, It's Cold Outside
Baby, It's Cold Outside
Baby, It's Cold Outside may refer to:*"Baby, It's Cold Outside", a 1948 song by Frank Loesser*"Cold Outside", a song by country music band Big House from their self-titled debut album*"Baby, It's Cold Outside", a 1991 short story by Isaac Asimov...

". “Sleigh Ride
Sleigh Ride
"Sleigh Ride" is a popular light orchestral piece composed by Leroy Anderson. The composer had the original idea for the piece during a heat wave in July 1946; he finished the work in February 1948. Lyrics, about a person who would like to ride in a sleigh on a winter's day with another person,...

”'s standard lyrics
Lyrics
Lyrics are a set of words that make up a song. The writer of lyrics is a lyricist or lyrist. The meaning of lyrics can either be explicit or implicit. Some lyrics are abstract, almost unintelligible, and, in such cases, their explication emphasizes form, articulation, meter, and symmetry of...

 mention not a Christmas party but a birthday party
Birthday party
A birthday party is a party to celebrate the anniversary of one's birth.Birthday Party may also refer to:- Theatre, film, and television :* The Birthday Party , a 1958 play by Harold Pinter...

. The now hugely popular Christmas standard "Jingle Bells
Jingle Bells
"Jingle Bells" is one of the best-known and commonly sung winter songs in the world. It was written by James Lord Pierpont and published under the title "One Horse Open Sleigh" in the autumn of 1857...

" was originally written to celebrate Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Day is a holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Thanksgiving is celebrated each year on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. In Canada, Thanksgiving falls on the same day as Columbus Day in the...

. Many of these tunes fall into the generic “winter” classification, as they carry no Christmas connotation at all. To popularize a winter-themed song, especially in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, without its being regarded as a “Christmas” song, would be difficult. In fact, winter-themed songs are generally not played on the radio in the U.S.
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 during the larger part of the winter after the Christmas season has ended, in marked contrast to their counterparts, summer hit
Summer hit
A summer hit is a term in entertainment industry which refers to a title released and peaked in its popularity during summer and often later quickly faded away..Rick Lyman, a culture reporter for The New York Times, wrote:...

s, which receive airplay throughout their season. They may receive limited radio airplay on some stations, particularly after a significant snow event.

The phenomenon is not limited to popular music
Popular music
Popular music belongs to any of a number of musical genres "having wide appeal" and is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. It stands in contrast to both art music and traditional music, which are typically disseminated academically or orally to smaller, local...

; classical music
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

, too, has been adopted to the Christmas canon. Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker
The Nutcracker
The Nutcracker is a two-act ballet, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The libretto is adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann's story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King". It was given its première at the Mariinsky Theatre in St...

 comprises a set of secular orchestral pieces often performed at Christmastime. Perhaps the most famous Christmas music of all, Handel's "Messiah"
Messiah (Handel)
Messiah is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742, and received its London premiere nearly a year later...

, was written for an Easter performance in 1742 in Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

, and performed from 1750 until Handel
HANDEL
HANDEL was the code-name for the UK's National Attack Warning System in the Cold War. It consisted of a small console consisting of two microphones, lights and gauges. The reason behind this was to provide a back-up if anything failed....

's death for the Foundling Hospital for orphans around Eastertime.

Novelty songs


Another form of popular Christmas song are those musical parodies performed solely for comical effect, usually classified as "novelty song
Novelty song
A novelty song is a comical or nonsensical song, performed principally for its comical effect. Humorous songs, or those containing humorous elements, are not necessarily novelty songs. The term arose in Tin Pan Alley to describe one of the major divisions of popular music. The other two divisions...

s". These range from those sung by children, or largely for their enjoyment, to those with a distinctly adult theme.

Juvenile

  • "All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth
    All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth
    "All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" is a novelty Christmas song written in 1944 by Donald Yetter Gardner while teaching music at public schools in Smithtown, New York...

    " written by Donald Yetter Gardner
    Donald Yetter Gardner
    Donald Yetter Gardner wrote the classic Christmas song "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth."...

     in 1944 and introduced by Spike Jones and his City Slickers in 1948.
  • "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
    I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
    "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" is an American Christmas song with music and lyrics by Tommie Connor.The original recording by Jimmy Boyd on 15 July 1952 when he was 13 reached #1 on the Billboard charts in December 1952, and on the Cash Box chart at the beginning of the following year...

    " sung by 13-year old Jimmy Boyd
    Jimmy Boyd
    Jimmy Boyd was an American singer, musician, and actor. He was best known for his recording of the novelty song "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus".-Early years:...

     in 1952.
  • "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas
    I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas
    I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas is a Christmas novelty song written by John Rox and performed by Gayla Peevey in 1953. The song peaked at number 24 on Billboard magazine's pop chart in December 1953.-History:...

    " written by John Rox and performed by 10 year-old Gayla Peevey
    Gayla Peevey
    Gayla Peevey is a former singer and child star from Ponca City, Oklahoma. She is best known for her recording of "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" . Peevey recorded the novelty song when she was 10 years old....

     in 1953.
  • "Nuttin' For Christmas
    Nuttin' For Christmas
    "Nuttin’ for Christmas" is a novelty Christmas song written by Sid Tepper and Roy C. Bennett. It became a hit during the 1955 Christmas season when the song showed up on Billboard’s pop charts by a total of five different artists...

    " by Art Mooney
    Art Mooney
    Art Mooney was an American popular bandleader. His biggest hits were "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover" and "Baby Face" in 1948 and "Nuttin' For Christmas," with Barry Gordon, in 1955...

     and Barry Gordon
    Barry Gordon
    Barry Gordon is an American film, television and voice actor and political talk show host and producer. He was the longest-serving president of the Screen Actors Guild, having served from 1988 to 1995.-Biography:...

    , who was seven years old when he sang the song in 1955.
  • "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)
    The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)
    "The Chipmunk Song " is a song written by Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. in 1958. Although it was written and sung by Bagdasarian , the singing credits are given to The Chipmunks, a fictitious singing group consisting of three chipmunks by the names of Alvin, Simon, and Theodore...

    " sung by Alvin and the Chipmunks
    Alvin and the Chipmunks
    Alvin and the Chipmunks is an American animated music group created by Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. in 1958. The group consists of three singing animated anthropomorphic chipmunks: Alvin, the mischievous troublemaker, who quickly became the star of the group; Simon, the tall, bespectacled intellectual;...

     in 1958.
  • "¿Dónde Está Santa Claus?
    ¿Dónde Está Santa Claus?
    ¿Dónde Está Santa Claus? is a Christmas song. Augie Rios had a hit with the song in 1958 which featured the Mark Jeffrey Orchestra...

    " performed by 12-year old Augie Rios in 1958, with "I Don't Care Who You Are Old Fatso, Get Those Reindeer Off My Roof" on the B side.
  • "Monster's Holiday" recorded by Bobby "Boris" Pickett, written by Paul Harrison, released December 1962.
  • "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
    You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
    "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" is a Christmas song that was originally written and composed for the 1966 cartoon special How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. The lyrics were written by Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel, the music was composed by Albert Hague, and the song was performed by Thurl Ravenscroft...

    " originally done for the 1966 cartoon special How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
    How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
    How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a children's story by Dr. Seuss written in rhymed verse with illustrations by the author. It was published as a book by Random House in 1957, and at approximately the same time in an issue of Redbook...

    . The lyrics were written by Dr. Seuss
    Dr. Seuss
    Theodor Seuss Geisel was an American writer, poet, and cartoonist most widely known for his children's books written under the pen names Dr. Seuss, Theo LeSieg and, in one case, Rosetta Stone....

    , the music was by Albert Hague
    Albert Hague
    Albert Hague was a German-born songwriter, composer, and actor.-Early life:Hague was born as Albert Marcuse to a Jewish family in Berlin, Germany. His father, Harry Marcuse, was a psychiatrist and a musical prodigy, and his mother, Mimi , a chess champion...

    , and the lyrics were performed by Thurl Ravenscroft
    Thurl Ravenscroft
    Thurl Arthur Ravenscroft was an American voice actor and singer best known as the deep voice behind Tony the Tiger's "They're grrreat!" in Frosted Flakes television commercials for more than five decades. Ravenscroft was also known, however uncredited, as the vocalist for the song "You're a Mean...

    . Many different versions have been recorded since.
  • "Snoopy's Christmas
    Snoopy's Christmas
    "Snoopy's Christmas" is a song performed by The Royal Guardsmen in 1967. It continues to be played as a holiday favorite on most "oldie" radio stations, however is also often played on radio stations playing a Hit Music format as well as Adult Contemporary format stations...

    " performed by The Royal Guardsmen
    The Royal Guardsmen
    The Royal Guardsmen are an American rock band, best known for their 1966 hit single "Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron".-Snoopy vs. the Red Baron:...

     in 1967; a follow-up to their earlier song "Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron
    Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron
    "Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron" is a novelty song written by Phil Gernhard and Dick Holler and recorded in 1966 by the Florida based rock band, The Royal Guardsmen. The song was recorded at the Charles Fuller Productions studio in Tampa, Florida, and was released as a single on Laurie Records...

    " recorded in 1966.

General

  • "Jingle Bells
    Jingle Bells
    "Jingle Bells" is one of the best-known and commonly sung winter songs in the world. It was written by James Lord Pierpont and published under the title "One Horse Open Sleigh" in the autumn of 1857...

    " by the Singing Dogs was recorded in 1955 by Don Charles from Copenhagen, Denmark. Considered the work of Carl Weismann, it was revolutionary in its use of latest recording technology.
  • "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
    Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
    "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" is a novelty Christmas song, which led to the creation of an animated movie with the same title.Written by Randy Brooks, the song was originally performed by the husband and wife duo of Elmo and Patsy Trigg Shropshire in 1979...

    " by Elmo & Patsy
    Elmo Shropshire
    Elmo Shropshire, D.V.M. , better known as Dr. Elmo, is a singer of comedy songs, most notably "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." He originally recorded the song in 1979 with his then-wife Patsy. He re-recorded it solo in 1992 for the album Dr. Elmo's Twisted Christmas and again in 2000 for the...

     which came out in 1979.
  • "Rusty Chevrolet" by Da Yoopers
    Da Yoopers
    Da Yoopers is a traveling comedy show and musical group from Ishpeming, Mich. They are known primarily for their humorous songs and skits, most of which center around life in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan...

     in 1987, a parody of Jingle Bells
    Jingle Bells
    "Jingle Bells" is one of the best-known and commonly sung winter songs in the world. It was written by James Lord Pierpont and published under the title "One Horse Open Sleigh" in the autumn of 1857...

    .
  • "Santa Claus and His Old Lady" recorded by Cheech and Chong
    Cheech and Chong
    Cheech & Chong are a comedy duo consisting of Richard "Cheech" Marin and Tommy Chong, who found a wide audience in the 1970s and 1980s for their films and stand-up routines, which were based on the hippie and free love era, and especially drug culture movements, most notably their love for...

     in 1971.
  • "A Christmas Carol" by Tom Lehrer
    Tom Lehrer
    Thomas Andrew "Tom" Lehrer is an American singer-songwriter, satirist, pianist, mathematician and polymath. He has lectured on mathematics and musical theater...

    , a parody of Christmas carols purporting to show the true spirit of Christmas, "refer[ring], of course, to money."
  • "Green Chri$tma$
    Green Chri$tma$
    Green Chri$tma$ is a radio play written and performed by Stan Freberg and Daws Butler and released by Capitol Records in 1958 . Musical arrangement and direction by Billy May, performed by the Capitol Records house orchestra. Other vocal performances by Marvin Miller , Will Wright and the Jud...

    ," a similarly-themed parody by Stan Freberg
    Stan Freberg
    Stanley Victor "Stan" Freberg is an American author, recording artist, animation voice actor, comedian, radio personality, puppeteer, and advertising creative director whose career began in 1944...

    .
  • "Don't Shoot Me Santa
    Don't Shoot Me Santa
    "Don't Shoot Me Santa" is a song by Las Vegas-based rock band The Killers. The song was released , as a digital download. A portion of the proceeds from this song went to AIDS charities as part of the RED campaign, headed by Bono and Bobby Shriver...

    " was released by The Killers in 2007, benefiting various AIDS
    AIDS
    Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

     charities.
  • "Christmas Tree
    Christmas Tree (Lady Gaga song)
    "Christmas Tree" is a song by American recording artist Lady Gaga. It was released on December 16, 2008 for digital download. It was written by Gaga and Rob Fusari and produced by Martin Kierszenbaum and Space Cowboy. It also features guest vocals from Space Cowboy. Musically, "Christmas Tree" is a...

    " by Lady Gaga
    Lady GaGa
    Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta , better known by her stage name Lady Gaga, is an American singer and songwriter. Born and raised in New York City, she primarily studied at the Convent of the Sacred Heart and briefly attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts before withdrawing to...

     featuring Space Cowboy
    Space Cowboy (musician)
    Nick Dresti , better known by his stage name Space Cowboy, is a DJ and twice Grammy Award nominated producer, who was born in Paris and raised in England.-Biography:...

     was released in 2008.
  • Numerous "The Twelve Days of Christmas
    The Twelve Days of Christmas (song)
    "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is an English Christmas carol that enumerates a series of increasingly grand gifts given on each of the twelve days of Christmas. Although first published in England in 1780, textual evidence may indicate the song is French in origin...

    " parodies, including one by Bob and Doug McKenzie
    Bob and Doug McKenzie
    Bob and Doug McKenzie are a pair of fictional Canadian brothers who hosted "Great White North", a sketch which was introduced on SCTV for the show's third season when it moved to CBC Television in 1980. Bob is played by Rick Moranis and Doug is played by Dave Thomas...

     (Rick Moranis
    Rick Moranis
    Frederick Allan "Rick" Moranis is a Canadian comedian, actor, musician, and a magician. Moranis came to prominence in the late 1970s on the sketch comedy show Second City Television, and later appeared in several Hollywood films including Strange Brew; Ghostbusters; Spaceballs; Little Shop of...

     and Dave Thomas
    Dave Thomas (actor)
    David "Dave" Thomas is a Canadian comedian and actor. He was born in St. Catharines, Ontario, but moved to Durham, North Carolina where his father, John E. Thomas, attended Duke University and earned a PhD in Philosophy. Thomas attended George Watts and Moorehead elementary schools...

    ) which came out in 1982, and another by the a capella group Straight No Chaser
    Straight No Chaser (a cappella group)
    Straight No Chaser is the name of two related but separate a cappella men's singing groups. The Indiana University group is composed of 10 to 12 undergraduate men whose lineup changes every year. The professional group, known simply as Straight No Chaser, is composed of former members, mostly...

     which was first performed in 1997.


The number of Christmas novelty songs is so immense that radio host Dr. Demento
Dr. Demento
Barret Eugene Hansen , better known as Dr. Demento, is a radio broadcaster and record collector specializing in novelty songs, comedy, and strange or unusual recordings dating from the early days of phonograph records to the present....

 devotes an entire month of weekly two-hour episodes to the format each year, and the novelty songs receive frequent requests at radio stations across the country. The Dan Band
The Dan Band
The Dan Band is a comedy band from Los Angeles, California, created by actor/comedian Dan Finnerty.The band is well known for its covers of originally female-performed pop songs, with added obscenities and swearing...

 released several adult-oriented Christmas songs on their 2007 album "Ho: A Dan Band Christmas" which included "Ho, Ho, Ho" (ho being slang for a prostitute), "I Wanna Rock You Hard This Christmas", "Please Don't Bomb Nobody This Holiday" and "Get Drunk & Make Out This Christmas". Christmas novelty songs can involve gallows humor
Gallows humor
Gallows humor , derives from gallows which is a platform with a noose used to execute people by hanging. Gallows humor is the type of humor that still manages to be funny in the face of, and in response to, a perfectly hopeless situation...

 and even morbid humor like that found in "Christmas at Ground Zero
Christmas At Ground Zero
"Christmas at Ground Zero" is an original song by "Weird Al" Yankovic. It is done in the style of The Ronettes' numerous 1960s-era Christmas carols, with bells and a saxophone section, and is one of Yankovic's darkest songs, alongside "The Night Santa Went Crazy" .The expression "ground zero" was...

" and "The Night Santa Went Crazy
The Night Santa Went Crazy
"The Night Santa Went Crazy" is an original song by "Weird Al" Yankovic. The darkly humorous Christmas song is performed as a style parody of "Black Gold" by Soul Asylum, with melodic references to "Mama I'm Comin' Home" by Ozzy Osbourne and "I Believe in Father Christmas" by Greg Lake...

", both by "Weird Al" Yankovic
"Weird Al" Yankovic
Alfred Matthew "Weird Al" Yankovic is an American singer-songwriter, music producer, accordionist, actor, comedian, writer, satirist, and parodist. Yankovic is known for his humorous songs that make light of popular culture and that often parody specific songs by contemporary musical acts...

.

Bob Rivers


Bob Rivers
Bob Rivers
Bob Rivers is a well-known American rock and roll radio on air personality in the Pacific Northwest as well as a prolific producer of parody songs, most famous for his Christmas song parodies....

, a morning radio personality from Seattle, has performed a number of parody and novelty Christmas songs based on secular hit songs and traditional Christmas/non-traditional Christmas songs like "The Twelve Pains of Christmas," "There's A Santa Who Looks a lot like Elvis," "Rummy Rocker Boy," "Wreck the Malls," "Parking Spaces," "Toy Sack," "All You Need Is Elves," and many others. Rivers has parlayed the format into several albums, beginning with Twisted Christmas
Twisted Christmas
Twisted Christmas is a humorous Christmas album recorded by Bob Rivers and his Comedy Corp. It is the first in a line of Christmas-themed parody albums from Rivers, with later entries including I Am Santa Claus, More Twisted Christmas, Chipmunks Roasting On an Open Fire, and White Trash...

in 1987 and following it with I Am Santa Claus
I Am Santa Claus
I Am Santa Claus is the second Christmas album by Bob Rivers & Twisted Radio. It was released in November 1993 by Atlantic Records , five years after Twisted Christmas, and four years before More Twisted Christmas.-Track listing:...

, More Twisted Christmas
More Twisted Christmas
More Twisted Christmas is the third Christmas album by Bob Rivers. It was released in 1997, four years after I Am Santa Claus, and three years before Chipmunks Roasting On an Open Fire...

, Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire
Chipmunks Roasting On an Open Fire
Chipmunks Roasting On an Open Fire is the fourth Christmas album by Bob Rivers. It was released in 2000, three years after More Twisted Christmas, and two years before White Trash Christmas.-Track listing:# The Twisted Chipmunk Song - 2:01...

, and White Trash Christmas
White Trash Christmas
White Trash Christmas is the fifth Christmas album by Bob Rivers. It was released in 2002, two years after Chipmunks Roasting On an Open Fire...

.

Radio broadcasting



Radio broadcasting of Christmas music has been around for several decades. Traditionally, U.S. radio stations (particularly those with such format
Radio format
A radio format or programming format not to be confused with broadcast programming describes the overall content broadcast on a radio station. Radio formats are frequently employed as a marketing tool, and constantly evolve...

s as adult contemporary, top 40, adult standards
Adult standards
Adult standards is a North American radio format heard primarily on AM or class A FM stations.Adult standards is aimed at "mature" adults, meaning mainly those persons over 50 years of age, but it is mostly targeted for senior citizens...

, or easy listening
Easy listening
Easy listening is a broad style of popular music and radio format that emerged in the 1950s, evolving out of big band music, and related to MOR music as played on many AM radio stations. It encompasses the exotica, beautiful music, light music, lounge music, ambient music, and space age pop genres...

) began adding some Christmas-themed selections to their regular playlists shortly after Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving (United States)
Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. It has officially been an annual tradition since 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday,...

 each year. Some exclusively aired 36–48 hours of continuous Christmas music between December 24–25. Since the mid-1990s, it has become increasingly common for stations to switch their programming to continuous Christmas music around Thanksgiving. This practice became more profound after 9/11, when many radio stations across the United States sought a sort of musical "comfort food
Comfort food
Comfort food is food prepared traditionally that may have a nostalgic or sentimental appeal. Comfort foods may be foods that have a nostalgic element either to an individual or a specific culture...

".

24/7 Christmas music


The 24/7 all-Christmas format has been generally successful due in large part to Christmas creep
Christmas creep
Christmas creep is a merchandising phenomenon in which merchants and retailers exploit the commercialized status of Christmas by moving up the start of the holiday shopping season. The term was first used in the mid 1980s...

. Many radio stations began airing an all-Christmas format by Thanksgiving, starting as early as the Friday one week prior. Several stations have started the format as early as November 1 (a few, such as KOSY
KOSY-FM
KOSY-FM is a commercial radio station broadcasting to the Salt Lake City, Utah area on 106.5 FM. The station's city of license is Spanish Fork, Utah. KOSY airs an adult contemporary music format branded as "Today's 106.5"...

 and WNIC
WNIC
WNIC is an American radio station based in Detroit, Michigan broadcasting at 100.3 MHz FM. WNIC's studios and offices are located in Farmington Hills, MI. WNIC's transmitter is located near Schoolcraft and Livernois Avenue in the City of Detroit on the near west side. WNIC broadcasts with an...

, have earned a reputation for this) or even in late October, although this is generally the exception rather than the norm. Stations that change formats before Thanksgiving sometimes experience backlash from listeners, because this is well outside the traditional Christmas and holiday season.

To accommodate the adult contemporary stations' flip to Christmas music, the syndicated John Tesh
John Tesh
John Frank Tesh is an American pianist and composer of pop music, as well as a radio host and television presenter. His 10-year-old 'Intelligence for Your Life Radio Show' reaches 14.2 Million listeners/week, and is syndicated by Teshmedia on 400 stations in US, Canada, and the UK...

 and Delilah
Delilah Rene
Delilah Rene Luke , almost always known mononymously as Delilah, is an American radio personality, author, and songwriter, best known as the host of a nationally syndicated nightly U.S...

 nighttime shows also play this format around the same time as their respective affiliates. Some radio stations, even those that do not play full-time Christmas music prior to Christmas Eve, play Christmas music commercial-free the entire day on Christmas Day and often a portion of Christmas Eve as well (e.g. KOIT
KOIT-FM
KOIT-FM is an Lite Rock-formatted radio station in the San Francisco Bay Area of the United States. Its slogan is "Lite Rock, Less Talk". The station's programming was also simulcast for many years on 1260 AM...

), with only interruptions for Christmas messages from station personnel and personnel from the station's parent company. (This is also the case on home shopping
Home shopping
Home shopping commonly refers to the electronic retailing/home shopping channels industry, which includes such billion dollar television-based and e-commerce companies as HSN, QVC, eBay, ShopNBC, Buy.com, and Amazon.com, as well as traditional mail order and brick and mortar retailers as Hammacher...

 TV networks.)

Some in the industry speculate that more stations may start programming 24/7 Christmas music as early as November 1 each year, which could result in dozens of stations (instead of the half-dozen or so stations in prior years) "taking the plunge" on that first day after Halloween
Halloween
Hallowe'en , also known as Halloween or All Hallows' Eve, is a yearly holiday observed around the world on October 31, the night before All Saints' Day...

 (although November 1 is the Day of the Dead
Day of the Dead
Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in many cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it attains the quality...

, the reason for Halloween's existence). As of the last week of October 2010, four stations had changed to the format. Two of them (WSMM
WSMM
WSMM is an FM radio station licensed to New Carlisle, Indiana. The station broadcasts at 102.3 MHz and broadcasts an oldies format branded as Oldies 102.3, The Stream. The station's programming is derived from Dial Global Local's Oldies Plus format. It is owned by Artistic Media Partners. On...

 in South Bend, Indiana
South Bend, Indiana
The city of South Bend is the county seat of St. Joseph County, Indiana, United States, on the St. Joseph River near its southernmost bend, from which it derives its name. As of the 2010 Census, the city had a total of 101,168 residents; its Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 316,663...

 and an admittedly-stunting WSHP
WSHP
WSHP, "North Pole Radio 95.7," is an FM radio station owned by Artistic Media Partners in Lafayette, Indiana. The station operates on 95.7 MHz. . The studios are located at 3824 South 18th Street in Lafayette, Indiana with the tower facility located in rural eastern Warren County, IN near...

 in Lafayette, Indiana
Lafayette, Indiana
Lafayette is a city in and the county seat of Tippecanoe County, Indiana, United States, northwest of Indianapolis. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 67,140. West Lafayette, on the other side of the Wabash River, is home to Purdue University, which has a large impact on...

) did so on their analog channel; the other two were automated
Broadcast automation
Broadcast automation incorporates the use of broadcast programming technology to automate broadcasting operations. Used either at a broadcast network, radio station or a television station, it can run a facility in the absence of a human operator...

 digital-only channels, WBEB
WBEB
WBEB is a radio station broadcasting a Soft Rock/Adult Contemporary format. Licensed to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, it serves the Greater Philadelphia metropolitan area. It first began broadcasting in 1963 under the call sign WDVR. The station is currently owned by Jerry Lee...

 HD
HD Radio
HD Radio, which originally stood for "Hybrid Digital", is the trademark for iBiquity's in-band on-channel digital radio technology used by AM and FM radio stations to transmit audio and data via a digital signal in conjunction with their analog signals...

2 and WPEN HD
HD Radio
HD Radio, which originally stood for "Hybrid Digital", is the trademark for iBiquity's in-band on-channel digital radio technology used by AM and FM radio stations to transmit audio and data via a digital signal in conjunction with their analog signals...

2, both in Philadelphia. The number of "all-Christmas" radio stations indeed jumped on November 1; for instance, four stations in upstate New York
Upstate New York
Upstate New York is the region of the U.S. state of New York that is located north of the core of the New York metropolitan area.-Definition:There is no clear or official boundary between Upstate New York and Downstate New York...

 adopted the format that morning. HD Radio also allows for the expansion of Christmas music beyond Christmas Day and into early January, much as WLIT
WLIT
WLIT-FM is a radio station licensed to Chicago, Illinois, featuring a format of adult contemporary music. The station is currently owned by Clear Channel Communications.In February 2006, WLIT began broadcasting in HD Radio...

 does after Christmas.

In 2011, the first station in North America to adopt a 24/7 all-Christmas format was WEZW in Wildwood Crest, New Jersey
Wildwood Crest, New Jersey
Wildwood Crest is a borough in Cape May County, New Jersey, United States. It is part of the Ocean City Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2000 United States Census, the borough population was 3,980....

, which serves the southeastern corner of that state, including Cape May
Cape May, New Jersey
Cape May is a city at the southern tip of Cape May Peninsula in Cape May County, New Jersey, where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean and is one of the country's oldest vacation resort destinations. It is part of the Ocean City Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 United States...

 and the fringes of Atlantic City
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Atlantic City is a city in Atlantic County, New Jersey, United States, and a nationally renowned resort city for gambling, shopping and fine dining. The city also served as the inspiration for the American version of the board game Monopoly. Atlantic City is located on Absecon Island on the coast...

. WEZW switched on October 16, some 68 days prior to Christmas. What makes WEZW's case unusual is that in previous years, stations that changed to Christmas music in mid-October were generally stunting
Stunting (broadcasting)
In radio broadcasting, stunting occurs when a station abruptly airs programming that is seemingly uncharacteristic compared to what they normally play...

 (see below) in anticipation of a change to a different format after the Christmas holiday; WEZW claims not to be doing so, and says they will change back to their previous adult contemporary format after Christmas. However, there is significant doubt about this, since WEZW is not selling commercials for the all-Christmas programming. If WEZW stays true to their word, it would obliterate—by over a week—the previous record for the earliest change by a non-stunting commercial analog station. As of November 21, 2011 (three days before Thanksgiving), there were over 150 commercial U.S. radio stations airing 24/7 Christmas music.

Christmas music as a stunt format


Christmas music is a popular stunt format
Stunting (broadcasting)
In radio broadcasting, stunting occurs when a station abruptly airs programming that is seemingly uncharacteristic compared to what they normally play...

, used when a station is transitioning to a different format. For instance, a rock music station changing to a rhythmic oldies format will often air Christmas music in-between. This can occur at times when Christmas music seems out of place, such as in summer. The end of the calendar year is a common time of year for format switches. As such, Christmas music may be aired for a prolonged period of time from as early as October and/or extend as late as New Year's Day
New Year's Day
New Year's Day is observed on January 1, the first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar as well as the Julian calendar used in ancient Rome...

, while the station prepares the switch. Conversely, when 94.9 in Atlanta
Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. According to the 2010 census, Atlanta's population is 420,003. Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, which is home to 5,268,860 people and is the ninth largest metropolitan area in...

 changed from adult contemporary to country music
Country music
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

 in the middle of December 2006, it abruptly stopped playing its annual Christmas music a week before the holiday.

A brief 24/7 Christmas music format is also common during Christmas in July
Christmas in July
Christmas in July refers to Christmas-themed celebrations held in July.In the northern hemisphere some people throw parties during July that mimic Christmas celebrations, bringing the atmosphere of Christmas but with warmer temperatures. Parties may include Santa Claus, ice cream and other cold...

 stunts.

Christmas music on satellite and internet radio


Outside of traditional AM/FM radio, satellite radio
Satellite radio
Satellite radio is an analogue or digital radio signal that is relayed through one or more satellites and thus can be received in a much wider geographical area than terrestrial FM radio stations...

 providers XM
XM Satellite Radio
XM Satellite Radio is one of two satellite radio services in the United States and Canada, operated by Sirius XM Radio. It provides pay-for-service radio, analogous to cable television. Its service includes 73 different music channels, 39 news, sports, talk and entertainment channels, 21 regional...

 and Sirius
Sirius Satellite Radio
Sirius Satellite Radio is a satellite radio service operating in North America, owned by Sirius XM Radio.Headquartered in New York City, with smaller studios in Los Angeles and Memphis, Sirius was officially launched on July 1, 2002 and currently provides 69 streams of music and 65 streams of...

 typically devote multiple channels to different genres of Christmas music during the holiday season. Internet radio
Internet radio
Internet radio is an audio service transmitted via the Internet...

 services such as AOL Radio
AOL Radio
AOL Radio powered by Slacker, , is an online radio service available only in the United States.- Roots :...

, AccuRadio
AccuRadio
AccuRadio is an independent, multichannel Internet radio property. AccuRadio reaches nearly a million listeners per month. Based on press releases at andomedia.com, Accuradio is usually about the tenth most listened to web streaming service, although that varies from month to month, among all US...

, Live365
Live365
Live365 is an Internet radio network where members can create their own online radio station or listen to other Live365 broadcasters' online stations. As of October 2006, there were about 6,500 active stations, some of which play niche genres seldom heard on AM/FM radio...

 and Slacker
Slacker (music service)
Slacker Radio is an interactive Internet radio service available in the US and Canada. Listeners can access the service on the web, through mobile apps on multiple smartphones as well as on Slacker Personal Radio Players and other devices. It allows users to create and share customized music stations...

 also offer Christmas music channels, some of them available year-round. Citadel Media produced The Christmas Channel
The Christmas Channel
The Christmas Channel is an American radio network that primarily airs traditional and popular Christmas music to 35 affiliate radio stations across the United States...

, a syndicated 24-hour radio network
Radio network
There are two types of radio networks currently in use around the world: the one-to-many broadcast type commonly used for public information and mass media entertainment; and the two-way type used more commonly for public safety and public services such as police, fire, taxicabs, and delivery...

, during the holiday season in past years (though in 2010, Citadel has indicated it will instead include Christmas music on its regular Classic Hits network). Music Choice
Music Choice
Music Choice is a United States company that programs music and produces music-related content for digital cable, cell phones, and cable modem subscribers in the US. Music Choice programs dozens of audio music channels for digital cable subscribers, as well as programs and produces music-related...

 offers holiday music to its digital cable
Digital cable
Digital cable is a generic term for any type of cable television distribution using digital video compression or distribution. The technology was originally developed by Motorola.-Background:...

, cable modem
Cable modem
A cable modem is a type of network bridge and modem that provides bi-directional data communication via radio frequency channels on a HFC and RFoG infrastructure. Cable modems are primarily used to deliver broadband Internet access in the form of cable Internet, taking advantage of the high...

, and mobile phone
Mobile phone
A mobile phone is a device which can make and receive telephone calls over a radio link whilst moving around a wide geographic area. It does so by connecting to a cellular network provided by a mobile network operator...

 subscribers between November 1 and Christmas on its "Sounds of the Seasons" channel (Music Choice also mixes Christmas music into the regular playlist on its "Soft Rock
Soft rock
Soft rock is a style of music which uses the techniques of rock music to compose a softer, more toned-down sound. Soft rock songs generally tend to focus on themes like love, everyday life and relationships. The genre tends to make heavy use of acoustic guitars, pianos, synthesizers and sometimes...

" channel during this time). DMX
DMX (music)
DMX is a "multi-sensory" branding agency based in Austin, Texas. DMX also provides music for cable and satellite television networks worldwide, including DirecTV.-History:...

 provides holiday music as part of its SonicTap music service for digital cable and DirecTV
DirecTV
DirecTV is an American direct broadcast satellite service provider and broadcaster based in El Segundo, California. Its satellite service, launched on June 17, 1994, transmits digital satellite television and audio to households in the United States, Latin America, and the Anglophone Caribbean. ...

 subscribers, as does Dish Network
Dish Network
Dish Network Corporation is the second largest pay TV provider in the United States, providing direct broadcast satellite service—including satellite television, audio programming, and interactive television services—to 14.337 million commercial and residential customers in the United States. Dish...

 via its in-house Dish CD music channels. Services such as Muzak also distribute Christmas music to retail stores for use as in-store background music during the holidays.

The growing popularity of Internet radio
Internet radio
Internet radio is an audio service transmitted via the Internet...

 has inspired other media outlets to begin offering Christmas music. In 2009 Phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is the capital, and largest city, of the U.S. state of Arizona, as well as the sixth most populated city in the United States. Phoenix is home to 1,445,632 people according to the official 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data...

 television station KTVK
KTVK
KTVK is a full-service, independent television station in Phoenix, Arizona. It broadcasts in digital on UHF channel 24 from a transmitter located on South Mountain in Phoenix, and can be seen across northern Arizona on a network of nearly two dozen translator stations...

 launched four commercial-free online radio stations including Ho Ho Radio, which streams Christmas music throughout the month of December.

Although the Christmas season by definition runs until January 6 (Epiphany), and is observed until at least New Year's Eve
New Year's Eve
New Year's Eve is observed annually on December 31, the final day of any given year in the Gregorian calendar. In modern societies, New Year's Eve is often celebrated at social gatherings, during which participants dance, eat, consume alcoholic beverages, and watch or light fireworks to mark the...

 by the public, almost all broadcasters skip the last Twelve Days of Christmas
Twelve Days of Christmas
The Twelve Days of Christmas are the festive days beginning Christmas Day . This period is also known as Christmastide and Twelvetide. The Twelfth Night of Christmas is always on the evening of 5 January, but the Twelfth Day can either precede or follow the Twelfth Night according to which...

, abruptly ending all holiday music at or even before midnight on December 25, and not playing a single Christmas song again until the next November. (Several radio stations actually promote this, with ads that proudly proclaim to listeners weary of the Christmas music that the station's regular format will indeed return on December 26, as soon as Christmas Day is over.) It is not uncommon for broadcasters to market the twelve-day period preceding Christmas (December 14 to 25) as the "Twelve Days of Christmas", contrary to the traditional definition. Much Christmas music is so closely associated with the holiday that it would be difficult or impossible to play after Christmas Day without bringing up references that the broadcaster may wish to ignore (such as those that involve Santa Claus
Santa Claus
Santa Claus is a folklore figure in various cultures who distributes gifts to children, normally on Christmas Eve. Each name is a variation of Saint Nicholas, but refers to Santa Claus...

, who has already come and gone by Christmas morning). On occasion, some Christmas music stations will continue to play at least some Christmas music through the weekend following Christmas, or even through New Year's Day, but never any later.

In Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

, a temporary radio station named Christmas FM
Christmas FM
Christmas FM is Ireland's radio station dedicated to the religious and secular festival of Christmas. It is a temporary licensed station, traditionally broadcasting from the last weekend in November until the 26th of December and has operated covering Dublin in 2008, Dublin and Cork in 2009 and...

broadcasts on a temporary license in Dublin and Cork
Cork (city)
Cork is the second largest city in the Republic of Ireland and the island of Ireland's third most populous city. It is the principal city and administrative centre of County Cork and the largest city in the province of Munster. Cork has a population of 119,418, while the addition of the suburban...

 from 28 November to 26 December, solely playing Christmas music.

In the U.K., the Festive Fifty
Festive Fifty
The Festive Fifty was originally an annual list of the year's fifty best songs compiled at the end of the year and voted for by listeners to John Peel's BBC Radio 1 show...

 list of indie rock
Indie rock
Indie rock is a genre of alternative rock that originated in the United Kingdom and the United States in the 1980s. Indie rock is extremely diverse, with sub-genres that include lo-fi, post-rock, math rock, indie pop, dream pop, noise rock, space rock, sadcore, riot grrrl and emo, among others...

 songs is broadcast starting on Christmas Day, originally by BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 1 is a British national radio station operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation which also broadcasts internationally, specialising in current popular music and chart hits throughout the day. Radio 1 provides alternative genres after 7:00pm including electronic dance, hip hop, rock...

 DJ John Peel
John Peel
John Robert Parker Ravenscroft, OBE , known professionally as John Peel, was an English disc jockey, radio presenter, record producer and journalist. He was the longest-serving of the original BBC Radio 1 DJs, broadcasting regularly from 1967 until his death in 2004...

, and nowadays by Internet radio station Dandelion Radio
Dandelion Radio
Dandelion Radio is an internet radio station founded in June 2006 with the aim of pursuing the musical legacy of the popular and influential BBC Radio 1 disk jockey John Peel...

.

See also



Further reading

  • "Seasonal Songs With Twang, Funk and Harmony", New York Times, November 26, 2010.
  • Stories Behind The Best-Loved Songs Of Christmas by Ace Collins, 160 pages, ISBN 0-7624-2112-6, 2004.
  • The International Book of Christmas Carols by W. Ehret and G. K. Evans, Stephen Greene Press, Vermont, ISBN 0-8289-0378-6, 1980.
  • Victorian Songs and Music by Olivia Bailey, Caxton Publishing, ISBN 1-84067-468-7, 2002.
  • Spirit of Christmas: A History of Our Best-Loved Carols by Virginia Reynolds and Lesley Ehlers, ISBN 0-88088-414-2, 2000.
  • Christmas Music Companion Fact Book by Dale V. Nobbman, ISBN 1-57424-067-6, 2000.
  • Joel Whitburn presents Christmas in the charts, 1920-2004 by Joel Whitburn, ISBN 0-89820-161-6, 2004.

External links