Let's unwrap the many highlights of the Hot 100's new No. 1. The song, on Columbia/Legacy Records, is the 1,095th leader in the chart's 61-year history.
Streams, sales & airplay: "Christmas" tops the Streaming Songs chart for a second consecutive week, and third total frame, after a week at No. 1 last holiday season, up 30% to 45.6 million U.S. streams in the week ending Dec. 12, according to Nielsen Music.
It also takes over at No. 1 on Digital Song Sales, gaining by 185% to 27,000 sold in the week ending Dec. 12. The song previously led the list dated Dec. 24, 2005.
On Radio Songs, "Christmas" climbs 32-27, improving by 11% to 34.4 million in all-format airplay audience in the week ending Dec. 15.
First holiday No. 1 on Hot 100 in 61 years: Carey's "Christmas" is the second holiday No. 1 ever on the Hot 100, joining The Chipmunks' "The Chipmunk Song" (with David Seville), which ruled for four weeks in 1958-59. (Seville, real name Ross Bagdasarian Sr., wrote the latter and performed all voices of the cartoon characters.)
Notably, for several years in the Hot 100's history (1963-72; 1983-85, barring occasional exceptions), holiday songs were not eligible to chart, instead appearing on separate holiday rankings.
Carey's 19th Hot 100 No. 1: Carey adds her 19th Hot 100 No. 1, extending her record for the most among soloists.
She also moves to within one of The Beatles' overall-record 20 Hot 100 No. 1s.
The acts with the most Hot 100 No. 1s, dating to the chart's Aug. 4, 1958, inception: The Beatles (20), Carey (19), Rihanna (14), Michael Jackson (13), and Madonna and The Supremes (12 each).
80th week at No. 1: Carey collects her record-extending 80th total week at No. 1 on the Hot 100. The top five acts who've spent the most weeks at the summit: Carey (80), Rihanna (60), The Beatles (59), Boyz II Men (50) and Drake (49).
Of Carey's 19 Hot 100 No. 1s, she spent the most time in the top spot with "One Sweet Day," with Boyz II Men: a then-record 16 weeks, in 1995-96. The ballad solely held the mark for the most weeks at No. 1 until Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's "Despacito," featuring Justin Bieber, matched its reign in 2017. This August, Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road," featuring Billy Ray Cyrus, rewrote the record, dominating for 19 weeks.
New record span of No. 1s: "Christmas" grants Carey the record for the longest span of Hot 100 No. 1s: 29 years, four months and two weeks, dating to her first week at No. 1 on the chart dated Aug. 4, 1990, with "Vision of Love."
Carey passes Cher, whose solo No. 1s span 27 years and five months, from "Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves" (from its first week at No. 1 on Nov. 6, 1971) through "Believe" (through its last week on top on April 3, 1999). (If Cher's career as half of duo Sonny & Cher were combined with her solo output, her No. 1 span would cover 33 years, seven months and two weeks, from Sonny & Cher's "I Got You Babe," which reached the top in August 1965, through "Believe.")
No. 1s in the '90s, '00s & '10s: Carey joins an elite club of acts with Hot 100 No. 1s in the 1990s, 2000s & 2010s. Its previously-inducted members: Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears and Usher.
Aguilera tallied one No. 1 in the '90s, three in the '00s and one in the '10s; Spears scored one in the '90s and two each in the '00s and '10s; and Usher led once in the '90s, seven times in the '00s and once this decade.
Carey's decade-by-decade breakout: 14 No. 1s in the '90s, four in the '00s and now one in the '10s.
Notably, no act has ever logged time at No. 1 on the Hot 100 in four distinct decades, consecutively or otherwise. Thus, if "Christmas" is No. 1 on the chart dated Jan. 4, two weeks from now, Carey would become the first artist to achieve the honor.
11 years between No. 1s: With "Christmas," Carey tops the Hot 100 for the first time since April 19, 2008, when her 18th No. 1, "Touch My Body," spent its second of two weeks on top. Her 11-year and eight-month gap between No. 1s marks the longest since Dr. Dre went 12 years, two months and three weeks between his featured turn on Blackstreet's "No Diggity" in 1996 and "Crack a Bottle," with Eminem and 50 Cent, in 2009.
Among artists in lead roles on both book-ending hits, Carey ends the longest No. 1 drought since Cher, whose "Believe" hit the top spot 10 days shy of 25 years since she'd last led with "Dark Lady" in 1974.
Record longest trip to No. 1: As noted in December 2017, when Carey's then-23-year-old "Christmas" rose 11-9, the carol completed the longest journey to the top 10 from a song's release. Now, it wraps the most scenic route to No. 1, at over 25 years.
Among other songs that took time to reign in various forms, Elton John's Princess Diana tribute "Candle in the Wind 1997" ruled for 14 weeks in 1997-98 after he'd originally recorded the song (as a Marilyn Monroe ode) in 1973; it first reached the Hot 100 as a live version, hitting No. 6 in 1988. Plus, John sent the original "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" to No. 2 in 1974, before its live update, with George Michael, rose to No. 1 in 1992.
Considering remake-related examples, Los Lobos' "La Bamba" led in 1987, after Ritchie Valens' original had hit No. 22 in 1959, and earlier this year, Ariana Grande's "7 Rings" spent eight weeks it No. 1; the song credits, among its 10 writers, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, as it contains a portion of "My Favorite Things," written by the pair 60 years earlier.
At 35 total Hot 100 weeks to No. 1, "Christmas" also breaks the record for most weeks on the chart until reaching the summit. It passes Los Del Rio's "Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)," which took 33 chart weeks in 1995-96; it first reached No. 45 in September 1995, departed the survey for four months in January-May 1996 and ascended to No. 1 for its first of 14 weeks on top that August.
As for the 35 weeks on the Hot 100 for "Christmas" …
'Christmas' on the Hot 100: Let's recount further details behind a song from 1994 just hitting the Hot 100's top spot for the first time 25 years later.
Upon its initial release, on Carey's album Merry Christmas (released on Nov. 1, 1994, coincidentally, the 100th anniversary of the first Billboard magazine, dated Nov. 1, 1894), the song was not a commercially-available single and, per rules at the time, was ineligible to chart on the Hot 100; it did reach No. 12 on the Radio Songs chart that season. In December 1998, album cuts became eligible for the Hot 100 and "Christmas" dented the chart for the first time on Jan. 8, 2000, spending a week at No. 83.
Beginning in 2012, and coinciding with the addition of streaming to the Hot 100's formula, the song has hit the Hot 100 annually, as, per current rules, older songs are eligible to debut or return if ranking in the top 50 and are gaining in multiple metrics with a significant reason for their resurgences.
25th anniversary boost: The song's profile has risen this year, with Carey releasing a 25th-anniversary edition of Merry Christmas; a new video, featuring previously unreleased footage; and a new CD single, marking the song's first-ever release as a stand-alone commercial single. (For two days in the tracking week ending Dec. 12, Carey sold CD singles of "Christmas" on her website, available for pre-order with consumers receiving a download upon purchase.)
Carey's first seven Billboard 200 entries have now generated at least one Hot 100 No. 1 each: "Christmas" parent album Merry Christmas sports a Hot 100 No. 1 at last, retroactively making for an impressive streak for Carey, as her first seven entries on the Billboard 200 have now all generated at least one Hot 100 leader each.
Here's a recap of Carey's first seven charted titles on the Billboard 200 and their amount of Hot 100 No. 1s: Mariah Carey, 1990 (four); Emotions, 1991 (one); MTV Unplugged, 1992 (one); Music Box, 1993 (two); Merry Christmas, 1994 (one); Daydream, 1995 (three); and Butterfly, 1997 (two).
Carey's eighth Billboard 200 appearance was VH1 Divas Live, with Celine Dion, Gloria Estefan, Aretha Franklin and Shania Twain, followed by her best-of # 1's, neither of which generated any Hot 100 No. 1s. Her next entry, 1999's Rainbow, produced two No. 1s, while 2005's The Emancipation of Mimi (two) and 2008's E=MC2 (one) combine to give Carey 10 albums that have generated Hot 100 leaders.
(Reflecting both her sustained success and the odyssey to the top for her latest leader, Carey logged 10 Hot 100 No. 1s after releasing "Christmas," from "Fantasy" in 1995 through "Touch My Body" in 2008.)
Writers & producers: Carey wrote and produced "Christmas" with Walter Afanasieff. She adds her 18th Hot 100 No. 1 as a writer, having co-written all of her leaders except her 1992 remake of Jackson 5's "I'll Be There." She notches her 14th No. 1 as a producer.
Afanasieff achieves his fourth Hot 100 No. 1 as a writer, following co-writes of Carey's "Hero," "One Sweet Day" and "My All." He earns his 11th leader as a producer, following his work on Carey's "Love Takes Time," "I'll Be There," "Dreamlover," "Hero," "One Sweet Day" and "My All," as well as Michael Bolton's "When a Man Loves a Woman"; Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle's "A Whole New World (Aladdin's Theme)"; Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On"; and Savage Garden's "I Knew I Loved You."
No. 1 Holiday 100: Along with its new Hot 100 reign, "Christmas" concurrently tops the multi-metric Holiday 100 chart for a 38th total week, of the 43 overall frames in the chart's history, dating to its 2011 inception.
Find out more Hot 100 news on Billboard.com, including a rundown of the rest of the top 10. Plus, for all chart news, you can listen (and subscribe) to Billboard's Pop Shop Podcast and follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both Twitter and Instagram. And again, be sure to visit Billboard.com tomorrow (Dec. 17), when all charts, including the Hot 100 in its entirety, will refresh.