All charts, including the Hot 100, will refresh tomorrow (Dec. 29) on Billboard.com.
As noted last week, the details of how "Christmas" reaches a new high on the Hot 100 more than 21 years after its release: The song was first released as a promotional single to radio, but not as a commercially-available single, in 1994. It ushered in Carey's first seasonal album, Merry Christmas. The song's lack of original retail availability is key, as, per rules at the time, only tracks available as singles in stores could chart on the Hot 100. (This was the pre-digital era, when the only way to purchase individual songs was via physical singles, i.e., on CD, cassette or vinyl.) "Christmas" hit No. 6 on Adult Contemporary, No. 9 on Pop Songs and No. 12 on the all-genre Radio Songs tally (with all three charts based solely on airplay) in the winter of 1994-95, but was not eligible for the Hot 100.
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By December 1998, non-commercially-available titles were allowed to appear on the Hot 100, and "Christmas" first hit the chart dated Jan. 8, 2000, spending a week at No. 83. By 2012, rules were amended so that older songs were allowed to chart on the Hot 100 if ranking in the top 50 and showing noteworthy continued gains. On Dec. 22, 2012, "Christmas" re-entered at No. 29; it rose to No. 21 two weeks later. It since hit highs of No. 26 (in winter 2013-14) and No. 35 (2014-15) before its new best rank this week.
As for any potential further Hot 100 highs for "Christmas," they'll surely have to wait at least another year, as this week's chart covers the last full frame of data measurement leading up to Christmas Day. The song will likely depart the chart after this week and, like Santa, return next holiday season.
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"Christmas" has sold 3.1 million downloads (since Nielsen Music began scanning digital sales in 2003), ruling as the best-selling holiday download to date, while the Merry Christmas album has sold 5.5 million copies.