(As previously noted, regarding holiday songs and their eligibility, or lack thereof, for the Hot 100 over the years, chart historian Joel Whitburn notes in his book Christmas in the Charts: "From 1963 through 1972, and from 1983 through 1985 [with minimal exceptions], Billboard published a seasonal Christmas Singles chart and did not chart Christmas singles on the Hot 100." Per current Hot 100 rules, in place in recent years, older songs, including seasonal titles, can rank in the top 50 if experiencing significant multi-metric gains, and multiple holiday standards re-enter or debut each season. Plus, streaming has helped several holiday songs reach new highs on the Hot 100.)
Let's run down all 20 yuletide tunes on the latest Hot 100.
No. 7, "All I Want for Christmas Is You," Mariah Carey (down from No. 6)
No. 10, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," Andy Williams (up from No. 13, new peak)
The songs make for a historic double decoration, as multiple holiday titles rank in the Hot 100's top 10 simultaneously for the first time in the chart's 60-year history.
No. 11, "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," Brenda Lee (up from No. 18, new peak)
Lee's song jumps past its prior No. 14 peak, set in 1960, its first year on the chart (after she recorded it in 1958). It bullets at No. 12 on the Streaming Songs chart with 29.9 million U.S. streams, up 16 percent, according to Nielsen Music; roars 38-28 on Radio Songs (33.3 million in audience, up 15 percent); and dips 29-39 on Digital Song Sales but with a 2 percent gain to 7,000 sold.
"We cut that, as you do most Christmas songs, in the heat of summer," Lee recently recalled to Billboard of the recording session for "Tree." "I remember I walked into [legendary Nashville studio] the Quonset Hut, where I did everything. [Producer] Owen [Bradley] had it all decked out like Christmas. I was only 12 going on 13, so that was a biggie to me. Everybody was dressed Christmas-y and the lights were low. He had a Christmas tree. It was wonderful."
No. 12, "A Holly Jolly Christmas," Burl Ives (up from No. 21, new peak)
The late crooner boasts his highest Hot 100 rank since his first two entries, and sole top 10s, in 1962: "Little Bitty Tear" (No. 9 peak, that February) and "Funny Way of Laughin' " (No. 10, that May). He places in the top 20 for the first time since Aug. 25, 1962, when "Call Me Mr. In-Between" reached No. 19.
No. 13, "Jingle Bell Rock," Bobby Helms (up from No. 15, new peak)
No. 17, "The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)," Nat King Cole (up from No. 24, new peak)
Similar to Ives, the late Cole ranks in the Hot 100's top 20 for the first time since November 1963, when "That Sunday, That Summer" reached No. 12. (He was not officially credited on daughter Natalie Cole's virtual duet with her father on "Unforgettable," which hit No. 14 in 1991.)
No. 27, "Last Christmas," Wham! (up from No. 31, new peak)
No. 28, "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," Gene Autry (down from No. 27)
No. 32, "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow," Dean Martin (same rank)
No. 33, "Sleigh Ride," The Ronettes (up from No. 41, new peak)
The Ronettes score their first top 40 Hot 100 in 54 years; "Walking in the Rain" became their fifth and, until this week, most recent such single, reaching No. 23 in December 1964.
No. 34, "Feliz Navidad," Jose Feliciano (up from 42, new peak)
Feliciano notches his third top 40 Hot 100 hit and first in 50 years; "Light My Fire" and "Hi-Heel Sneakers" hits Nos. 3 and 25, respectively, in 1968.
No. 35, "Here Comes Santa Claus (Down Santa Claus Lane)," Gene Autry (up from No. 40, new peak)
No. 41, "(There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays," Perry Como (debut)
No. 42, "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas," Perry Como & The Fontane Sisters (debut)
Como, who died in 2001 at age 88, adds his 21st and 22nd Hot 100 entries. He had last appeared on the list with his only other charted holiday song: "Christmas Dream" reached No. 92 in December 1974.
No. 45, "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)," John & Yoko/The Plastic Ono Band With The Harlem Community Choir (debut)
John Lennon's signature seasonal song reaches the Hot 100 for the first time, after it was first released in 1971. It debuts at No. 45 on Streaming Songs (13.2 million, up 33 percent), while gaining by 10 percent to 16.6 million in airplay audience.
The late Beatle appears on the Hot 100 for the first time in over 30 years, since "Jealous Guy" (also with The Plastic Ono Band) reached No. 80 in fall 1988. Until this week, he last ranked higher with "Nobody Told Me," a No. 5 hit in 1984. Yoko Ono makes her first Hot 100 visit since 1981, when "Walking on Thin Ice" stepped to No. 58.
Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus and Mark Ronson's remake of "Happy Xmas," featuring Sean Ono Lennon, John and Yoko's son, debuts at No. 7 on Holiday Digital Song Sales (6,000 sold).
No. 47, "Wonderful Christmastime," Paul McCartney (debut)
McCartney's 1979 carol makes its first Hot 100 appearance, as it debuts at No. 50 on Streaming Songs (12.1 million, up 27 percent) and increases by 13 percent to 18.5 million in radio reach. McCartney adds the 47th Hot 100 entry of his solo career (including his work with Wings), to go along with 71 by The Beatles.
Lennon and McCartney debut solo songs on the Hot 100 simultaneously for the first time. They had last appeared on the chart together as soloists on the chart dated March 1, 1975 (in between the 1971 and 1979 releases of their current charted titles), when Lennon's "#9 Dream" ranked at No. 13 and McCartney's "Junior's Farm"/"Sally G" was at (a notable number in Beatles lore) No. 64.
No. 48, "White Christmas," Bing Crosby (re-entry)
Both the late Crosby and his iconic ballad reach the Hot 100 for the first time since 1962, when the song hit its No. 12 high.
No. 50, "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," Darlene Love (debut)
Love achieves her fifth Hot 100 hit; she notched her first three in 1963 and her fourth, "All Alone on Christmas" (from the movie Home Alone 2: Lost in New York), in January 1993, reaching No. 83. Love first recorded and released "Baby" in 1963.
No. 68, "Cozy Little Christmas," Katy Perry (debut)
Along with the 18 decades-old holiday hits above, two 2018 songs enter, led by Perry's Amazon Music exclusive (on Capitol Records). As previously reported, the song takes over at No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
No. 90, "The Christmas Song," Lauren Daigle (debut)
Daigle collects her second Hot 100 entry, below "You Say," at No. 59. The tracks rank at Nos. 1 and 2 on the Hot Christian Songs chart.