What Are the Top-Selling Holiday Songs?
It's that time of year when seemingly every radio station switches to a mix of Nat King Cole, Bruce Springsteen, and Brenda Lee, cities and towns look a little more illuminated than usual, and you start digging through your music collection (which likely still features some compact discs -- maybe even vinyl) for a soundtrack to whatever festivities you have planned for the end of the year.
But what are the biggest-selling holiday songs ever? It's tricky to create a list that spans the long history of holiday music, given the changes in how sales have been tracked over the years. According to Nielsen Music, which began tracking digital sales in 2003, the 10 holiday favorites below are the most downloaded of all time.
10. "Last Christmas," Wham! (1984)
This oft-covered single (you may have heard Taylor Swift's rendition) has sold 751,000 downloads, proving sometimes it just doesn't get better than the original, especially when that original features George Michael.
9. "Jingle Bell Rock," Bobby Helms (1957)
The twangy single became a holiday classic almost instantly, and was the biggest song of the rockabilly pioneer's career, with 780,000 downloads to date. Less known is the fact that those iconic opening chords came courtesy of Nashville guitar legend Hank Garland.
8. "Feliz Navidad," Jose Feliciano (1970)
Spanglish (and its irresistible chorus) made this track from the Puerto Rican singer-songwriter a crossover sensation, with 808,000 downloads to date.
7. "Where Are You Christmas?" Faith Hill (2000)
One of the breakout singles from the blockbuster soundtrack to Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas remake, the ballad's garnered 897,000 downloads -- after all, there's no time like the holidays for a little schmaltz.
6. "Christmas Canon," Trans-Siberian Orchestra (1998)
Every '90s kid remembers this classic remake of the even more classic Pachelbel's Canon in D Major, which has been downloaded a whopping 918,000 times.
5. "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," Brenda Lee (1958)
We may think of it as a sentimental standard now, but when it was recorded, this rockabilly tune was almost too big to fail. Written by holiday hitmaker Johnny Marks ("Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Holly Jolly Christmas"), and recorded by a crew of Nashville studio stars including Grady Martin, Boots Randolph, and Buddy Harman, its star -- Lee -- was only 13 when she laid down the track. Today, it's sold a million downloads.
4. "Mistletoe," Justin Bieber (2011)
The Biebs hit holiday-pop gold with "Mistletoe," a too-catchy-to-resist acoustic number that had ladies and gents of all ages swooning to the tune of 1.1 million downloads.
3. "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)," Trans-Siberian Orchestra (1996)
Another '90s classic from the TSO, this rockin' track's racked up 1.3 million downloads to date.
2. "Do You Want To Build A Snowman?" Kristen Bell, Agatha Lee Monn & Katie Lopez (2013)
The melancholy track was almost dropped from the smash-hit Frozen soundtrack because it's so dark. But it's become the second-most downloaded holiday song of all time (and probably second-saddest to "The Christmas Shoes") with 1.6 million downloads to date.
1. "All I Want For Christmas Is You," Mariah Carey (1994)
Naturally, Mariah leads this list by a mile with 3.2 million downloads to date, as the 1994 track only gets more popular with each passing holiday season.