The 1994 carol concurrently returns to the Streaming Songs list, up 58% to 15.2 million U.S. streams in the tracking week ending Nov. 14, according to Nielsen Music.
"Christmas" returns to both charts the earliest that it ever has since it began its yearly jaunt back onto the Hot 100 beginning in 2012 (see below for further timeline details about the song). Last year, it re-entered at No. 29, and at No. 30 on Streaming Songs, on charts dated Dec. 1, 2018. To compare, that week it drew 14.4 million streams, vs. this week's 15.2 million.
The last time that "Christmas" scaled Streaming Songs, it dashed all the way to No. 1, crowning the Jan. 5-dated chart with 51.9 million streams in the tracking week ending Dec. 27 (which, of course, included Christmas Day).
Aiding its total this season, a new video, featuring unreleased footage from the original 1994 clip's shoot, was released Nov. 1 (with 54% of the song's overall streams in the latest tracking week from video views).
While Carey boasts the first holiday song on the Hot 100 and Streaming Songs this season, chances are she won't be alone for long. The closest Yuletide track below the 50-position Streaming Songs threshold, Wham!'s "Last Christmas," shows 8.2 million streams, up 83%, followed by Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" (7.8 million, up 102%) and Burl Ives' "A Holly Jolly Christmas" (7.3 million, up 75%).
The streaming total of "Christmas" accounts for the bulk of its Hot 100 activity, although the song also drew 9.5 million in airplay audience (up 217%) and sold 4,000 (up 1%) in the tracking week. Its airplay, as well as its streaming and sales, should only continue to surge as more adult radio stations, among other formats, flip to all-holiday music. The song scored 43 and 17 plays on KOST Los Angeles and WLTW New York, respectively, in the week ending Nov. 17, with both stations among those that have, ahead of Thanksgiving, begun decorating their playlists with wall-to-wall holiday songs.
Looking ahead to its expected radio run this season, "Christmas" has peaked with over 40 million in weekly all-format airplay audience in each of the past four holiday seasons.
As for the history of Carey's holiday favorite on the Hot 100, it's every bit as tangled as Christmas tree lights just taken down from the attic.
To recap, Carey's album Merry Christmas was originally released on Nov. 1, 1994 (and rereleased this Nov. 1, coincidentally, the 100th and 125th anniversaries of the first Billboard magazine, dated Nov. 1 1894). However, "Christmas," from the set, was not then made a commercially-available physical single (i.e., it was not available for purchase as a cassette or CD single on its own in stores) and, per rules at the time, was ineligible to chart on the Hot 100. Still, it became a big radio hit upon its arrival, reaching No. 12 on the Radio Songs chart that season.
In December 1998, all cuts became eligible for the Hot 100 and beginning in 2012, coinciding with the addition of streaming to the chart's data feed, "Christmas" has hit the Hot 100 annually since, as, per current rules, songs released years earlier 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.
In December 2017, "Christmas" hit the Hot 100's top 10 at last, while last season it rose to No. 3, becoming the highest-charting holiday hit since "The Chipmunk Song," by The Chipmunks with David Seville, led for four weeks beginning Dec. 22, 1958.