Christmas songs can sell well. This was true in the past, this is true in the present, and this will presumably remain true in the future. Some of the best-selling Christmas songs are old classics. In contrast, others are much more recent releases.
What Are the 10 Best-Selling Christmas Songs of All-Time?
Here are what Newsweek listed as the 10 best-selling Christmas songs as of 2019:
10. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” – Brenda Lee – At Least 1 Million Copies
Brenda Lee is a U.S. music legend. For proof, look no further than the fact that she was the fourth most popular act of the 1960s, falling behind Elvis Presley, the Beatles, and Ray Charles. Lee sang “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” when she was 14. Even so, the song has become a Christmas classic.
9. “Mary, Did You Know” – Pentatonix – At Least 1 Million Copies
Pentatonix are an a cappella group. People tend to know them for a couple of things. One would be their covers. The other would be their Christmas songs. “Mary, Did You Know” counts as both. After all, it is a Michael English song that can be interpreted as a Christmas song. Regardless, the song went platinum in February of 2018.
8. “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24” – Trans-Siberian Orchestra – At Least 1.3 Million Copies
Despite the name, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra isn’t some kind of orchestra connected to the railways that connect Western Russian with the Russian Far East. Instead, they are an American rock band with a reputation for elaborate concerts. This song is a combination of “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” and “Shchedryk” with at least 1.3 million downloads as of 2016.
7. “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” – Kristen Bell – At Least 1.6 Million Copies
Frozen was a massive success. Its amazing soundtrack did much of the work. Amusingly, “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” almost didn’t make it into the movie. As the story goes, it was too complicated, so the people behind the music had to fight for its inclusion. Fortunately, they won that fight, thus resulting in one of the movie’s highlights. For various reasons, people then proceeded to latch on to the song as a Christmas song.
6. “Mistletoe” – Justin Bieber – At Least 2 Million Copies
Justin Bieber’s second studio album was a Christmas album. “Mistletoe” was the lead single, meaning that it showcased his growth as a singer in the early 2010s. We know it has sold at least two million copies because of confirmation in 2015.
5. “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” – Band Aid – At Least 2.5 Million Copies
Ethiopia suffered a horrible famine in the 1980s. Primarily, this was because of record low rainfall throughout much of the country. However, the situation was worsened by multiple internal conflicts. Bob Geldof and Midge Ure founded Band Aid to raise awareness of famine relief efforts in Ethiopia. Strictly speaking, it wasn’t Christmas in the country.
After all, the celebration of religious festivals wasn’t a thing under Ethiopia’s then-government. Furthermore, the country is Orthodox, meaning that it celebrates Christmas on January 7 rather than on December 25. Still, the sentiment behind “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” was very clear. Band Aid succeeded beyond Geldof and Ure’s dreams by becoming the number one Christmas song in its year. Since then, there have been both a Band Aid 20 and a Band Aid 30.
4. “All I Want For Christmas Is You” – Mariah Carey – At Least 6 Million Copies
Generally speaking, modern Christmas songs aren’t remembered for very long. That makes sense because most Christmas songs aren’t remembered for very long. Yes, we sing the Christmas classics. The thing is – the Christmas classics are the Christmas songs that have stood the test of time while their contemporaries have faded from recollection. Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is a rare example of a modern Christmas song that has become a Christmas classic. It sees a surge in popularity every Christmas season even though it came out in 1994.
3. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” – Gene Autry – At Least 12.5 Million Copies
Christmas has a mythology of its own. Santa Claus is the leading figure. After which, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a strong contender for the number two position. Amusingly, Robert L. May created the character in 1939. Soon enough, his brother-in-law Johnny Marks adapted the story into a song. Gene Autry’s version of the song from 1949 should be the most famous version of the song. It was the number one song on the U.S. charts for the week of Christmas in that year. Since then, Autry’s version has sold at least 12.5 million copies.
2. “Silent Night” – Bing Crosby – At Least 30 Million Copies
“Silent Night” dates to 1818. Once upon a time, people assumed that someone famous must have written it. As it turned out, “Silent Night” was composed by a school teacher based on lyrics by a Catholic priest. Many artists have interpreted “Silent Night” in their particular styles. Out of them, Bing Crosby’s version should be the most famous with more than 30 million copies sold.
1. “White Christmas” – Bing Crosby – About 50 Million Copies Sold
Speaking of which, Bing Crosby also claims the number one position with his version of “White Christmas.” This time around, he didn’t do an already popular song. Instead, he was the first individual to sing it in the 1942 movie Holiday Inn. “White Christmas” won an Oscar. Subsequently, it went on to become the best-selling song ever with 50 million copies sold. If one were to add the sales for the other versions of the song, the total would add up to more than 100 million copies sold.