"The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear." So said Buddy the Elf — and we couldn't agree more! It simply wouldn't be Christmas without those festive songs blasting from the speakers. Everybody has their favorite tunes, of course, but what are objectively the best Christmas songs of all time? Luckily, the experts at Billboard have figured it out for us...
This list is based on Billboard's "Greatest of All Time Holiday 100 Songs." The ranking takes into account each song's performance on Billboard‘s weekly Holiday 100 chart between December 2011 and January 2021. The songs are ranked using a point system that gives the most points for weeks spent at number one. Different eras are also given different weightings.
40. "(There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays" (1959)
Artist: Perry Como With Mitchell Ayers And His Orchestra
It's telling that Perry Como's 1959 version of "Home for the Holidays" is the one that people return to year after year. After all, this track has been covered by everyone from the Carpenters to Miss Piggy.
The song was written by Robert Allen and Al Stillman in just one day. Producer Mitch Miller wanted a holiday song for Como ASAP, so Allen penned the music in one afternoon before Stillman handed in the lyrics the same night.
39. "Jingle Bells"
Artist: Frank Sinatra
Surprisingly, "Jingle Bells" was not written about December 25. If you listen carefully to its lyrics, there is no mention of Christmas, December, or even the holidays. You only know it's winter because of the snow.
"Jingle Bells" was written in 1857 by James Pierpont, apparently as a Thanksgiving song for his father's Sunday school. And here's another fact to impress your friends: the song was first called "One-Horse Open Sleigh."
38. "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas"
Artist: Bing Crosby with Jud Conlon's Rhythmaires & John Scott Trotter & his Orchestra
The first version of Meredith Wilson's "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" was performed by Perry Como in 1951. And you'll find that rendition of the track a little bit higher on this ranking.
Bing Crosy's cover of "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" arrived just two months after the release of Como's version. But while it's clearly beloved, it's only the fourth-most-popular version of this song.
37. "Run Rudolph Run"
Artist: Chuck Berry
Secondhand Songs states that there are an incredible 180 different versions of Chuck Berry's "Run Rudolph Run." So it's amazing that such a popular song took so long to break into the top ten of the charts.
"Run Rudolph Run" was only a minor hit when it was first released in December 1958, landing at number 69. Then 62 years later, in January 2021, the song reached its peak position of number ten on the Billboard chart. This time difference is a record, according to Song Facts.