What’s the Best-Selling Christmas Song of All Time? Mariah Carey Doesn’t Make the Cut

The holiday season brings with it some classic and more recent pop Christmas jams. How do all these festive tracks stack up against each other?

Alex West - Author
By Alex West

Dec. 22 2023, Published 3:39 p.m. ET

Girl wearing headphones, listening to music around holiday decorations
Source: Getty Images

The Gist:

  • Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” is the best-selling Christmas song of all time.
  • Music sales and numbers can vary today depending on who you ask.
  • Other top singers with famous Christmas tunes include Mariah Carey, Justin Bieber, Kristen Bell, Agatha Lee Monn, Katie Lopez, and Brenda Lee.

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‘Tis the season for holiday music to take over. Love it or hate it; the catchy Christmas tunes will be on every airwave and department store radio. If you keep a tally of which songs you hear the most, it’s bound to be the same ones on repeat.

Between the old classics and the new pop hits, there’s always a holiday song for everyone. Even the metalcore and rock scene has both original Christmas songs and exciting covers. With all these options, fans must be wondering which song reigns supreme. Keep reading to find out what the best-selling Christmas song of all time is.

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Bing Crosby in a white suit
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What is the best selling Christmas song of all time?

While in today’s world it may seem like Mariah Carey should be the obvious choice, considering the way she takes over the charts year after year, “All I Want For Christmas” doesn’t stack up historically.

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The Guinness Book of World Records lists “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby as the best-selling Christmas song in both the U.S. and globally, racking up at least 50 million copies worldwide.

Mariah Carey performs during her
Source: Getty Images

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Don’t worry, Mariah fans. We can’t forget that the way people listen to music has shifted over the years, especially since 1942 when the hit came out. Streaming is the new norm and record sales are declining rapidly across the board. Also, the way sales and streams are tracked varies by who you ask.

Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in June 2003 with the most recent update in 2016. By their measures, “All I Want for Christmas” was able to secure a number one spot with 3.2 million digital downloads. That’s double what the second place slot secured with 1.6 million digital downloads for Kristen Bell, Agatha Lee Monn, and Katie Lopez’s “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” among Christmas hits.

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The 2013 song climbed over plenty of chart-topping Christmas classics like “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” due to its boost from the Disney community. Being in Frozen, which took the world by storm, put it automatically in the running.

Another honorable pop mention comes from Justin Bieber. Fangirls’ hearts everywhere were warmed up to the holiday season when he released “Mistletoe” to the world. “Last Christmas” by Wham!, which was released in 1984, barely made it onto the list in the 10th place spot with 751,000 digital downloads.

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Justin Bieber holding a coffee and his phone
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Another standard in measuring the success of a song is through RIAA certification numbers, which still gives their top slot to “All I Want for Christmas” which went 14x Platinum.

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The second-place position varies from the Nielsen SoundScan. RIAA puts “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee at number two with the Frozen hit trailing behind at number three.

Strangely, XXXTentacion secured a Platinum hit for “A Ghetto Christmas Carol.” Mariah made it on the list a few more times too for “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing/Gloria (In Excelsis Deo).” Both of those songs went Platinum.

RIAA also keeps track of the physical sales of copies which shows something completely different. Elvis made the number one slot in that category for “Blue Christmas” and “Santa Claus Is Back in Town.”

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