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Published December 16th 2016

A Playlist Fit for 2016: The Best Christmas Songs According to Data

The Brandwatch React team sledge through the festive data surrounding people's favorite Christmas songs to find 2016's Christmas anthem. Playlist included!

2016 is nearly over ? and the festive season is upon us. What will be the Christmas anthem to finish off this horrible year?

Since it’s the time of year that people start tweeting their favorite Christmas songs into the abyss, the Brandwatch React team decided to look into it. Will the winner be a classic? Will it be something contemporary? Is it going to be as bad as ‘Christmas Is All Around’ from Love Actually? I doubt it. Let’s find out.


Finding the most popular Christmas song

The team searched for mentions of “my favorite” or “the best” Christmas song across Twitter.

Using Brandwatch’s topic cloud component which surfaces trending words and phrases, we searched across each day of December up to the 11th to find the songs being discussed most. We also searched the dataset for mentions of songs within Nielson Music’s list of the top ten best selling Christmas songs to make sure we didn’t miss any popular ones. This list incorporates retweets as well as unique mentions.

The winner was clear (so much so that it dominates a pie chart to the point you can’t see any of the other songs) but there are plenty of contenders for places on the rest of the Christmas playlist.

Some readers will be pleased to know that ‘Do You Want to Build a Snowman’ doesn’t get a look in.

Counting down to Twitter’s Christmas number one

The weird thing about this data is that there are so many versions of every well known Christmas song that the favorites on social media aren’t always the performed the way the original artists intended. At all.

We’ve chosen our favorite tweets for each song within the data.

Honorable mentions go to Santa Baby (the Pussycat Doll version), White Christmas (the Lady Gaga version) and Feliz Navidad, which fell just outside the top 10.

Enjoy this list of Christmas classics and, well, you’ll see.

10. Drummer Boy (Or Little Drummer Boy)

Kicking off at number 10 we have “little drummer boy” (with mentions of the original overshadowed with Justin Bieber’s unique take on the song, entitled “Drummer Boy”).

Just when we thought we’d stopped talking about Justin Bieber for 2016, back he came.

9. Carol of the Bells

Next up is impossible-to-sing-along-with Carol of the Bells.

Well, some people can.

8. O Holy Night

O Holy Night, a choral wonder, is in at number 8. There are endless versions of this song but Scottish warbler Susan Boyle can do it justice better than most of us.

7. Mistletoe

Biebs is back in the list again. This time with his 2011 song “Mistletoe”.

I think some people might try and argue it, George.

6. I Believe in Father Christmas

Love for “I Believe in Father Christmas” poured in after news broke that singer Greg Lake had passed away.

David Baddiel was one of the top mentioned authors in the conversation as he paid tribute to him.

5. Last Christmas

Wham!’s Last Christmas squeezes into the top five. Amanda prefers the Glee version.

Last Christmas we didn’t bother with this, we talked about Netflix socks.

4. Baby It’s Cold Outside

The well known song, which has perhaps become more well known for it’s unsettling undertones, has made it into the top 10 but probably not for the right reasons.

3. Fairytale of New York

There’s so much love for this song, and lots of it revolves around violently defending its place as the best Christmas song ever.

2. All I Want for Christmas is You

You thought it’d be number one, but it’s not! Rising above the rest of the classics is Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.”

It’s the gift that keeps on giving to Mariah Carey’s bank account.

And finally…

There’s one song that stood out beyond all of the others, before it was even properly released.

Twitter’s Christmas number one goes to Gucci Mane’s St Brick Intro.

Here it is in all its glory:

RTs tell a different story

Gucci Mane may have won when it comes to unique tweets as well as retweets, but when we remove RTs the data tells a different story.


Depending on your perspective, Mariah Carey can keep her crown.

St Brick Intro isn’t available on Spotify right now but you can enjoy the rest of the songs here. Feast your ears on a playlist fit for 2016.

Are you a journalist looking to cover our data? We have plenty more. Email us [email protected] for more information

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