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post Dec 8 2018, 09:53 AM
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The biggest new Christmas songs: How do they compare to the classics?
07 December 2018 | By Rob Copsey

Do the biggest Christmas songs released this decade hold a candle to the likes of Mariah, Wham and Shakin' Stevens?

Mariah. Wham. The Pogues. Shakin' Stevens. Christmas classics are as much a staple of the festive season as mince pies, pigs in blankets and the Queen's speech.

Since the introduction of downloads in 2005 and streaming in 2014, many festive favourites have risen from their slumber to climb back into the Top 40, some of them over four decades since their first appearance.

When it comes to Christmas songs, the old adage goes that they don't make 'em like they used to, but is that true? We look at festive tunes released this decade that are not only essential for your Christmas playlist, but are sizing up a spot the hall of fame.

Leona Lewis – One More Sleep (2013)

Peak: 3
Combined sales: 377,000
Streams: 18.8m

One More Sleep's Motown-with-sleigh-bells sound made it feel like an instant classic when it was released in December 2013. It's one of the highest charting modern Christmas songs, topping out at Number 3, while the track itself perfectly captures the excitement of the build up to the big day.

Coldplay – Christmas Lights (2010)

Peak: 13
Combined sales: 364,000
Streams: 20.5m

Okay, so it's not exactly jingle bells, but Christmas is a time for reflection as well as celebration, and, well, you know what Coldplay are like. Christmas Lights encapsulates the bittersweet of the season ("I took my feet To Oxford Street/ Trying to right a wrong"), particularly around the two-minute mark when it switches up from a low-key piano ballad to stadium-sized singalong.

Sia - Santa's Coming For Us (2017)

Peak: 39
Combined sales: 79,500
Streams: 7.3m

Last year Sia tossed her very festive wig into the Christmas music circuit with Every Day Is Christmas. Lead single Santa's Coming For Us is a ridiculously catchy number with a timeless video to boot. This year Sia has topped it up with three more Christmas bangers, with My Old Santa Claus already shaping up to be a modern classic.

Ariana Grande – Santa Tell Me (2014)

Peak: 28
Combined sales: 287,000
Streams: 24.3m

Recorded before Ariana's much-deserved world domination, her seasonal staple is three-and-a-half minutes of tinsel, teeth, and tonsils that's part '60s girl group pastiche, part the sort of thing you'd expect to accompany a dazzling display atop a Disneyland Christmas parade float. Full marks for pep and charm.

Michael Bublé – It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas (2011)

Peak: 13
Combined sales: 434,000
Streams: 35.9m

The popular choice from his extremely popular Christmas album, Michael Buble's rendition of the 1950s standard, released in 2011, is now up there with Perry Como and Bing Crosby's versions.

Gwen Stefani – You Make it Feel Like Christmas (2017)

Peak: 98
Combined sales: 33,500
Streams: 2.9m

As any episode of EastEnders will tell you, Christmas is all about "fah-mily". Gwen kept things close to home with the title track from her festive album by roping in her husband Blake Shelton for a quick guest appearance. There's just the right amount of schmaltz and country-pop festive cheer, so expect to see this reappear in the coming years.

Justin Bieber – Mistletoe (2011)

Peak: 21
Combined sales: 327,000
Streams: 19.4m

Christmas albums are particularly big among US artists and Justin Bieber wasted no time in getting his down the chimney, releasing it as the follow-up to his debut album, My World, in 2011. Lead single Mistletoe is a curious mix of reggae, R&B and pop with lashings of sleigh bells slathered over the top, but it's holding up over time, having been streamed over 19 million times in the UK since records began in 2014.

Kylie Minogue - Every Day's Like Christmas (2015)

Taken from her 2015 album Kylie Christmas, Every Day's Like Christmas was originally recorded as a winter-warming ballad but found new life after undergoing a remix by Stock Aitken Waterman. Unsurprisingly, it could easily sit among her '80s hits and seems to be the preferred version with fans, now approaching a million streams. Kylie's biggest post-2000 Christmas single became her 50th Top 40 hit when it charted for the first time in December 2017 – Santa Baby is on 259,000 combined sales, including 16.2 million streams.

Sam Smith – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (2014)

Peak: 65
Combined sales: 138,000
Streams: 11.9m

First recorded by Judy Garland in 1944, Sam's take on the festive standard holds the accolade of being the first version of the song to chart in America, reaching Number 90. In the UK, that distinction goes to Judy's collaboration with daughter Lorna Luft in 1995, but it's Sam's version that the public seem to be revisiting, notching up over 11 million streams to date.

Kelly Clarkson – Underneath The Tree (2013)

Peak: 30
Combined sales: 214,000
Streams: 15m

The lead single from Kelly's Wrapped In Red album is the equivalent of a double shot of Bailey's, taking precisely six seconds to kick in before sweeping you up into a four-minute burst of festive hysteria.

Hurts – All I Want For Christmas Is New Year’s Day (2010)

Peak: N/A
Combined sales: 23,600
Streams: 1.78m

Hurts' Christmas offering strikes a near-perfect balance between happy and sad. "Everybody waits for Christmas, for me it's New Year's Day," singer Theo sings over plodding church bells, rejecting the big C but remaining hopeful next year will be different.
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