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22 December 2021, 17:15
2021 marks what will be the 70th Christmas number one chart battle, but which song is the best?
We've gone through every single Christmas number one since 1952, to pick out the greatest ever.
Now, this doesn't necessarily mean the 'best song' ever from the list of 70, but rather the greatest songs that encapulate what it means to be Christmas number one, from festive feelings to novelty fun and beyond.
See the list below to see where you favourite ended up...
We're not saying this is a bad song by any means, but we're putting it bottom as it was part of the most boring Christmas number one race ever.
2016 saw zero novelty songs, charity records or Christmas efforts, and instead was essentially just any other chart, topped by whatever happened to be out at the time.
Clean Bandit stayed at number one for its seventh week, and was the least-selling Christmas number one ever.
This bodge-job second version of the Band Aid original was made by Pete Waterman five years on, and it's so dated it hurts.
Even with Kylie, Cliff, Chris Rea and others, it's the forgotten cousin of Band Aid.
We'd like to applaud it for its novelty factor, but this was beyond naff at the time.
Plus, it kept off both John Lennon just weeks after his tragic death, and Jona Lewie's 'Stop the Cavalry'. Unforgivable.
Another novelty classic in the world of Christmas number ones, but this one has few redeeming features. Aside from perhaps a young Jeremy Clarkson in the video.
A well-meaning charity record, but this one was the third in five years to top the festive chart at the time, and it's quite a jarring mashup of 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' and 'Fix You', that just makes you wish you were listening to the originals.
A relatively forgettable song from Sir Cliff, but he'll be back with more memorable festive chart-toppers.
People loved this soppy ballad so much in 1953, that the top two at Christmas was by different artists. Frankie Laine's version narrowly beat David Whitfield's effort this time.
A classic country tune from Conway Twitty, but not one you'd associate with Christmas.
The first ever UK number one single was also that year's Christmas number one.
Classic '50s track, but not very Christmassy.
Another classic, but another random one to be a Christmas number one.
Something of a forgotten ballad, and we guess we're more likely to see rain than snow at Christmas.
The final number one of the '60s, no less.
Yes, it's time for all the X Factor winning singles that topped the charts for perhaps too many years at Christmas. Let's just rank them in order of song merit, starting with Sam.
Maybe Rhydian's version would have sounded more Christmassy?
'One More Sleep' is a cracker, but this one was Leona's first hit.
The first X Factor single to get the Christmas number one was MASSIVE, selling over 700,000 copies in a week.
This single prompted people to download the Jeff Buckley version, getting it to number two, but it wasn't enough to beat the might of Burke.
The final X Factor track to achieve the feat before streaming got in the way.
At least they're novelty fun and for charity. But they have almost zero longevity or legacy compared to others.
Here are all the sausage roll-themed parodies in a row, then, starting with this Journey cover.
This time Mark and Roxanne took on Joan Jett. Minus points for suggesting that gravy is a regular sausage roll accompaniment.
LadBaby's first one is probably also their best. Any song which gets 'M1' and 'Greggs' in the lyrics has got to be applauded.
This record was raising money for various charities related to the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.
Elvis had to have had a Christmas number one at some point, but we would have preferred 'Blue Christmas'.
Who doesn't love a knees-up pub party anthem?
The first actual Christmas song to be at the top is sadly forgotten.
Not the greatest Christmas song by any means, but it deserves a bit of love.
You might have forgotten that this even happened, but Jackie Wilson's '50s anthem was a surprise Christmas number one in 1986.
One to remember for pub quizzes, this one.
Far better than the 1989 effort, but still pretty forgettable compared to the original, obviously.
Still, at least you've still got Bono.
The youngest artist ever to have a number one single. Sure, it's cheesy as heck but you'll be singing it for days.
Plus, it kept off Chuck Berry's 'My Ding a Ling' so it could have been worse.
Another one hit wonder, and one that could only have worked at Christmas. One of those ones that you know is horrifically cheesy but you find yourself kinda liking it.
Continuing the theme of wacky Christmas number ones, here's a brilliant '60s novelty track, featuring Paul McCartney's brother no less.
While Andy Williams might be best known for having a hit with this song from Breakfast at Tiffany's, it was actually his namesake Danny who had the bigger success in the UK.
Known as the 'British Johnny Mathis', Danny died aged 63 in 2005.
Gareth Malone put together a group of wives and partners of servicemen in the TV show The Choir.
The song was created using letters to their loved ones, and it created a truly moving song at Christmas.
Sir Cliff scored his third Christmas number one with this underrated track, which had a video with Cliff on a Cliff!
This was the first time that reality TV talent competitions first got their hands on the Christmas chart, but at least it was a pretty decent song.
Girls Aloud took on One True Voice for festive chart supremacy, and came out on top with this rocky pop number. Not that Christmassy, though.
A fantastic track that would finish very highly in any '80s song list, but perhaps not that well known for being a Christmas number one.
The Human League beat Cliff Richard to the top spot in 1981 with this synthpop anthem.
Another truly fantastic record, but another one that you won't associate with Christmas.
We doubt the Pink Floyd boys cared that much at all that they even achieved a festive chart-topper.
The Beatles scored four Christmas number ones in total, but sadly none of them were Christmassy tunes, so they'll all have to land here.
Starting with this classic double-A side, and their third in a row at the time.
Here's their second Christmas number one, written by John Lennon and not included on an album, which no doubt helped.
Their final Christmas number one had an apt song title.
Their first Christmas number one was also their best, and saw them beat themselves to the top, as 'She Loves You' was number two.
10 years after The Beatles' final Christmas number one, Paul McCartney got another with this festive-ish ballad.
It became the best-selling single of all time at the time, before another certain Christmas number one took over.
In between all the Beatles Christmas number ones, Sir Tom Jones triumphed with this tragic country ballad, about a man on death row longing for home before he is killed.
Ed's gorgeous ballad - complete with Christmassy music video - was the clear winner in 2017.
He was a bit cheeky by exploiting chart rules by also releasing versions with Andrea Bocelli and Beyoncé that still counted as the same song, but still.
It worked, giving him the Christmas number one that alluded him with Take That when they got beaten by Mr Blobby of all people.
The Westlife achieved their fourth number one in their debut year, which is pretty darn impressive.
They completed the rout by not only beating Cliff Richard to the top, but securing the final number one of the century, with a song ABBA stalled at the Christmas number two spot 20 years previously.
The Spice Girls equalled The Beatles' record of three Christmas number ones in the mid-to-late '90s.
They did it with three ballads, all of which had a Christmassy-ish vibe. This was their second, from their Spice World movie.
Their third and final Christmas number one was a farewell to Geri Halliwell, and spelt the beginning of the end of the group's chart dominance.
Their first Christmas chart-topper was also perhaps their greatest song ever. The song was written about the importance of contraception, because... why not?
Perhaps the greatest power ballad and movie love song ever made, and Whitney was the clear winner of the '92 Christmas number one race.
Michael Jackson's best-selling UK single was also a surprise festive chart-topper.
The song proved that he was way ahead of his time when it came to environmental issues and climate change concerns.
OK, it's probably the least Christmassy song in this list, but it's this high for what it stood for.
The nation (well, a lot of it) reclaimed its Christmas number one after years and years of X Factor rule by getting this angst-ridden '90s track to the top. How very British.
One of the last truly novelty tracks (pre-LadBaby) to reach the top, good ol' Bob stopped one of Westlife's more forgettable tracks from grabbing the prize in 2000.
This one was for all people who perhaps hate Christmas, as this one hit wonder beat The Darkness to the top in 2003.
No-one saw this piano cover of Tears for Fears from the Donnie Darko soundtrack from achieving the feat. Only at Christmas.
Often forgotten about compared to the Boney M cover version, this was a beautiful festive ballad from Harry that topped the festive charts in 1957.
We may not have quite forgiven them for beating The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl to the top spot in 1987, but at least it was a brilliant cover version that's still perfect for Christmas parties to this day.
So good it was Christmas number one twice.
"Ba dah dah dah"
It's no easy feat to turn a song that had nothing to do with Christmas into a Christmas song, but that's what this one hit wonder vocal harmony did with the classic Yazoo ballad.
Sir Cliff achieved his 843rd comeback with this Christmas staple. As much as you want to hate it, you've got to admire its festive power.
Yes, you read that right. When it comes to novelty one hit wonders at the top at Christmas time, you can't get any better than Benny Hill's 'Ernie'.
Paired with 'Bohemian Rhapsody' just weeks after Freddie Mercury's death, this poignant track was a perfect way to reflect on years gone by at what can be a difficult time of year for many.
Boney M capped off their incredible year of 1978 by achieving that year's Christmas number one, and it still sounds brilliant.
1950s crooner Johnny Mathis came out of nowhere to take the prize in 1976, and it became a true Christmas classic.
Who can forget Les Gray and his puppet on Top of the Pops? And no, it wasn't Elvis.
It had to be a good song to beat Mariah Carey's 'All I Want for Christmas is You' to the top spot.
Despite not being a song about Christmas, the festive-sounding ballad would become a UK Christmas staple.
Noddy Holder and the Slade boys changed everything when they came out with this festive anthem. Arguably the essence of the Christmas number one didn't begin until Slade beat Wizzard to the top spot in '73.
This was the best-selling single of all time for 13 years, and it was the first time the idea of bringing together the nation's biggest singers for a charity record had occurred.
Bob Geldof and Midge Ure's plan to raise money for Africa famine relief couldn't have gone more to plan.
What's even more impressive was that they were able to write and record a song that is still played to this day, which is something you can't say for most charity records.
You really can't get more Christmassy than this festive powerhouse from Shaky.
Not only is it a brilliant song that has stood the test of time, but it gets extra points as it was meant to be released in 1984, but he decided to wait a year when he found out about Band Aid. It worked!