People love Christmas so much that they can't wait to begin celebrating. As soon as the final trick-or-treater knocks on your door at Halloween, it seems like Christmas songs come out of hibernation to get people into the holiday mood.
Christmas songs are big business as retailers use them to boost consumer spending each year. One of the most lucrative holiday tunes is "All I Want For Christmas Is You," earning Mariah Carey over $60 million since its release in 1994.
But with supply chain issues potentially affecting the availability of gifts, shoppers are planning to shop early for the best selection. Our Christmas shopping survey found that roughly 60% of shoppers plan on buying gifts sooner this year to ensure they check off their loved one's Christmas wish list.
And as retailers gear up for Black Friday sales, Christmas tunes will be in heavy rotation. So FinanceBuzz took a deep dive into Christmas music trends to see who's listening to what — and, perhaps more importantly, when they start listening to it.
Most popular holiday songs in each state
With the popularity of Christmas music, we wanted to understand how regional preferences affected which holiday songs were most popular. Using Google trends, we looked at which holiday song has the most interest in each state.
We looked at the 25 highest-charting holiday songs from Christmas week 2020 and analyzed the results to determine which song was the favorite for each state.
|State||Most popular holiday song|
|Alabama||Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer|
|Alaska||Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!|
|Arizona||It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year|
|Arkansas||Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer|
|Colorado||It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year|
|Connecticut||Santa Tell Me|
|Delaware||Underneath the Tree|
|District of Columbia||Happy Holiday/The Holiday Season|
|Hawaii||All I Want For Christmas Is You|
|Indiana||It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year|
|Iowa||A Holly Jolly Christmas|
|Kentucky||Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer|
|Maine||Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!|
|Massachusetts||Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)|
|Michigan||Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!|
|Minnesota||Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!|
|Mississippi||Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)|
|Missouri||It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year|
|Nebraska||Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree|
|Nevada||Jingle Bell Rock|
|New Hampshire||All I Want For Christmas Is You|
|New Jersey||Feliz Navidad|
|New Mexico||Feliz Navidad|
|New York||Happy Holiday/The Holiday Season|
|North Carolina||Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!|
|North Dakota||Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer|
|Ohio||You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch|
|Oklahoma||Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)|
|Oregon||Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)|
|Pennsylvania||(There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays|
|Rhode Island||Wonderful Christmastime|
|South Carolina||Santa Tell Me|
|South Dakota||Blue Christmas|
|Tennessee||Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!|
|Utah||Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!|
|Vermont||The Christmas Song|
|West Virginia||Run Rudolph Run|
|Wisconsin||Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!|
According to our research, “Feliz Navidad” was the most popular song among 11 states last year. It was released in 1970 by José Feliciano and features bilingual lyrics in Spanish and English. Although it is the most popular song on our list, it didn't chart on the Billboard Hot 100 until 1998, almost 30 years after its release.
“Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow,” top in eight states, is a winter classic that was actually written during a summertime heatwave. Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn created the song in July 1945 in Hollywood, California, a city that rarely experiences snow. Vaughn Monroe first recorded it with the Norton Sisters in 1945. Since its original release, it has been recorded by countless artists, including Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Bing Crosby.
“It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” are tied as the third-most-popular Christmas songs. They each were the top choice in four different states. In “It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, Andy Williams sings about warm and cozy events in his 1963 holiday hit. In the famous reindeer ode, Gene Autry shares the story of Rudolph saving Christmas with his shiny nose. Rudolph's story was first recorded in 1949 and sold two million copies in its first year.
- Although Mariah Carey's “All I Want for Christmas” has charted every holiday season since its release in 1994, it was the top Christmas song in just two states — Hawaii and New Hampshire. With this song, Carey became the first artist to have a number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in four different decades.
- Ohio is the only state feeling Grinchy with “You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch” holding the top spot. The song was written and recorded for the 1966 Dr. Seuss holiday special “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.” While Mr. Grinch starts out with a heart two sizes too small, he eventually learns to love Christmas and celebrates with the townspeople.
- Idaho is the only state looking for a “White Christmas.” This holiday classic was written in just 18 minutes by Irving Berlin. Sung by Bing Crosby, the Guinness Book of World Records named it the best-selling song of all time, with over 50 million copies sold.
- Pennsylvania locals can't wait to go home again with their choice of “(There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays.” The song was written by Robert Allen in an afternoon after he was inspired by the ice skaters at Rockefeller Center in New York City. Perry Como released this Christmas song in 1954.
Is it acceptable to start listening to Christmas music in November?
As much as we all love Christmas music, there's no consensus on when is the right time to start. FinanceBuzz surveyed 1,200 U.S. adults to find out when it is considered OK to start listening to Christmas tunes. There was a 50/50 split among our audience as to whether or not retailers should wait until after Thanksgiving to start playing the holiday tunes.
|Is it acceptable to start listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving?|
While women were split on the idea, men overwhelmingly said that starting Christmas music before Thanksgiving was perfectly fine. In fact, men voted 2:1 in favor of hearing Christmas songs early.
The bottom line
When you start hearing Christmas music, that means the holiday sales are just around the corner. With shoppers starting their gift-buying adventures as soon as October, many Black Friday deals are happening earlier than ever. And, all the while, the familiar tunes and festive lyrics are getting shoppers into the holiday spirit.
Here are three things you need to know before you start your Black Friday shopping:
- Download shopping apps before you head out. These apps help you earn discounts and cash back wherever you shop. Some of our favorites: Capital One Shopping, Ibotta, and Honey. But don't forget to also download the apps from your favorite retailers, such as Target or Kohl's, for exclusive rewards and discounts.
- Earn rewards on your purchases. If you'll use a credit card for your transaction, make sure you're using a credit card that earns cash back or other rewards. Our list of the best cashback credit cards is a great resource if you're trying to find the right card for you. When shopping online, use shopping portals to earn additional cash back, airline miles, or flexible points.
- Buy now, pay later. More retailers are partnering with buy now, pay later lenders to offer financing on your purchases. Before you take advantage of it, though, make sure you understand how buy now, pay later works and where it’s offered.
FinanceBuzz collected Google Trends search interest data on the 25 highest-charting Christmas songs on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week of Christmas 2020. For this analysis, we looked at “Search Interest” data for each song in every state. Search Interest is a metric Google uses that normalizes searches to account for things like population, geography, and search proportionality compared to other terms and then scales the results to assign a Search Interest score between 0-100. Data for each song was collected individually, and songs were only compared head-to-head directly within the Trends platform to break ties. The time frame for the collected data was set to “Past 5 years.” Data was collected between October 22-October 26, 2021.