Christmas music is part of holiday business for retailers. After all, the songs include dozens of classics that most people have heard every winter for their entire lives. Sentimental, sure, but also a tactic to get people to spend more money in stores.
To get a better sense of which songs are most and least likely to brighten shoppers’ moods, FinanceBuzz used Google Trends to find the most popular Christmas song in every state. We also surveyed more than 1,200 U.S. adults on the most annoying Christmas songs.
Most popular songs in each state
The states have a variety of favorite Christmas tunes. Of the 26 Christmas songs evaluated from last year's Christmas Billboard Hot 100, 18 different songs were most popular in at least one U.S. state.
|The most popular holiday song in each state|
|Alaska||Jingle Bell Rock|
|Arkansas||Run Rudolph Run|
|Colorado||It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year|
|Connecticut||Underneath the Tree|
|Delaware||A Holly Jolly Christmas|
|District of Columbia||Happy Holiday/The Holiday Season|
|Illinois||It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year|
|Indiana||Run Rudolph Run|
|Iowa||Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree|
|Kansas||Jingle Bell Rock|
|Kentucky||Run Rudolph Run|
|Maine||Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree|
|Maryland||The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)|
|Michigan||The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)|
|Mississippi||Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer|
|Nebraska||Jingle Bell Rock|
|New Hampshire||It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas|
|New Jersey||Underneath the Tree|
|New Mexico||Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)|
|New York||Underneath the Tree|
|North Carolina||It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year|
|North Dakota||Wonderful Christmastime|
|Ohio||Underneath the Tree|
|Oregon||I'll Be Home for Christmas|
|Pennsylvania||(There's No Place Like) Home for the Holidays|
|Rhode Island||Santa Baby|
|South Carolina||Run Rudolph Run|
|South Dakota||Jingle Bell Rock|
|Tennessee||It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year|
|Utah||A Holly Jolly Christmas|
|Virginia||It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year|
|West Virginia||Jingle Bell Rock|
|Wisconsin||A Holly Jolly Christmas|
|Wyoming||Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer|
The 1953 classic “Santa Baby,” sung by the legendary Eartha Kitt, was the most popular song in eight different states. That’s the most states of any song on our list.
Three other songs took the top spot in at least five states: “Jingle Bell Rock,” “It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” and Jose Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad.”
While every song mentioned so far is at least 50 years old, there is one song released in the last decade that stood out in the results: Kelly Clarkson’s 2013 song “Underneath the Tree.” This song is on its way to becoming a modern classic, as it was the most popular Christmas song in four different states.
“Underneath the Tree” was also the most popular Christmas song in the Northeast region of the United States, but each of the other three regions favored older songs. “Jingle Bell Rock” was tops in the Midwest, “Santa Baby” claimed the crown in the South, and “Feliz Navidad” is the preferred holiday tune for people living out West.
The most annoying holiday songs, according to Americans
Of course, not every holiday song is beloved by everyone. To find out which songs people are sick of hearing, we asked 1,250 U.S. adults to tell us which Christmas song they find the most annoying.
One song that feels unavoidable at Christmastime is Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.” It climbed to first on the Billboard Hot 100 during each of the past three Christmas seasons.
Despite its massive overall popularity, this song wasn’t the most popular song in any state (according to Google Trends). But it was named the most annoying Christmas song in our survey, which may mean people feel the song is overplayed during the holidays.
The second-most annoying song is the novelty song “The Chipmunk Song,” also known as “Christmas Don’t Be Late,” sung by Alvin and the Chipmunks. The high-pitched singing on the song definitely isn’t for everyone, so it’s no surprise to see it on this list.
Rounding out the top three is “Feliz Navidad,” a song that was actually one of the most popular across the country, according to Google Trends, but one that is also played often enough that it could turn off some listeners who think it’s overplayed.
How to shop and save this holiday season
Once Christmas music hits the airwaves, crowded stores and holiday sales are on the way, too. For people doing holiday shopping, here are some tips for saving this Christmas season:
- Download apps that help you save. No matter where you like to shop, there’s probably an app that can save you money. Capital One Shopping, Ibotta, and Honey are some of the best around. They work with tons of stores and websites.
- Get rewarded for your purchases. Make sure to use one of best cashback credit cards to earn points and cash back while crossing items off your shopping list.
- Buy now, pay later. Many retailers partner with buy now, pay later lenders to offer purchase financing. Before you take advantage of it, make sure you understand where you can use buy now, pay later, and how it works.
FinanceBuzz collected Google Trends search interest data on every Christmas song on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week of Christmas 2021. 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. To break ties, songs were compared head-to-head directly within the Trends platform. The time frame for the collected data was set to “Past 5 years.” Data was collected November 9, 2022.
For the list of most annoying holiday songs, FinanceBuzz surveyed 1,250 U.S. adults in November, 2022.