Ever since the number one singles chart began in 1952 we - and our parents and grandparents before us - have looked forward with great anticipation to the Christmas Number One being announced before the Queen's speech on Christmas Day.
It has to be said that years ago it was far more exciting than it is now; there was a time when it really did go to the wire and no one knew who was going to be the lucky artist to whisk away the festive honour that year.
Nowadays it's a different story with our 25th December top spot being decided long before the Christmas cards have hit the shops thanks to shows like X-Factor. Just take a look at the number ones for the last three years and there's the proof; it's pretty much decided for us! Where did the challenge go?
So what is the most popular type of Christmas number one? One with religious undertones? Something on the party theme? A novelty single? Or songs that have nothing to do with Christmas whatsoever? It's quite astonishing that considering Christmas is after all first and foremost a religious festival, there have only been a total of four religion-themed Christmas number ones out of 56 to date. Can you name them? Answers at the end of this article for those who like a memory challenge!
Songs on the party theme are far more in abundance however and are on the most part responsible for the Christmas classics that fill the yuletide compilations that are two-a-penny in the tinsel-framed retail displays these days. But don't we love them! Timeless tunes like Merry Xmas Everybody; Lonely This Christmas; Merry Christmas Everyone and Mistletoe and Wine definitely have that neck-tingling effect that brings the blissful childhood memories of Christmas flooding back. Any idea what years these all time greats graced the Christmas number one spots? Answers below!
Novelty hits; you can't possibly love them, you can easily loathe them, but let's face it, it's likely you've had one stuck in your head for a long and painful twenty four hours, or less if you're lucky. Benny Hill, Mr Blobby and Bob the Builder are probably the worst novelty Christmas number one offenders but others that were slightly more endearing included St Winifred's School Choir (There's no one quite like Grandma; 1980) and Rene and Renata (Save your Love; 1982).OK probably not strictly novelty, maybe just a little bit on the tacky side, but fun even so.
All in all, the majority of Christmas number ones over the years have actually had nothing to do with Christmas whatsoever. Some of them were timeless anthems that will, nevertheless be constantly played for years to come. But others have been sanctioned to the never-to-be-aired-again one-hit-wonder file.
So with Christmas drawing ever nearer thoughts turn to what melodic ditty may occupy the number one spot this 25th December. Let's wait and see...
Answers to questions posed above:
The four religious themed Christmas number ones were:
1. Mary's Boy Child: Harry Belafonte; 1957
2. When a Child is Born: Johnny Mathis; 1976
3. Mary's Boy Child-Oh My Lord: Boney M; 1978
4. Saviour's Day: Cliff Richard; 1990
The Party theme hits number one years were:
1. Merry Xmas Everybody: 1973
2. Lonely This Christmas: 1974
3. Merry Christmas Everyone: 1985
4. Mistletoe and Wine: 1988