An interesting phenomenon of the UK at Christmas time is the chart for Christmas music singles. Not all the songs are Christmas themed; many are just released right before Christmas in hopes that people will buy them as stocking stuffer gifts, so there's regular pop songs, novelty songs, and Christmas songs done by pop artists (so not traditional generally).
Many of the chart-topping singles become Christmas classics of sorts over here, thus there's Christmas staples of the UK that I had never heard until I came over here. Examples of that include:
- "Fairytale of New York" by The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl
- "Stop the Cavalry" by Jona Lewie
- "Driving Home For Christmas" by Chris Rea
- "Merry Xmas Everybody" by Slade
- "Last Christmas" by Wham!
- "Stay Another Day" by East 17
(if you actually want to hear these songs, I'd suggest searching them on YouTube, which I can't do from the computer I'm currently on)
Actually, as far as Christmas songs go, The Pogues one isn't bad as it's sort of an anti-carol. The next three aren't too bad, and then the Wham! song and the East 17 song are terrible pop songs that are unfortunately very catchy (they're running through my head alternately as I type this).
Then there's the normal songs that make it to the top of the Christmas charts as well, many ones you would have heard of (check the list out below if you're curious); recently it's been X-Factor winners (a reality show like Pop Idol/Canadian Idol which the infamous Simon Cowell is now on). There's also one-hit wonders and novelty songs, which have included singles from South Park, The Teletubbies, and Bob The Builder (with "Can We Fix It? the theme song).
You can check out the number one's and number two's on Wikipedia if you're truly curious.
And of course, as you can gamble on many things quite legally over here (see my old post here), bookmakers take bets on which songs will reach the top of the charts.