My Christmas gift to you, dear reader, is this week’s yuletide column: Faced with a choice of two, I plumped for the latter. Firstly, I considered stringing out 700 words on ‘is Die Hard’ a Christmas film?’ before realising that I would therefore have to watch it, and couldn’t be fussed with that, so instead I plumped for the purely subjective: ‘What is the greatest Christmas song of all time?’

One song that will not be kissing me under the mistletoe is Mariah’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ due to its sheer absurdity. It’s a trap: Every Christmas my wife says ‘don’t bother getting me anything’ but I have never been brave enough to do as directed, as, with experience of marriage, comes the ability to adequately read the room.

Just imagine the scene: as we crowd around the Christmas tree early on the 25th, with the heating on and the smell of grilled bacon wafting through the hallway as I greedily accept her gifts of a lynx boxset, a concert ticket and a book I will likely never read, to then gift her ‘me’ in recompense. I’m sure the only song be that would then be playing in the dead time between Christmas and new year would be Dolly’s D.I.V.O.R.C.E.

There are numerous runners and riders, some with merit, and scores without, as they chase the golden pension, as can be seen with Noddy Holder and his Slade co-writer Jim Lea pocketing around half a million quid each annually in royalties.

‘Stay Another Day’ brings in Tony Mortimer and his East 17 crew 100 grand a year and my mother’s favourite Christmas song, inextricably and inexcusably, brings in 100k for Cliff with his dreadful, dire, cliched and tired ‘Mistletoe And Wine’.

Wizard’s ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day’ will not trouble my top spot due, again, to its ludicrousness. Once a year is more than ample, thanking you kindly.

A worthy contender is ‘2000 Miles’ by the Pretenders as is the ‘Power Of Love’ by FGTH which, although not a Christmas song per se, is a modern-day classic. The only song to have ever reached the top of the pops twice, never receives as much as a mention in the favourites list, so I will gladly reverse the trend by throwing Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ into the mix.

When assessing Xmas number ones, the ultimate low point came in 2000 when ‘Can We Fix It’ by Bob the Builder topped the pops with the last five years, until this year, being taken up by Ladbaby.

But the greatest? A Christmas song should be, to my mind, thought provoking, sentimental and ultimately ‘Christmassy.’ It should also elicit a sing along as we forget the woes of the previous 12 months and use the excuse of the birth of the baby Jesus as a reason to get drunk, slob out in our PJ’s for a week or two and moan about Morcombe and Wise reruns yet again hogging the BBC2 Christmas day primetime schedule.

Some turkeys, which make various friends’ top three lists include McCartney’s ‘Wonderful Christmas Time’ which is an ear worm, unlike Chris Rea’s ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ which peaked at number 33 in the UK singles chart in 2007.

But my two to five, in no particular order, are East 17, ‘Last Christmas’ by Wham! the wonderful ‘Stop The Cavalry’ by Jonah Louie and The Darkness’ ‘Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)’.

But my number one, unsurprisingly, and aptly, considering his recent parting, is the melancholy, joyful, yet angst ridden The Pogues and Kirsty McColl’s ‘Fairytale Of New York.’

The opening notes have the gift of immediately stopping everyone in their tracks as the volume creeps up and the shackles come down, as we listen intently to see if they have edited the word ‘faggott’ out to appease the millennials.

So, there it is. All that is left for me is to bid you a relaxing, peaceful, and loving Christmas, as I slope off and enjoy mince pie numero dos and a festive shot or 12 of Baileys, as I continue my annual flirtation with the festive drunk tank…

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher