If Christmas songs were high school stereotypes, "Silent Night" would be head cheerleader.
Time magazine recently put together an interactive graphic that examines the number of times holiday songs have been recorded. As you can see in the above graphic, "Silent Night" is by far the song that has inspired the most versions. Also popular: "White Christmas," "Joy to the World" and "O Holy Night."
Wondering why some circles are red and others are green? Time helpfully points out that songs with a reddish hue are more Jesus-focused. Songs that are green or green-ish are more about Santa Claus and/or less about religion.
In a blog accompanying the Alexander Ho-designed graphic, writer Chris Wilson explains the methodology of the study.
TIME crawled the records at the U.S. Copyright Office, which offers digitized registrations going back to 1978, and collected data on every Christmas album recorded since that time. “Silent Night,” it turns out, is not merely the most popular carol; with 733 copyrighted recordings since 1978, it is nearly twice as dominant as “Joy to the World,” a distant second with 391 records to its name.
Why are some songs more popular than others? At least one factor, Time explains, has to do with copyright. If a song is no longer under its original copyright, "one needn't share the holiday windfall."
The spirit of Christmas, everyone.
Follow Mike Krumboltz on Twitter at @mikekrumboltz.