CHRISTMAS 2021 ADVENT DAY 18 BLOG POST BLOG Saturday 18th December 2021








It’s that most lucrative time of the year… for some

Every December we listen to Christmas songs, watch Christmas movies and fill our home with presents – but did you ever think about the people profiting from all the money we spend? Over the years, the festive season has made a lucky few singers, movie stars, authors, and entrepreneurs some serious cash, even creating some people’s careers. Read on to meet the people who made the most off the back of Christmas, from the 1930s to today.

  1. Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell

Elf on the Shelf began life as a picture book in 2005 but has since become a major festive phenomenon, even featuring in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade . The book, which comes in a keepsake box with a small elf toy, has sold more than 11 million copies in the US. It describes how Santa Claus sends scout elves to stay with children from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve, deciding whether they’re naughty or nice before returning to the North Pole to report back to Santa. And it’s certainly secured its creators a nice nest egg…

Carol Aebersold and her daughter Chanda Bell wrote the book based on a family tradition. Speaking to CNN Business, Bell said that “none of us ever thought it would become this phenomenon” when they sent the rhyming story to the publishers. But it’s proved such a success that the family has launched its own publishing firm, CCA&B. Estimates suggest that Aebersold has a net worth of around $12 million (£9m) while Bell has $19 million (£14m).

2              Tony Mortimer

In the 1990s the charts were dominated by boybands and girlbands, so it’s only natural that these pop groups released a few Christmas hits between them. London boyband East 17 scored the coveted UK Christmas number one single in 1994 with their hit track Stay Another Day, and the song topped the charts in six other countries worldwide, selling over 910,000 copies. But the real winner was band member Tony Mortimer, who co-wrote the song…

Netting a tidy income for the rest of his life, as co-writer Mortimer picks up most of the royalties, which were estimated to amount to £97,000 ($129k) a year in 2016. After inflation, that works out to over £108,000 ($144k). Despite not being written to be released at Christmas, Stay Another Day features heavily on festive radio playlists and Christmas compilations.

  1. George Michael

George Michael’s tragic death on Christmas Day 2016 was poignant given the success of his former band Wham!’s classic song Last Christmas, which was a major international hit during the 1984 festive season. However, that year it just missed the Christmas number one spot in the UK, pipped to the post by Band Aid’s charity single Do They Know It’s Christmas.

Written by Michael, the song has sold almost two million copies since it was released and is said to generate royalties of around $399,000 (£300k) each year, although The Telegraph estimated in 2015 that this figure could be as high as $628,000 (£470k). Michael was taken to court over it by Barry Manilow, who accused him of plagiarising his song Can’t Smile Without You, although the case was thrown out as the chord sequence used in the song is common in pop music.

  1. Mariah Carey (and Walter Afanasieff)

Mariah Carey was hardly poor when she penned All I Want for Christmas Is You in 1994 along with songwriting partner Walter Afanasieff. But the catchy track, which fast became a classic, has added a significant sum of money to the diva’s personal fortune.

The lead single on Carey’s 1994 holiday album Merry Christmas, the track has sold over 16 million copies worldwide, making the songstress more than $60 million (£45.1m), and it is said to continue to pull in royalties of around $500,000 (£376k) a year. In 2019, Carey marked the 25th anniversary of her iconic song, and it topped the Billboard 100 for the first time since its release. Christmas is definitely the moneymaking season for the pop star and in 2020 she probably earned more than ever. Carey fronted Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special on AppleTV+, a Christmas TV show that’s thought to have hit the number one spot for the streaming service in more than 100 countries. Featuring Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Snoop Dogg and others, the show also boasted an accompanying soundtrack.

  1. Shane MacGowan and Jem Finer

Released in November 1987, Fairytale of New York isn’t your typical Christmas hit; it tells the story of a pair of lovers exchanging memories of Christmases gone by, before descending into a lover’s argument and exchanging crude insults. That didn’t stop people buying the single in droves though, and it’s been voted the best Christmas song of all time in various polls in the UK and Ireland.

Since the late 1980s, the controversial track has become an enduring classic and has gone on to enter the UK top 20 chart every year since 2005. Songwriters Shane MacGowan  and bandmate Jem Finer certainly aren’t complaining – the song is thought to generate a cool $532,000 (£400k) in royalties a year.

  1. Noddy Holder and Jim Lea

English rock band Slade’s cheesy but incredibly catchy Merry Xmas Everybody had all the right ingredients for a festive hit. So when it was released at the end of 1973, it whizzed to the top of the charts, becoming the UK’s fastest-selling single of all time. Since then, it’s travelled the world, and a 2009 survey by PRS for Music found that potentially 42% of the world’s population has heard it at some point.

Needless to say, Merry Xmas Everybody has made its writers very rich indeed. In 2016, Channel 5 in the UK reported that Slade frontman Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea split $1.3 million (£1m) in royalties from the song each year. Holder, who memorably screeches the iconic line “It’s Chriiiiistmaaaas!” in the song, joked in an interview with the BBC that it was “definitely a pension plan”.

  1. Idina Menzel

Featuring songs such as Do You Want to Build a Snowman? and the iconic Let It Go, the movie Frozen became an instant sensation, grossing a massive $1.28 billion (£950m) worldwide at the box office. The sequel, Frozen 2, then went on to be the highest-grossing animated movie of all time, making $1.33 billion (£990m) at the global box office. The movies, released in 2013 and 2019 respectively, both star the voice of Idina Menzel as lead character Elsa. Menzel had previously starred in Broadway musicals including Rent and Wicked.

And the actress clearly has the hugely successful Frozen movies to thank for a large chunk of her rumoured $10 million (£7.8m) net worth. With stories that there could even be a Frozen 3 in the pipeline, the franchise looks set to become the festive gift that keeps on giving for Menzel.

  1. Macaulay Culkin

Nothing says Christmas quite like the iconic 1990 hit movie Home Alone. As well as grossing an enormous $480 million worldwide, which is equivalent to $940 million (£705m) in today’s money, the movie was the big break for lead actor Macaulay Culkin. The child actor went on to star in movies including My Girl (1991), The Good Son (1993) and The Nutcracker (1993).

Though Culkin was paid a relatively modest $100,000 for the first Home Alone movie  – the equivalent of $199,000 (£150k) today – the success of the movie allowed his agent to up the young star’s fee to stratospheric levels. Converted to today’s money, Culkin bagged the equivalent of $1.9 million (£1.4m) for My Girl, $8.4 million (£6.3m) for Home Alone 2: Lost in New York in 1992, and $14.1 million (£10.6m) for 1994’s Getting Even with Dad. Nowadays, the actor-turned-Gucci model has an estimated net worth of $18 million (£13.5m).

  1. Mel Tormé

A jazz crooner and musician of the old school, Mel Tormé  set himself up for life when he wrote the music and part of the lyrics for The Christmas Song (also known as Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) back in 1945. But the song wasn’t actually written at Christmas time. According to Mel Tormé’s son James, speaking in an interview with NPR, Tormé wrote the lyrics on a scorching hot summer day, hoping the wintry words would help him cool down.

Tormé, who died in 1999, received the bulk of the royalties from The Christmas Song, which was made popular by Nat King Cole  although the track has also been recorded by countless other artists. To date, the song is thought to have earned Tormé and his estate as much as $19 million (£14.2m).

  1. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie

In late 1933, New York-based composer Fred Coots teamed up with lyricist Haven Gillespie to write Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, and the rest is history. It was initially meant to be a kids’ song, but after it was recorded by singer Tom Stacks in October 1934 it became the hit Christmas song of that year, popular with kids and adults alike. The song, written at a time when sheet music sales were more prominent than record sales, sold 400,000 copies of sheet music by Christmas.

Over the years, the song has been covered by over 200 artists – including Frank Sinatra, Elvis, The Jackson 5 and Mariah Carey – and is played on the radio across the world every Christmas. Coots and Gillespie are believed to have made enormous sums of money from the song, and their estates still benefit to this day. While we don’t know the exact amounts that stars have earned from songs, it is estimated that this Christmas track has so far generated $22 million (£16.5m).

  1. Irving Berlin

Any guesses for the world’s best-selling Christmas single? The answer may surprise you: it is in fact White Christmas, the slow-moving and schmaltzy festive ballad written by Irving Berlin back in 1940. Berlin, who wrote the scores for 20 Broadway musicals and penned a massive 1,500 songs over the course of his career, is regarded as one of America’s most iconic songwriters. His Christmas classic has sold more than 150 million copies in total.

The song was popularised by Bing Crosby, who released his version on Christmas Eve in 1941, although it wasn’t until the following year that it gained chart-topping status when two million copies of the record sold. Berlin was worth tens of millions of dollars when he died in 1989. White Christmas is thought to bring in more than $438,000 (£328k) a year and to have boosted Berlin’s estate by more than $24 million (£18m), which would make it the second most lucrative song of all time.

  1. Johnny Marks

Many of the time-honoured Christmas classics we enjoy today were actually written by one man: New York-born songwriter Johnny Marks. The hitmaker penned Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, A Holly Jolly Christmas, and more.

By the early 1980s, Marks’ company, fittingly named St. Nicholas Music Inc., was raking in millions of dollars in royalties. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer alone was reportedly earning him around $600,000 a year in 1980, which is around $1.9 million (£1.4m) in today’s money, and Marks was a very wealthy individual when he died in 1985. His estate renewed its contract with The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) in 2016, meaning it can continue to earn money off the Christmas classics.

14           Evan Mendelsohn and Nick Morton

What’s Christmas without Christmas jumpers? Capitalising on the recent trend for ugly festive knitwear, University of the Pacific grads Evan Mendelsohn and Nick Morton founded novelty clothing firm Tipsy Elves in 2011. A success from the get-go, the company’s sweaters were featured in the mainstream media that same year, and sales began to surge.

Evan Mendelsohn and Nick Morton

In need of funding to expand, Mendelsohn and Morton turned to ABC’s Shark Tank TV show, appearing on the series in December 2013. Shark Robert Herjavec recognised the firm’s potential straight away and snapped up a 10% stake in the company in return for investing $100,000 (£75k). Thanks to his help diversifying the business, the company had made $125 million (£94m) in sales by the end of 2019.

  1. Josh Groban

Singer-turned-actor Josh Groban cleaned up in the late 1990s and early 2000s when his first four solo albums went platinum in the US, but his greatest triumph, and biggest moneyspinner, is the Christmas album he released in 2007. Featuring covers of classics including Silent Night, Little Drummer Boy and The Christmas Song, it reached number one on the US Billboard 200 charts seven weeks after its release.

Groban’s Noël​ album was released in October 2007 and sold 3.7 million copies in under three months, making it the best-selling album of the year in the US. All in all, the holiday album has sold nearly six million copies, boosting Groban’s bank balance no end. The singer is estimated to be worth around $35 million (£26.2m).

  1. Michael Bublé

Canadian-Italian singer Michael Bublé had already released four successful studio albums before the release of Christmas in 2011. Yet the simply-named album has become a well-loved part of the Christmas pop music canon, and his version of It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas was Spotify’s fourth most-streamed festive track in 2019.

The hit album became Bublé’s biggest-selling album by 2015, and as of January 2019 more than 12 million copies had been sold. The singer-songwriter now has an estimated net worth of $80 million (£59.8m).

  1. Tim Allen

Comedy actor Tim Allen was already earning good money from his role in the sitcom Home Improvement and burgeoning film career when he starred in his first Christmas movie, The Santa Clause, back in 1994. The comedy movie, directed by John Pasquin, is about a man who causes Santa Claus to fall from his roof on Christmas Eve, so attempts to replace him himself. The Santa Clause grossed $190 million worldwide, equivalent to $334 million (£250m) today.

Despite his early career success, Allen’s real fortune arrived on the back of The Santa Clause and his other holiday movies, which include The Santa Clause 2, the 2004 comedy Christmas with the Cranks, and not forgetting Toy Story – Allen voices Buzz Lightyear in the movie franchise. His net worth is reportedly around $100 million (£74.8m).

  1. Jim Carrey

Actor Jim Carrey was pretty well-off before he released any Christmas movies, but they’ve contributed significantly to his estimated $180 million (£134.7m) net worth. Released in 2000, How the Grinch Stole Christmas didn’t wow the critics – with a New York Times review branding it “shrill, overstuffed, spiritless” – yet it performed well at the box office…               

In fact, the movie grossed $350 million worldwide, which is the equivalent of $529 million (£398m) today, making it Carrey’s third most commercially successful movie to date. His fifth most successful was also a Christmas movie – Robert Zemecki’s motion-capture animation version of A Christmas Carol (2009), which grossed $325 million internationally, the equivalent of $394 million (£296m) today. Needless to say, Carrey’s done well out of Christmas.

  1. Will Ferrell

Will Ferrell’s role as the loveable man-child Buddy in the film Elf was central to making it one of the most popular Christmas movies of all time. The comedian had no shortage of cash when he took on the title role, but the 2003 Christmas film, which turned out to be a massive box office hit, made him ridiculously rich.

Following his star turn in the film, Ferrell shot to the top of the Hollywood high earners’ league, commanding fees of around $20 million (£15m) a movie. The comic had become so wealthy, he was rich enough to turn down a $29 million offer to appear in an Elf sequel in 2006, the equivalent of $37 million (£28m) in today’s money, as he didn’t want to be “Buddy the middle-aged elf”. It has been suggested Ferrell has a net worth of $160 million (£120m).

  1. Ty Warner

The quintessential Christmas stocking gift of the 1990s and early 2000s, it may come as little surprise that Beanie Babies made company founder Ty Warner very rich. Launched in 1993 in the US, the toys became increasingly popular across the world throughout the 1990s, with Limited Edition Christmas Beanie Babies proving particularly popular during the holidays.

By releasing each type of Beanie Baby for a limited time, some rarer types became incredibly sought after and collectors were willing to pay huge sums to get their hands on one. At the height of the craze, Warner’s Ty Inc. company was reporting profits of $700 million a year, the equivalent of $1.1 billion (£827m) in today’s money, and the entrepreneur is now worth an eye-watering $4.4 billion (£3.3bn), according to Forbes.

Source “Love Money”.



  1. A Christmas Track.
  1. 06 - Merry Xmas Everybody Slade 3:23












Christmas 2008


Venue: Orchard Theatre
Title: Jack and the Beanstalk

Production company: Crossroads Pantomimes

Dates: 11th December 2021 – 2nd January 2022

Cast: Christopher Biggins, Kiera-Nicole Brennan, Rikki Jay



NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS – December 26th 1959   UK Top 30

One of my best Christmases ever, apart from the 1st one I spent with Mamma and my 2 children’s 1st Christmases and my 4 Grandchildren’s 1st Christmas was the Christmas I had my 1st Record Player. So exciting. That was Christmas 1959. Here is the New Musical Express Chart for Boxing Day 1959.

This        Last        Title                                                                                                        Artist

Week      Week

1              1              WHAT DO YOU WANT TO MAKE THOSE EYES AT ME FOR                Emile Ford & Checkmates

2              1              WHAT DO YOU WANT                                                                  Adam Faith

3              3              OH CAROL                                                                                         Neil Sedaka

4              4              SEVEN LITTLE GIRLS SITTING IN THE BACK SEAT        Avons

5              8              MORE AND MORE PARTY POPS                                               Russ Conway

6              19           STACCATO’S THEME                                                                     Elmer Bernstein

7              10           SNOW COACH                                                                                  Russ Conway

8              5              TRAVELLIN’ LIGHT                                                                        Cliff Richard & Shadows

9              6              RED RIVER ROCK                                                                           Johnny & Hurricanes

10           12          LITTLE WHITE BULL                                                                     Tommy Steele

11           14           JINGLE BELL ROCK                                                                       Max Bygraves

12           13           AMONG MY SOUVENIRS                                                              Connie Francis

13           10           PIANO PARTY                                                                                   Winifred Atwell

13           8              RAWHIDE                                                                                           Frankie Laine

15           7             PUT YOUR HEAD ON MY SHOULDER                                    Paul Anka

15           17           SOME KINDA EARTHQUAKE                                                     Duane Eddy

17           22           BE MY GUEST                                                                                   Fats Domino

18           20           BAD BOY                                                                                            Marty Wilde

19           21           TEEN BEAT                                                                                        Sandy Nelson

20           16           MACK THE KNIFE                                                                           Bobby Darin

21           15           LITTLE DONKEY                                                                             Beverley Sisters

22           27           HEARTACHES BY THE NUMBER                                             Guy Mitchell

23           –              REVEILLE ROCK                                                                             Johnny & Hurricanes

24           RE          IF YOU WERE THE ONLY BOY IN THE WORLD                  Stevie Marsh

25           18           DECK OF CARDS                                                                             Wink Martindale

26           23           SAN MIGUEL                                                                                     Lonnie Donegan

27           29           I’LL NEVER FALL IN LOVE AGAIN                                          Johnnie Ray

27           30           WE GOT LOVE                                                                                  Alma Cogan

29           RE          BUT NOT FOR ME                                                                           Ella Fitzgerald

30           –              IN THE MOOD                                                                                   Ernie Field’s Orchestr



  1. Turkey replaced Swan on the Christmas menu of the Royals in 1851.


  1. The Rockefeller Christmas tree costs around $73,500 if you were to purchase it yourself. The spruce will be adorned with more than 50,000 multicoloured lights and topped with a 900-pound star with 70 spikes covered in 3 million crystals.


  1. One superstition regarding Christmas pudding is that it shouldn’t have more than 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and his disciples.


  1. A CHRISTMAS CRACKER JOKE.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Q: What did Santa do when he went speed dating?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     A: He pulled a cracker







©2021 Phil M Robinson