Ed Sheeran has said it is a “dream come true” to have claimed the Christmas number one for 2017.
The British singer-songwriter’s song Perfect has retained its place at the top of the charts, ending his year of dominating the charts with a festive flourish.
He fended off competition from Eminem with River, on which Sheeran also appears, and Wham! classic Last Christmas in the battle for the accolade.
In a message to his fans, Sheeran told OfficialCharts.com: “Thank you very much for making Perfect Christmas number one.
“This is an actual dream come true and I’m very proud and happy. Thank you so much and have a very merry Christmas, happy holidays and a happy new year.”
In recent weeks, the 26-year-old’s Perfect has been given a new lease of life as he released new versions with Beyonce and classical singer Andrea Bocelli.
According to the Official Charts Company, the song acquired combined sales of 85,000 across downloads and streams in the past seven days.
The track has now also been certified double platinum by the BPI, having achieved 1.23 million combined UK sales to date.
Eminem’s River has finished the week at number two, while Last Christmas is at number three following a social media campaign to get the beloved hit to the top spot in honour of the late George Michael.
Mariah Carey’s festive hit All I Want For Christmas Is You is at number four, and Rita Ora is at number five.
While Eminem did not manage to score the Christmas number one single, the US rapper did top the album charts with his new release Revival.
He booted Sheeran’s Divide from the number one spot, having achieved combined sales of 132,000 to debut at the chart summit.
Revival, Eminem’s eighth consecutive chart-topping album in the UK, has now been certified gold by the BPI and is the year’s second-fastest selling album behind Sheeran’s.
Eminem has now joined record-holders Abba and Led Zeppelin for the most number one albums in a row in the UK.
Divide has had a stellar seven days, though, having shifted another 100,000 this week to come in second place.
Elsewhere on the Christmas charts, The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York featuring Kirsty MacColl is at number seven, marking the first time the beloved song has been in the top 10 in a decade.
Rapper Big Shaq is in sixth place with Man’s Not Hot following a Christmas edition release of the song.
A handful of festive favourites are in the top 40 in the final charts before Christmas Day, including Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas? at number 12, Brenda Lee’s Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree at 14 and Shakin’ Stevens’ Merry Christmas Everyone at 15.
In total, 16 of the top 40 singles have a Christmas theme – more than in any other year. Last year 10 of the top 40 were festive songs, while in 2015 the number was seven.
The trend for classic Christmas songs to re-enter the chart is a recent one. It has been encouraged by changes to the way the top 40 is calculated to reflect the popularity of streaming and other digital musical services.