In film Holiday Inn with Marjorie Reynolds and Fred Astaire. In that film every American holiday (4th of July, Thanksgiving Day, ...) was treated with a song. Only the Christmas one stuck, thanks to a simple peace on earth message presented as an effective bypass for public attention to forget about the raging war situation. It first hit among troops in the South Pacific, far from home, let alone from snow in wintertime. N°1 US. Irving Berlin's only Academy Award for Best Song. More than 25 million sold in this version alone. The original version's first lines situate the action in Beverly Hills, which was soon regarded as too restrictive and was skipped in all later versions. Best selling song in history, cut in over thirty languages. Written in one night but the most valuable copyright ever. In fact this consecutive Holiday season megaseller started the whole X-mas shopping ball rolling.
Johnny 'Scat' Davis [for Hit]
Mel Tormé [including introductory sixteen measures explaining the longing: the action takes place in sunny southern California where it never snows, let alone on Christmas day]
Frank Sinatra [n°1 US]
Bing Crosby [in film White Christmas featuring Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney]
Eddie & Tania Constantine [as Noël blanc]
Elvis Presley [using the Drifters' arrangement]
Andy Williams [n°1 US]
Flaming Lips [as White Christmas (Demo For Tom Waits)]
Blind Boys Of Alabama [with Les McCann]
Andrea Bocelli [as Bianco Natale]
Michael McDonald [in medley with Winter Wonderland]
And so Hollywood used Christmas for propaganda reasons, with the Coca Cola Company as a clever ally: since their colours match perfectly with Santa Claus, they put him on the payroll. A whole new industry started from here, also musically. After all, you can count popular Christmas songs older than Crosby's on one hand: Silent Night, Jingle Bells, Winter Wonderland, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing and Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (see there).