It was No. 1 in the UK Sheet Music Chart from mid November 1959 until the end of the year, and a recording by Nina & Frederik reached No. 3 the following Christmas.
The song has also been recorded by Gracie Fields, The Beverley Sisters, Vera Lynn, Aled Jones and many others, and it is a traditional part of the festive season and nativity plays for many young children.
In the 21st Century the song has become something of a signifier of childhood Christmas in popular culture having featured in the comedy acts of Alan Carr, Russell Brand and especially in The Ricky Gervais Show which featured a running gag about Karl Pilkington's drum performance of the song.
- John, J. (2005). A Christmas Compendium. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-8264-8749-0. Retrieved 2008-10-14.
- "UK Sheet Music Charts".
- "1960 UK Singles Charts".
- Jones, Aled (2010). Aled Jones' Favourite Christmas Carols. Random House. p. 100. ISBN 978-1-4090-5110-7. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
- "Pilkipedia - Little Donkey".