Brenda Lee was just 13 when she showed up at a Nashville recording studio that was decked out in Christmas cheer — well before the holiday season — to record “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” a song that Jewish songwriter Johnny Marks had envisioned specifically for her.

“I had not had a lot of success in records, but for some reason he heard me and wanted me to do it,” Lee told The Tennessean of Marks, who also penned holiday classics like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “A Holly Jolly Christmas.”

The song didn’t find immediate success after that 1958 recording. But following Lee’s first No. 1 hit in 1960, the ballad “I’m Sorry” — her second No. 1 hit would come just a few months later — her label decided to release “Rockin’” again, The New York Times reported.

The Christmas tune hit No. 14 on Billboard’s Hot 100 that season and continued to chart throughout the ‘60s. It then saw a major resurgence in popularity due to its use in the 1990 film “Home Alone.” And during the holiday season in 2019 through 2022, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” sat comfortably at No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 (second only to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” per Billboard).

But this year, Lee has experienced something of a Christmas miracle. Although she retired from singing publicly in 2020, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” hit No. 1 for the very first time in its 65-year history in December — about a week before Lee’s 79th birthday.

It marked her first No. 1 hit in more than 60 years.

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‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ hits No. 1

In a video shared by Billboard, Lee is visibly emotional as she takes in the news.

“It was so surreal! I still don’t believe it,” Lee recently told People. “Even though I know the song is great and written by a great man, after all these years it’s just surreal.”

“Rockin’” marks Lee’s third No. 1 hit and broke a number of records with its rise to the top of the charts. It broke the record for longest break between No. 1s on the Hot 100 — a title previously held by Cher, who had a 25-year gap between hits “Dark Lady” and “Believe,” according to Billboard. Lee also became the oldest artist to top the chart, surpassing Louis Armstrong, who was 62 when “Hello, Dolly!” hit No. 1 in 1964.

Leading up to the history-making moment, Lee’s label gave “Rockin’” a big push for its 65th anniversary, The New York Times reported. The effort included releasing a new music video that features Lee lip-syncing to her 13-year-old self, alongside some of her good friends, including fellow music legends Tanya Tucker and Trisha Yearwood.

To date, the video has 13 million views on YouTube.

Mariah Carey celebrates Brenda Lee’s big moment

Lee celebrated a two-week run at No. 1 with “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” has now reclaimed the No. 1 position, per Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

But when “Rockin’” hit No. 1, upstaging her own song and becoming just the third holiday number to reach No. 1, Carey was quick to recognize Lee’s big moment. The “All I Want For Christmas Is You” singer sent Lee a bouquet of flowers and a note congratulating her on the triumph.

“Congratulations on your historic No. 1,” the note reads. “Have a Merry Christmas. Love, Mariah.”

Lee appreciated the gesture and said she’s never thought of herself as being in competition with Carey or any artist, for that matter.

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“You know, I don’t think in those terms. I’m one of those weird artists that wants everybody to do good, because when everybody does good, we all do good!” she told People. “But ‘Rockin’’ is really close to my heart, and I was hoping that it would do well, like it always has. There’s room enough for all of us.”