Global Festive Ranking: The 25 Most Christmassy Countries in the World

Christmas is by far the most magical time of the year: there’s great food, family, presents, music, and snow – if you’re lucky. Christmas is synonymous with snow, late-night church services with impressive choirs, traditions that stretch back across generations, and colorful Christmas markets in almost every town square.



That said, every country has slightly different traditions, and every continent differs even more so. Some cities will celebrate Christmas in grand style, other with local traditions and customs, and everything in between. Poland, for instance, considers Christmas Eve the most important day in the festive calendar, and families will not eat until the first star has appeared in the sky when 12 different dishes will be served as part of the festive meal. The significance of the 12 courses differs depending on your religious beliefs: Catholics say the dishes represent Jesus’ 12 disciples, while others believe consuming them will bring you good luck for the next 12 months.

Contrastingly, Christmas in Japan is not a religious holiday but is seen as a time to spread happiness. Their festive meal is actually fried chicken, with many families placing orders with restaurants like KFC in advance, while in India the traditional Christmas tree is typically replaced with mango or banana trees.

With all of these different traditions, it begs the question: which country is the most festive? That’s exactly the question Taxi2Airport decided to answer, with our Global Festive Ranking.

In order to put the ranking together, we thoroughly analyzed an array of festive data for every country around the world, including Christmas travel recognition, the chance of snow, and the popularity of Christmas music. We then ranked the countries around the world who offered the best for each of these categories, giving them a score out of 5 for each category.

The number one location was Canada, likely due to the very high chance of snow, and the country also scored highly for Christmas travel recognition. This was followed by Norway in second place, unsurprisingly, and Iceland in third, both of which are countries strongly associated with the festive period. Finland also rounded out the top 5 for much of the same reasons.

Read on below to find out the full results of our Global Festive Ranking.

Results

 


Canada ranked in the number one spot thanks to the impressive amount the population listens to Christmas music; the country ranked in 8thplace out of 55 countries looked at by Spotify, and their most distinctive yuletide anthem is Sarah McLachlan’s Away in a Manager. The country also had the 68hhighest chance of a white Christmas, with World Weather Online predicting a 43.55% chance of snow on Christmas day. From skiing with Santa at the world-renowned Whistler Blackcomb ski resort to ice skating around Lake Louise – hailed “the world’s best skating rink” – and riding in a horse-drawn sleigh in Sun Peaks, it’s easy to see why Canada topped our festive countries index.

The country also scored highly for Christmas search interest and Christian population – with 67.3% of the country claiming to be Christian – all pointing towards a very festive season where travelers will be surrounded by people who love Christmas as much as you do.

Following Canada, the top 10 countries are:

1- Norway

2 -Iceland

3- Liechtenstein

4- Finland

5- Lithuania

6- Sweden

7- USA

8- UK

9- Ireland


Norway ranked highly thanks again to the amount Norwegians listen to Christmas music, which managed to get the second place in Spotify’s ranking of how hard Christmas music trend in the country during 2017. Their most festive song was, of course, Kurt Nilsen and the Norwegian Radio Orchestra’s Himmel På Jord. Christmas in Norway stretches over an entire season – in fact, the popular Christmas House in Drøbak in Southern Norway is open all year round. The tradition of Christmas predates the Christianisation of the country, and traditionally it was celebrated with animal sacrifices and beer – so not that different to 2018, then. Again, Norway has a high chance of snow (42.34%) on Christmas day and the Christmas search interest averages at 23.2 for the period between 1st November 2017 and 25th December 2017.


In true Christmas spirit, the top 10 countries for how hard Christmas music trended throughout the year are as follows:

1- Iceland: Ef ég nenni – Helgi Björnsson

2- Norway: Himmel På Jord– Kurt Nilsen, The Norwegian Radio Orchestra

3- Sweden: Mer jul– Adolphson & Falk

4- Denmark: Guld Jul– Gulddreng

5- Ireland: This Christmas– Picture This

6- Finland:Hei Mummo– Suvi Teräsniska

7-  United Kingdom:Here Comes Santa Claus – Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans

8- Canada:Away in a Manger– Sarah McLachlan

9- Netherlands:Why Couldn’t It Be Christmas Everyday – Bianca Ryan

10- Austria:Joyful Christmas to You All – Joyful Christmas All Stars

 


And for all of you looking specifically for Bing Crosby’s White Christmas, here are the top 10 countries with the best chance of getting snow come 25th December:

1- Russia –89%

2- Belarus –82%

3- Finland –19%

4- Estonia –19%

5- Lithuania –39%

6- Greenland –18%

7- Kazakhstan –95%

8- Canada –55%

9- Ukraine –15%

10- Iceland –34%

 


Methodology

 

In order to compile our Global Festive Ranking, we used the following methodology. We analyzed a variety of studies, articles, and surveys relating to Christmas in order to determine what factors are important to them at Christmas, and what people would typically associate with being “Christmassy”. The elements we found to be important were:

  •  Christmas Travel Recognition
  • Chance of Snow
  • Christmas Search Interest
  • Christian Population
  • Christmas Music

In order to identify exactly what each country had to offer, we searched through a variety of different sources. One source we looked at in particular was the chance of snow for each country which is, of course, an iconic image of Christmas, but rarely a reality for much of the world. We also looked at Spotify’s ranking of which countries trended highest for listening to Christmas music over the year, as well as multiple sources ranking the best places around the world to spend Christmas, in order to come up with a thorough, overall ranking based on which destinations repeatedly ranked highly. Additionally, we scoured numerous travel guides to identify the most popular locations for Christmas travel, and finally, we added in data about the Christian population for each country, as Christmas is traditionally a Christian holiday.

For each of the above categories, we scored each country from 1-5 (with 5 being the highest) and added these scores together in order to get our final GFR score, with a total of 25 being the highest available. We then ranked the countries based on their scores.

The full dataset is available upon request.

Sources:

Wikipedia 

Spotify

Google Docs

Google Trends

Rough Guides

CN Traveler

CNN 

CNN

Thid is insider 

 The daily meal

 

 

5 Great Things to Do in Madeira in January

This Portuguese island is incredible, even during the winter. In fact, locals love Christmas and New Years, and celebrate accordingly. If you visit in January, expect an unconventional, winter wonderland. With temperatures at about 20C, you’ll be warm enough to explore everything Madeira has to offer. So, what should you do? Here are 5 great things to do in Madeira in January.

Go Dolphin and Whale Watching

This can be done all year, but in January, some very special species make an appearance. The sightings may be fewer than other times of year, but it’s worth it to see these rare animals. Visitors may get a glimpse of the Common Bottlenose Dolphin, Short-beaked Common Dolphin, and the Short-finned Pilot Whale. Since the water is relatively warm all year, you can add some scuba diving to your ocean adventures too.

Watch New Year’s Eve Fireworks From The Sea

 

The Madeira fireworks display on New Year’s Eve is absolutely epic. In fact, they broke a Guinness World Record back in 2007! Funchal Bay is usually a great spot to view them, especially if you charter a boat. Some of the ships are so luxurious that they have bars and restaurants, so you can ring in the new year right with a glass of bubbly.

Go Hiking

 

The hikes in Madeira are where you’ll find the most beautiful scenery. In January, the weather isn’t too hot, which makes it perfect for some mountain climbing. There are plenty of trails to choose from, but popular treks include: Ponta de São Lourenço, a coastal hike lined with volcanic rock and stunning lookouts, and Pico Ruivo, home of the island’s highest peak. If you’d prefer more of a walk, try the Levadas. These walking paths were carved out in the 1500s to make the land more accessible. Levada dos 25 Fontes is recommended as it takes you past a 100-metre waterfall.

Try Surfing

While summer may seem like the time to surf, winter in Madeira actually has better waves. Plus, January is the low season for tourists, so you won’t have to battle the crowds. The coastline is usually full of novice surfers, some hopping on their board for the first time. In January, you’ll have killer waves, plenty of space, and less newbies to worry about. Some of the best surf beaches include: Faja de Areia, Ponta Delgada, Porto da Cruz, and Ponta Pequena. Here is our guide to the best surfing spots in the rest of Portugal.

 

Wine Tasting

What better way to ring in the new year than with some Portuguese wine? Fortified wine is Madeira’s speciality, and you’ll want to taste as many as possible. Visit Blandy’s Wine Lodge to start your trip off right and learn all about the local drink. You can do a tour, a tasting, and buy a few bottles to send home as souvenirs. Funchal Bay is a great area to explore if you want to dive into the wine scene, so spend plenty of time here.

January is an excellent time to visit Madeira. The weather is fine, tourists are few, and there is still plenty to see and discover. Book your Madeira taxi here.