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, others 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.
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:
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%
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.