The Ultimate Driving Home for Christmas Playlist – According to the British Public

The drive home for Christmas can bring nostalgia, excitement, and a warm, fuzzy feeling for many Brits. Whether you’re clocking up hundreds of miles on the drive to your childhood home, visiting the in-laws with the kids in the back seats or battling your way through city centre traffic to be with loved ones for the festive period, a jolly Christmas-themed singalong is a staple of the drive.

Through busy traffic filled with hundreds of others trying to get home for Christmas and even snow-covered roads in some cases, we want to know which songs make it onto your ultimate driving home for Christmas playlist. Which Christmas songs lift your spirits and help you get through the drive? Do the younger generations prefer to sing along to new or old festive tunes? Do people from different regions have different favourites? We set out to answer all these questions with our festive-style survey.

Our Method

We surveyed British drivers and passengers and asked each one to choose their top 10 Christmas songs from an extensive list of festive favourites. Why? We wanted to put together the ideal ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ playlist according to Brits. We also took the data and split it by region and generation to dive deeper into people’s preferences.

The Ultimate Driving Home for Christmas Playlist: According to Brits

The UK’s most popular Driving Home for Christmas song, featuring on 56% of participants’ playlists was Fairytale of New York by The Pogues ft. Kirsty MacColl. Of course, anybody who’s heard the song will know that it isn’t your typical festive singalong. Throughout it, we’re taken on a journey through holidays past for an Irish immigrant while he sleeps off a binge in an NYC drunk tank. It’s certainly not the most optimistic, but Brits clearly still love the 1988 song enough to give it the top spot on their driving home for Christmas playlist.

Some other popular choices that were just pipped to the post for the top spot were the pop ballad All I Want for Christmas is You by Mariah Carey (46% of playlists), the incredibly fitting Driving Home for Christmas by Chris Rea (41% of playlists) and the 1984 charity song Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Band Aid (40% of playlists).

Interestingly, it seems that Brits prefer to stick with the classics since the majority of the top 10 driving home for Christmas songs were released back in the 80s. With 6 out of 10 song choices being from this decade, we reckon they knew how to create a timeless record with just enough Christmas magic!

Driving Home for Christmas Playlists: Regional Results

Fairytale of New York was a popular one on a regional front too, with this song being at the top of the majority of the UK’s regions’ driving home for Christmas playlist. 8 out of 12 regions would choose this song for their drive, with only the East Midlands, Yorkshire & The Humber, London and Northern Island saying otherwise.

The North East was torn by two songs – Fairytale of New York and All I Want for Christmas is You – each with 69% of participants selecting this song for their playlist. Scotland also faced a similar dilemma, this time between Fairytale of New York and Driving Home for Christmas each with 53% of participants selecting this song for their playlist.

Northern Ireland couldn’t choose between 4 songs for their top spot, giving them all equally as many votes for number one on their playlist. All I Want for Christmas is You, A Winter’s Tale, Last Christmas and One More Sleep were all chosen by three-quarters of participants.

As we’ve said, the East Midlands, Yorkshire & The Humber and London all took their playlists in a slightly different direction. The East Midlands went with Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You with just over half of the participants choosing this song for their playlist. Yorkshire & The Humber’s top driving home for Christmas song is the charity song Do They Know It’s Christmas? with 59% picking this for their playlist. And finally, London’s top driving home for Christmas playlist song is Wham!’s Last Christmas – with 41% of Londoners choosing this one.

Driving Home for Christmas Playlists: Generational Results

Did we find any generational differences in Christmas music choices for the Christmas drive home? We can reveal that there was a clear difference between the top songs for younger and older generations.

The younger generations opted for All I Want for Christmas is You as their most popular driving home for Christmas song, with 57% of Gen Z and 54% of Millennials adding this song to their playlist. Meanwhile, the elder generations leaned more towards the overarching favourite, Fairytale of New York. 65% of Gen X’ers, 54% of Baby Boomers and 40% of The Silent Generation chose this song for their driving home for Christmas playlist.

Although they didn’t agree on which song took the top spot, there was very little difference in when the two chosen songs came out. Mariah Carey’s iconic Christmas ballad was released less than a decade after The Pogues’ and Kirsty MacColl brought their festive masterpiece into the world.

So there you have it – the top Christmas songs Brits wouldn’t want to be without on their drive home. Whether you agree or disagree, there’s no denying that the Christmas music choices on your playlist can bring plenty of festivity to your car journey.  

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