It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...Now!

10th December revealed as the date Brits start to get into the Christmas spirit and South of England plays the most Christmas music on its radio stations*

Christmas song titles in the shape of the UK

The arrival of Christmas puddings, tinsel and mince pies on supermarket shelves in August and Christmas songs hitting the airwaves after Halloween always prompt the annual debate about when it’s appropriate to get festive.  But now the argument is finally settled, with new research by PRS for Music revealing that 10th December is the date Brits truly start to feel Christmassy.

The new survey from PRS for Music found the key events that inject Christmas spirit and start the festive feeling include seeing the first Christmas advert (25%), receiving Christmas cards (29%) and hearing Mariah Carey warbling about all she wants for Christmas (Christmas songs - 22%). 

So what symbolises the arrival of Christmas for Brits most?:

  • Receiving Christmas cards in the post (29%)
  • Seeing Christmas decorations go up in the community (26%)
  • Christmas adverts on the TV – e.g. John Lewis or Coca Cola (25%)
  • Hearing Christmas songs being played on the radio (22%)
  • Hearing Christmas songs being played in the shops (19%)
  • Starting your Christmas shopping (18%)
  • Christmas food and drink on sale / on the menu (13%)
  • Having your first mince pie (12%)
  • Christmas parties (11%)
  • When the weather gets frosty (10%)

In addition, regional radio stations were put under the microscope by PRS for Music to evaluate just how much Christmas music we are exposed to in the build up to the big day*. The airwaves were analysed, and it was found that Wales played the least amount of Christmas pop-music in comparison to the South of England who played the most.

But which UK regions are most festive? 

Whilst we get our metaphorical festive hats on with 15 days to go on average, it seems Brits up and down the UK celebrate the festive season in different way and have been getting into the spirit for weeks already.

Londoners feel Christmassy - thanks mainly to seeing decorations going up in the community around them - on average 18 days ahead of the big day – three days before the UK average and a whopping six days ahead of residents in the South West.

Scots are most organised when it comes to buying presents with over a third (37%) starting their festive shopping 8-10 weeks ahead or as early as the January sales – compared with last minute Londoners where less than a fifth (17%) have started their shopping by then.

Residents in the North East are most generous buying gifts for an average of 11 people versus on average nine people by those in the South West.

When it comes to community spirit and local festivities, the Welsh lead the way as over a third (34%) enjoying local carol concerts on their doorstep (versus only 15% in Northern Ireland) and a quarter (25%) have a local ‘winter wonderland’ nearby they can visit with the family – versus 7% in Scotland.

However, whilst it might now be open season for Yuletide celebrations, there are grinches among us. Only 1% of us claim to enjoy wearing novelty Christmas jumpers and a mere 2% enjoy the office Christmas party – bah humbug!


 * According to PRS for Music data analysing radio airplays on all 50 regional BBC stations in the UK

About PRS for Music

Here for music since 1914, PRS for Music is a world-leading music collective management organisation representing the rights of more than 175,000 talented songwriters, composers and music publishers. Redefining the global standard for music royalties, PRS for Music ensures songwriters and composers are paid whenever their musical compositions and songs are streamed, downloaded, broadcast, performed and played in public. 

For 110 years it has grown and protected the rights of the music creator community, paying out royalties with more accuracy, transparency and speed. In 2023, PRS for Music paid out £943.6m in royalties and collected a record £1.08 billion in revenues.

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