The GizUK Xmas Index: Things Are Getting Pretty Damn Christmassy

By James O Malley on at

A few weeks ago now Gizmodo UK launched what we have dubbed “The Christmas Index” - a statistically rigorous way of measuring Christmas spirit: Using some clever data wizardry, we’re measuring the onslaught of sleigh bells and chestnuts roasting on an open fire by using Spotify listening data as a proxy for how Christmassy everyone is feeling.

And this is second check in - with just a week to go until the big day. Just how quickly has Christmas ramped up? And how much further can it go?

As a recap, the way it works is that we’ve taken two popular Spotify playlists of Christmas songs - one more US focused and one more UK focused (with a bit of overlap). Each song is given by Spotify a “popularity” score, which can be between 0 and 100 - and this is what we’re keeping track of to note the changes. The overall Christmas Index score is all of the song scores for a given day added up. A bit like the stock market - and how the overall FTSE index number, and whether it has risen or fallen, can be a signal of overall economic health. We’re doing the same thing - but to measure CHRISTMAS. Because of course.

(Embarrassing admission: We actually think we made a mistake with the precise numbers last time we checked in - but we’ve hopefully correct that for this time. In any case, they indicate the same trajectory.)

So what’s the Index at today? It’s currently at 7384 - which is up from 7148 a week ago, and 6777 when we first checked in two weeks ago. What does this mean?

It means it is starting to get pretty Christmassy.

Here’s a chart:

We started logging data in late October and as you see… that’s quite an increase. Though we unfortunately don’t have any data to directly compare this to, as this is the first year we’ve logged - there are couple of points of interest to note from the graph.

First, you can see there’s a big step-change that coincides with Thanksgiving weekend in the US. This rather than suggests that (unsurprisingly), this holiday is could be seen as a starting-gun as to when it is socially acceptable to start thinking about Christmas - and when it is acceptable to listen to Christmas music.

Secondly though, other than that is is interesting to note just how gradually Christmas creeps up on us. At least - with six days to go - there haven’t been any other “big bang” moments. Instead, Christmas is a drip-drip process, where gradually people will start feeling slowly more Christmassy.

In terms of the biggest individual tracks, since we started tracking the song that has shot up the Spotify rankings the most is Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses, which even if you think you’ve never heard of it, you’ll probably recognise.

The big question now is obvious: When will Christmas peak? Will it be Christmas Day itself? And how fast will Christmas listening drop off? Place your bets in the comments, and we’ll check in again with The Christmas Index over the Christmas period.