Driving Home for Christmas

"Driving Home for Christmas" is a Christmas song written and composed by English singer-songwriter Chris Rea.[1] It was originally released as one of two new songs on Rea's first compilation album New Light Through Old Windows in October 1988, and issued as the fourth single from the album in December 1988, where it peaked at #53 in the UK Singles Chart as part of The Christmas EP. [2] [3].

"Driving Home for Christmas"
Single by Chris Rea
from the album New Light Through Old Windows
Released10 December 1988
Format7" vinyl, 12" vinyl, cassette, CD
GenrePop rock, Christmas
Songwriter(s)Chris Rea
Producer(s)Chris Rea, Stuart Eales
Chris Rea singles chronology
"Fool (If You Think It's Over) ('88 Remix)"
"Driving Home for Christmas"
"Working on It"
Music video
"Driving Home For Christmas (2009 video in aid of Shelter)" on YouTube

Despite its original modest chart placement, the song has made an reappearance in the top 40 every year since 2007 when it peaked at #33,[4] and is featured among the Top 10 Christmas singles.[5][6][7][8] It reached a new peak of #11 in 2018.[1] In a UK-wide poll in December 2012, it was voted twelfth on the ITV television special The Nation's Favourite Christmas Song.[9]


In interviews for the BBC Radio 4 programme Today in 2009, and The Guardian in 2016, Rea said he wrote Driving Home for Christmas many years before its first recording; this was in 1978 when Rea needed to get home to Middlesbrough from Abbey Road Studios in London. His wife had come down to drive him home in her Austin Mini to save money because it was cheaper to drive than travel by train. Rea was recently out of contract and the record company wasn't willing to pay for the rail ticket.

The inspiration for the song came as they were getting stuck in heavy traffic, while the snow was falling. He started looking at the other drivers, who "all looked so miserable. Jokingly, I started singing: "We're driving home for Christmas..." Then, whenever the street lights shone inside the car, I started writing down lyrics". Rea said Driving Home for Christmas is a "car version of a carol",[10][11] and that he wrote it for Van Morrison but did not manage to get it to him.[12]

Rea never played the song live until 2014 at Hammersmith Odeon, he recalls: "the gig was on 20 December, so the road crew kept badgering me to do it. I went, 'If I'm going to sing this fucking song, we're gonna do it properly.' So we hired 12 snow cannons. When we started the song, you couldn't hear it for the noise of the crowd, and we let go with the machines. We put three feet of artificial snow in the stalls. The venue charged me £12,000 to clean it up".[11][13]

It was used in Christmas commercials for supermarket chain Iceland in 1997, 1998 and 2011, with the latter featuring a cover by Stacey Solomon.[14] An alternative version of the single was released in Japan as part of an EP called 'Snow'.


Rea never planned to write a Christmas song. It was several years later that while testing pianos with keyboard player Max Middleton he found a tune that fitted the lyrics. Initially, it was released as a B-side (to the 1986 single "Hello Friend"[15]), but afterwards was re-recorded with strings. Middleton played the distinctive jazzy intro, and together they produced a typical 1950s Christmas carol-type arrangement.[11]

Music video

A video clip was broadcast on 25 December 1986 by Dutch pop music TV show TopPop.[16]

In 2009, 21 years after the song was first released, an original video was made in aid of Shelter; all proceeds from digital download were donated to the charity. The celebrities who featured in the video were Mike Read, David Hamilton, Martin Shaw, Kristian Digby, Gail Porter, Francis Jeffers, Ian St John, Jimmy Greaves, Lizzie Cundy, Ewen MacIntosh, Carol Decker, Matt Di Angelo, Mark Brennan, Giles Vickers-Jones, Zig and Zag and Lionel Blair. Of the project, Rea stated: "I wanted to do something special this Christmas and what better way than to help keep a roof over people's heads when they need it most – at Christmas. By teaming up with Shelter we can hopefully make a difference".[17]

Driving Home For Christmas (The Christmas EP) 1988

7 inch
1."Driving Home for Christmas"4:33
2."Footsteps In The Snow" 
3."Joys Of Christmas" 
4."Smile" (Produced by Dave Richards [18]) 

Driving Home For Christmas - Track listing

1."Driving Home for Christmas"4:33
2."Hello Friend" (Re-Record)4:21

Charts and certifications

In recent years it charted as follows: In 2008 on Netherlands Digital Songs (#4), Euro Digital Tracks (#8), in 2009 on Norway Digital Songs (#3), on Billboard Japan Hot 100 in 2012 (#18) and 2014 (#23), while on Denmark Digital Songs in 2016 (#9) and 2017 (#5).[19]

Stacey Solomon version

"Driving Home for Christmas"
Single by Stacey Solomon
Released18 December 2011
FormatDigital download
LabelConehead Management Ltd
Songwriter(s)Chris Rea

Singer and television presenter Stacey Solomon covered the song in 2011 and it was released on 18 December 2011 as her debut single. Originally intended to be used solely in commercials for supermarket chain Iceland and cabins, it was later released as a single due to popular demand.


The single was released on 18 December 2011 on iTunes with all proceeds going to Alzheimer's Research UK and children's hospice charity Together For Short Lives.[14]

In an interview with the British newspaper The Sun, Solomon said that she was nervous about going head-to-head with the winner of that year's series of The X Factor, "If I got Christmas number one it would be the best feeling in the world," she said. "I'd be ecstatic. I don't know if I'd be able to look Simon Cowell in the eye! No, I don't think he'd talk to me!"[14][44] She subsequently said that she was not disappointed that the single did not make it into the UK top 20.[45]

Track listing

Digital download
1."Driving Home for Christmas"3:55
2."Driving Home for Christmas" (Alternative version)3:16


Chart (2011) Peak
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[46] 27

Other versions

Other artists who have covered the song include:


  1. "Official Charts > Chris Rea". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  2. https://www.discogs.com/Chris-Rea-Driving-Home-For-Christmas-The-Christmas-EP/release/1437145
  3. http://www.buzzjack.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=227832&st=20
  4. James Masterton (21 August 2013). "Top 40 Annual 2012". James Masterton. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  5. Rob Hastings (13 December 2010). "All we want for Christmas is an old festive song". The Independent. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  6. Media Monkey (2 December 2010). "Mariah Carey top of the tree at Christmas". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  7. Lauren Kreisler (19 December 2013). "Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You tops 1 million sales!". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  8. Rob Copsey (12 December 2014). "I'm streaming of a white Christmas: Mariah and The Pogues set to enter Christmas Number 1 race?". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  9. "The Nation's Favourite Christmas Song". ITV. 22 December 2012.
  10. "Today: Wednesday 16th December". BBC. 16 December 2009.
  11. Dave Simpson (19 December 2016). "Chris Rea: how we made Driving Home for Christmas". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  12. Henry Yates (1 December 2015). "An Interview With The Straight-Talking, No-F**ks-Given Chris Rea". TeamRock. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  13. https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/chris-rea/2014/eventim-apollo-london-england-3cd058b.html
  14. Blackburn, Jen (26 November 2011). "Stacey Solomon in Xmas No1 race". The Sun. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  15. "Hello Friend". Discogs. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  16. "Chris Rea - Driving Home For Christmas • TopPop". TopPop&YouTube. 3 December 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  17. "Chris supports Shelter this Christmas". Shelter. 16 December 2009. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  18. https://www.discogs.com/Chris-Rea-Driving-Home-For-Christmas-The-Christmas-EP/release/1437145
  19. "Chris Rea chart results". Billboard. Billboard. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  20. "Austriancharts.at – Chris Rea – Driving Home For Christmas" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  21. "Ultratop.be – Chris Rea – Driving Home For Christmas" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  22. "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Digital Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Change the chart to CZ – SINGLES DIGITAL – TOP 100 and insert 201751 into search. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  23. "Track Top-40 Uge 52, 2018". Hitlisten. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  24. "Chris Rea: Driving Home For Christmas" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  25. "Offiziellecharts.de – Chris Rea – Driving Home For Christmas". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  26. "Official IFPI Charts – Digital Singles Chart (International) – Week: 52/2018". IFPI Greece. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  27. "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  28. "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Stream Top 40 slágerlista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  29. "Official Irish Singles Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  30. "Chris Rea Chart History (Japan Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  31. "Dutchcharts.nl – Chris Rea – Driving Home For Christmas" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  32. "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. 31 December 2018. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  33. "Norwegiancharts.com – Chris Rea – Driving Home For Christmas". VG-lista. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  34. "Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Airplay Top 100. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  35. "Portuguesecharts.com – Chris Rea – Driving Home For Christmas". AFP Top 100 Singles. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  36. "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  37. "SloTop50 – Slovenian official singles chart". slotop50.si. Retrieved 25 December 2016.
  38. "ČNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Singles Digital Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Select SINGLES DIGITAL - TOP 100 and insert 20185152 into search. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  39. "Swedishcharts.com – Chris Rea – Driving Home For Christmas". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  40. "Swisscharts.com – Chris Rea – Driving Home For Christmas". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  41. "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  42. "Chris Rea "Driving Home For Christmas"". IFPI Denmark. 19 December 2017. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  43. "British single certifications – Chris Rea – Driving Home For Christmas". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 4 January 2019. Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Driving Home For Christmas in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  44. "Stacey Solomon to release Iceland track as single - Music News". Digital Spy. 26 November 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  45. Sperling, Daniel (1 November 2012). "Stacey Solomon: 'Simon Cowell could win I'm a Celebrity'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
  46. "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  47. "Christmas With The Bachelors by The Bachelors". Retrieved 3 January 2019 via itunes.apple.com.
  48. "Christmas by Michael Ball". Retrieved 3 January 2019 via itunes.apple.com.
  49. Gill, Andy (23 December 2011). "Album: Joe McElderry, Classic Christmas (UCJ)". The Independent. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  50. Wade, Ian. "BBC - Music - Review of Saint Etienne - A Glimpse of Stocking". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  51. "Driving Home for Christmas — The High Kings". Last.fm. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  52. "BBC - Lauren Laverne: THE MPFREE FESTIVE GIVEAWAY: LUCY ROSE". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  53. "Driving Home For Christmas". Retrieved 3 January 2019 via open.spotify.com.
  54. "Driving Home For Christmas". Retrieved 3 January 2019 via open.spotify.com.
  55. "Driving Home for Christmas". Retrieved 3 January 2019 via open.spotify.com.
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