Festive data visualisation
December 20, 2018

Festive Data Visualisation and other data analytics fun for you

By Paul Laughlin

It’s time again, for festive data visualisation and analytics.

As Jesus’ big day approaches, I’m finding it increasingly tough to stay serious. I’m sure there have been outbreaks of fun in your office too.

So, to complement the season of cute school concerts and gossip inducing office parties, here is my trawl of festive fun. I’ve focussed on topics close to the heart of this blog, including data visualisation, analytics & GDPR.

So, let’s have some festive data visualisation and other fun for Customer Insight leaders.

Here are my favourite finds…

Festive Data Visualisation to get you in the mood

If you’re not yet feeling Christmassy, this collection of engaging Data Visualisations should help. 

Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic provides a great service all year round, via her books and blog. As a bonus, she has recently set her readers a festive challenge. To create data visualisation with a Christmas theme.

Here is the huge collection of some simple & fun examples. My favourite (or made me laugh most) is the simple line chart of net effect of Xmas cookies & walking. But, John’s charts on Christmas top tens through the decades are great. See which you like best:

happy holidays! – storytelling with data

Earlier this month, I put forth a festive challenge: visualize data related to the holidays. A few dozen people accepted, tracking down data, crafting and sharing creative visualizations on topics like holiday music, cookie calories and winter temperatures. There were snowflakes, ornaments and many real- and fake!-trees.

Last minute Christmas present for your data geek?

But wait, perhaps your challenge is that you have not yet completed your Christmas shopping. With such rapid delivery these days, we have all got worse at planning ahead.

So, in case you are still needing to buy a present (or anticipating that you will want to buy yourself something)… Here is a great list of  gadgets and other gifts to delight any data geek.

My favourite is definitely the Numworks calculator, to feel like a retro device for Python coding. But my old Meteorology degree does make me hanker after that beautiful Fischer barometer too.

This is a desirable & diverse collection from Tom Randle. Which would you buy for others or your inner data geek?

What do Christmas songs need? More data analysis

If you are “beginning to get a lot…” sick of Christmas music, then this post might be a welcome distraction. Reframe all those festive tunes as just another readily available dataset for analysis.

Spotify have an impressive Data Science team, as I’ve heard them present at events. So, it’s good to see them put all those technical skills to work on this analysis (tongue firmly in cheek).

Some fun approaches to analysis of this musical art form. I particularly liked the matrix alignment of musical features. 

Given these important findings, what will you be playing as the theme tune to your Christmas?

Dry data analysis of Christmas songs to get you in the holiday mood

Can we quantify different features of music? Apparently yes; folks at Spotify have identified and measured songs’ features like danceability, accoustiness, valence, energy, pitchiness, and more. In this humble study I’ll use Spotify data to analyze the greatest Christmas songs of all time and find out how the musical features are connected, in addition to …

What else could you analyse about Christmas behaviour?

Perhaps that has inspired you to cope with all the festive fun with yet more analytical thinking. If so, this short post might suggest more avenues to explore.

Here the tea, at Upside have found some interesting summaries of festive analysis. Just three to get your creative juices going. My favourite is the analysis from Pew Research (despite the amount of tabular data that would be better visualised).

The analysis from the Atlantic (on Santa’s journey) and Gizmodo (on Christmas radio) are also worth seeing in full. Enjoy.

Data Stories: Delivering Gifts, Religious Trends, and Holiday Music | Transforming Data with Intelligence

Using data to estimate Santa’s speed, exploring how the U.S. celebrates Christmas, and when people get tired of Christmas music. This article from The Atlantic tried to use the best data the author could find to work out how many children Santa would have to deliver gifts to in each time zone around the world.

Is GDPR really going to spoil our Christmas?

Since the success of The Grinch movies, the spectres of that character or Ebenezer Scrooge are popular. Media stories always like to find a Christmas villain. Regulators or perceived “jobs-worths” are regular baddies.

So, we should perhaps of expected GDPR to come in for some stick. This story is silly but rather fun. About how the plucky German town of Roth ‘saved’ Christmas from the teeth of GDPR impact.

It clearly captured the public imagination, as the original story in Die Welt has been covered widely across global media. I’m sure a few UK companies can also think of silly GDPR scares that have done the rounds in their offices…

German town keeps Christmas tradition after privacy law nearly scrapped it

Christmas spirit triumphed over European data law when the German town of Roth managed to revive a children’s festive tradition.

Finally, keep calm and have a good Christmas Eve

To close, I hope that I haven’t worried you with thoughts of GDPR or missed presents. Take a few deep mindful breaths and relax. Reading this festive post was supposed to be a bit of fun! 🙂

This research from Sweden should give you one more reason to not get too worked up or worried. Most Swedes hold their Christmas family gatherings on Christmas Eve & the early hours of that day are top for heart attacks.

Correlation is not causation, but not feeling so under pressure over Christmas might be a wiser precaution. You deserve a rest, so take it easy & don’t worry what others think. Here are links to that research, published by Quartz, including full paper in BMJ Journal.

A massive new study finds that heart attacks peak on Christmas Eve

For all the cozy scenes pictured in the holiday ads, the Christmas season can be an intensely stressful time. Take the anxieties surrounding money, family, and unrealistic expectations, throw in extra alcohol and sugar consumption, and the most wonderful time of the year can take a toll on physical health.

Have a great pre-Christmas

I hope you enjoyed that eclectic collection. Thanks for reading & engaging with this blog. 

I wish you a calm & fun few days preparing for Christmas Day. May you have a wonderful time.