For some, Christmas Eve traditions involve stockings or an early gift unwrapping. For Ed Sheeran, it’s all about a trip — or 12 — to the pub!
The “Bad Habits” singer, 30, revealed on Wednesday at the iHeartRadio Holiday Pop Up Party that every year on Christmas Eve, he and his friends take part in what they call The 12 Pubs of Christmas, a riff on the classic song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”
“We get our van and we go to one pub and then the next pub in a van,” he explained. “We have one pint and it gets worse and worse and worse. And you go, ‘On the twelfth pub of Christmas…’ We’re slowing down [though]. I mean, 12 pints is a lot.”
Sheeran said that he and his pals have been enjoying the tradition for the past 10 years — and that while he’s enjoying his newfound fatherhood, he’s not quite ready to bring 16-month-old daughter Lyra Antarctica into the fold.
“I’m not gonna feed her beer yet,” he joked. “I know we’re European, but it doesn’t start that young.”
Sheeran’s own holiday song, a collaboration with Elton John called “Merry Christmas,” was released earlier this month.
He told the crowd that he and John were dedicated to doing the song “properly,” and even sat down to write a list of clichés they needed to include in the lyrics, like snow, mistletoe, bells, a tree and mulled wine.
Sheeran’s most recent album = (pronounced Equals), was released on Oct. 29, and is one he’s called his “coming of age” record, as it chronicles his marriage to wife Cherry Seaborn in 2019 and the birth of his daughter in August 2020.
The entire iHeartRadio Holiday Pop Up Party special will exclusively stream on The CW App and CWTV.com, and broadcast on iHeartMedia’s CHR and HOT AC radio stations nationwide on Dec. 20 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Sheeran serenaded an intimate crowd with five songs —”Overpass Graffiti,” “Shivers,” “First Times,” “Merry Christmas” and “Bad Habits”— during the event, which took place on the 80th floor of the Empire State Building in New York City.
The British star said he was tasked with turning on the famed building’s Christmas lights — something he’s never even had the chance to do in his own hometown of Suffolk, England.
“I think that’s the first Christmas lights I’ve ever turned on,” he told the crowd as a heavy snow began to fall, visible from the room’s large windows. “I haven’t even done it in my hometown. It’s a tradition in England for anyone who’s from small hometowns to turn on their Christmas lights, but every time that they seem to be on, because I release music and promote it around Christmas, I always tend to be away, so I’m glad to be able to turn on these ones.”
During a Q&A hosted by Elvis Duran, Maxwell and Crystal from the N.Y.C. radio station Z100, Sheeran was also asked what his favorite Christmas song was, and played a few bars from “Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl.
“I would say, in England, you’ve got Mariah Carey and you’ve got Wham! and then you’ve got The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl, those are the three biggest songs in England,” he said. “In the top 75 at the moment in England, there’s like, 60 Christmas songs. But I’m saying The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl is always voted England’s favorite Christmas song, always, every single year. And Wham! comes a close second.”
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