VISITING Father Christmas, carol singing and having the odd mince pies are all in a day’s work for one student who is hoping to become a doctor of Christmas.

PhD student Lucinda Murphy and her elf, Gelf, have been traipsing the streets of Durham this month to find out more about how people celebrate the season.

She said: “Most of the time people are a bit horrified that I’m doing Christmas all the way through the year but it’s a joy.

“It gets to be Christmas every day for me so that’s not a bad job.”

The Durham University student is appealing for people to help her with her research by logging their experience of the festive season, and is particularly keen to talk to people attending a carol service at Durham Cathedral.

She added: “Part of what I’m interested in is getting into what the spirit of Christmas is when people talk about it and why is it so seasonal? Why are we horrified when people mention it in June?

“The main thing I’m interested in is how people make meaning at Christmas and what it means to people at different life stages. No-one does it in the same way which is fascinating.”

As part of her research she has been taking part in a variety of Christmas rituals from Santa’s grotto to nativity plays.

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