Xmas Factor

Competition aims to stem Britons’ growing disenchantment with Christmas carol singers·
National carol competition launched by Ecclesiastical Insurance to keep Christmas carolling alive·
New survey reveals carol singers increasingly unwelcome outside our homes· Nearly one third won’t give a donation to carollers· Only 2% of Brits will sing carols door-to-door this Christmas.

The tradition of singing carols door-to-door has long been a staple of the British Christmas, but new research showing that the public is increasingly negative about the practice has prompted Ecclesiastical Insurance to launch a national competition to revitalise carolling. Ecclesiastical has teamed up this year with ChurchAds.net, who are encouraging people to put the Christian message back into Christmas with their ‘Christmas starts with Christ’ advertising campaign.

The competition to compose a new carol in the Christian tradition will form part of the campaign to get Christ back in Christmas and comes as a study by Ecclesiastical reveals that over half the British public is either unhappy or unwilling to have carol singers call at their homes. Launched today The Christmas Factor aims to reinvigorate public support for traditional carolling and ensure it remains at the heart of the Christmas celebrations.

According to the YouGov survey commissioned by Ecclesiastical Insurance, 29% of Britons don’t want carol singers to come to their home while a further 19% said they won’t answer the door if carol singers knocked. 3% said they would ask carol singers to leave. Almost three-quarters of Britons (73%) said that carollers are less welcome on the doorstep today than they were in the past. Bruce Rickards of Ecclesiastical Insurance said: “Our survey’s results made for pretty disheartening reading. I think I won’t be alone in saying that it’s a sad state of affairs that such a time-honoured way of celebrating Christmas should now be seen so negatively. We want to do something about it. “By launching this competition we hope to make people think again about carols and see them in a new light. We’re encouraging people to use their imaginations to compose contemporary carols that will reflect the lives we live now as well as the Nativity itself.

Popular carols like Silent Night and O Come All Ye Faithful are timeless, but every tradition needs a reboot from time to time. We think this competition will achieve that for carolling.”
Francis Goodwin, Chairman of ChurchAds.net said: "We're really pleased to be teaming up with Ecclesiastical on this initiative. The idea is right in line with our strategic approach which reminds people that Christmas starts with Christ. Carols are a great and memorable way of communicating the Christmas message with popular appeal." Ecclesiastical’s survey also found that Britons believe there has been a decline in the number of door-to-door carol singers. Two-thirds of those questioned said there are fewer singers today than 10 years ago. Asked whether or not they wanted to see the tradition of carolling continue in this country, 41% said they did while 22% wanted it to end. 32% had no opinion either way. Should carol singers call, most people (29%) thought they should sing just one carol and in return be given a donation of 51p-£1 (22%). Two carols were also quite popular with respondents (22%), but not more. However almost a third (30%) said they would not give any donation at all. This Christmas, only 2% of Britons are planning to go door-to-door carol singing although of those who are not, 17% said they will take part in some other type of carol singing event such as a church service or concert. The traditional of singing carols in the street in return for a donation is thought to go back to the Middle Ages when beggars performed in return for food or money.

The Christmas Factor competitionToday Ecclesiastical Insurance, in conjunction with ChurchAds.net, is a launching a national competition to compose a new carol in the Christian tradition around the theme of the Nativity. Called The Christmas Factor, the competition is open to anyone. The carol can be in any musical style but should not be longer than four minutes in duration. The winner will be announced in December and in addition to receiving a £1,000 prize, will have his or her carol performed on their doorstep by the largest doorstep carol singing event of all-time. The competition begins on 5 October. Entries (lyrics and melody) can be made via ChurchAd.net’s website. For full details go to www.ecclesiastical.com/christmasfactor.

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