The Festive Log

Fairy lightsWelcome to the dedicated online space for my PhD research project, The Festive Log.

As the age old saying goes, Christmas comes but once a year. Those of us who celebrate it are often so busy getting ready for it that, before we’ve had much of a chance to admire the decorations or get too sick of the turkey sandwich or mince pie, we find ourselves having to take them down again, resume normality, and make our New Year’s resolutions all over again.

HollyThis research aims to give us all a chance to stop for a moment, take these curious traditions in, and really have a think about what it all might mean. Of course, on one level, we all think we know what Christmas is about. Whether we find it irritating, or lovable, painful or joyous, we all know what to expect. Most of us can all rehearse the stories….

But how much do we take for granted? How do our personal traditions really compare with those of our neighbours? Why do so many of us persist in all the frenzy of lugging trees about, turning our houses upside down, smearing glitter over everything, dragging ourselves around festive laden shops, dashing around to stock up on vast quantities of bread sauce and brussels sprouts, and all the while, intensively forcing ourselves to interact with things that will ‘get us in the mood’? And why – if all of this doesn’t sit so well with our inclinations, beliefs, traditions or current life circumstances – do so many others of us feel forced into declaring ourselves a ‘Scrooge’? Why do so many of us find the Season does nothing but propel us into a sense of self conscious apathy, confused curiosity, or abject alienation at the rest of the bizarrely festive incensed nation?

What, and we might even say ‘who’, is  it all really forWhy do so many claim to ‘wish it could be Christmas christmas-journal3everyday’? Why do countless Brits dream incessantly of white speckled houses, and roasted chestnuts that hardly anyone actually likes? Indeed, why do countless others find the Season such an acutely difficult one to ‘get through’?

How many of us have ever really had the chance to properly share and document our stories – the way it’s done (or not done!) in our house, the things which stick in our memories, the things that make Christmas special for us, or indeed the things that sometimes make it tough?

Whether you’re someone I’ve met along my festive travels, whether you’re a curious friend of mine who is logging on to find out what on earth I’m doing with my life, or whether you’ve just stumbled upon us, Gelf and I would love to hear your story.

We very much hope you will enjoy taking the time to stop and think about your stories this Christmas, to reflect on what they might mean to you in the context of your own life, and perhaps even to ‘log’ them officially as part of our research project for inclusion in my doctoral thesis.

In the meantime, Gelf and I will be logging our Christmas story as we travel around meeting people this Christmas and beyond – so watch this space for updates as to our progress, and follow the links to find out more about the project….

Gelf FeetWishing you a very merry Christmas! 

You can follow the research on Twitter @lucinda_murphy and @MyElfGelf using #TheFestiveLog.

If you have any questions, comments, feedback, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to get in touch at lucinda.a.murphy@durham.ac.uk.