Academic experts from the University of Worcester are set to meet at The Hive to discuss the biggest questions around Christmas in a series of talks.

The series, aptly titled "Christmas, Cracked", is intended to take an inquisitive look at festive phenomena, from ghost stories to group dynamics, and all free of charge.

Three 15-minute introductory talks are scheduled for Tuesday, December 12 between 6.30pm and 8pm, featuring subjects on festive food, celebration and ritual.


Read more: BBC presenter 'sorry' after giving middle finger in news broadcast


Holly Barnes-Bennetts will explore the cultural significance of festive fare, offering insight into our food preparations and consumption traditions at Christmas, both in the UK and abroad.

Meanwhile, Dr Lucy Arnold will delve into the correlation between winter festivals and the supernatural in her analysis of Christmas ghost stories.

The Christmas lunch's group dynamics will be under the spotlight with Dr Tanya Carpenter, as she investigates how understanding these dynamics could smooth your passage through the family festive meal or office party.

Continuing a week later, on Tuesday, December 19, Katy Wareham Morris will probe the place of cinema in our holiday customs.

She will consider the origins and importance of watching specific films at Christmas in her presentation, "Festive Family Films."

Lou Aimes-Hill will be examining the annual Christmastide television advertisement from John Lewis, with a particular focus on the pivotal role music plays in communicating its festive message.

Ms Aimes-Hill said: "We’re cracking open some of the best loved Christmas traditions, stories and rituals with a fun but informative journey through food, literature, family life, film and music."

She added: "We’ll be casting an academic eye on the nostalgia and ritual that Christmas brings, so if you’ve ever wondered why your family stir the Christmas pudding anti-clockwise, how ghost stories can sprinkle a little festive cheer, or why you’ve watched the same film at 4pm on Christmas day since you were knee high to an elf, come and join us and explore a different side to the festivities we know and love."

Visitors will get the chance to have their say, as all talks will feature a question-and-answer segment.

Free places for both evenings can be booked on The Hive website.