(EXPRESS) — Only a third of UK school now invite mothers and fathers to watch their children perform the age-old Christmas story with Mary and Joseph, the baby Jesus, three wise men and shepherds.

Instead, aliens, recycling bins, a Sir Alan Sugar-style ‘Lord Christmas’, punk fairies, Elvis, footballers, a lobster, a napkin, carrots, sprouts, a pumpkin and a drunken spaceman take centre stage.

According to a survey of parents by parenting website Netmums, 47 per cent of schools offer an ‘updated nativity’ while one in eight have dropped Christian references completely.

Just 35 per cent of children still sing traditional carols and hymns, while a 26 per cent are instead given Christmas pop songs such as ‘Rocking Around The Christmas Tree’ to perform.

Controversially, the study of 2,157 parents found seven per cent of schools refuse to call it a Christmas or Nativity performance, favouring ‘Winter Celebration’, ‘Seasonal Play’ or ‘End of Year Concert’.

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