Dial A Carol: You Can Call These Students Up At Any Time And They'll Sing You Whatever Christmas Carol You Want

17/12/2015 10:26 GMT | Updated 17/12/2015 11:59 GMT

For just one week in December a group of students at a university in America run a hotline and sing Christmas carols to strangers. And it's utterly free.

The service, called Dial-A-Carol, has been run by the University of Illinois' Snyder Hall residents for a fair while - 55 years to be precise.

The programme started in 1960 when the accommodation block's office secretary convinced the residents to sing and play carols for random callers around the holidays. Students would play the carols via a record player. Each year, the collection would grew as students would donate to the collection.

Thank you Joe for ordering delivered pizza to our carolers! We really appreciate it!

Posted by Dial a Carol on Friday, 11 December 2015

In the 80s, the song collection grew to cassette tapes and two phone lines, and then to CDs, and finally, to computer streaming in the 2000s.

christmas

Yes, there is even a Mariah-O-Meter

The university's current associate director of housing for communications Kirsten Ruby told the Washington Post.: "Most students of the building participate, regardless of musical ability, religion, or the fact that it’s finals week."

This year, the group took 16,354 calls - 9,491 more than 2014.

Final Dial-a-Carol call of 2015. Carol of Bells.

Posted by Dial a Carol on Thursday, 17 December 2015

Unfortunately the hotline has now closed for the year - so make sure you mark it in your diaries for 2016.