A study in the UK has looked at the correlation between the role children take in their school's nativity play and their future job prospects.

The study of 2000 adults was done by Virgin Media and claims to show how the character you played in the traditional Christmas play can have a bearing on your career, your happiness and even your average earnings.

It's good news for those who played major roles, with those who appeared as Mary, Joseph or the angel Gabriel pulling an average annual income over £37,000 ($75,000).

Surprisingly, the study found that the highest earners were found amidst the ranks of those who played an ox, who earned $84,000 on average.

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Across the stable, those who played the lamb could only expect an average income of $40,000 and the much-maligned donkeys earn $50,000, with the study showing they are most likely to work in IT.

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Those who were proud of their role as a blinged-out Wise Man might be shocked to hear that the study showed that group averaging $52,000 - less than the shepherds at $58,000.

Nativity
Nativity

The study also measured the contentedness of the participants, with Mary topping the charts.

92 per cent of those who played Mary said they were content, compared with only 83 per cent for the lambs.

Nativity plays hit the headlines here in 2018, when a parent at an Auckland school kept her 7-year-old son home to avoid him acting out the nativity.

Katherine Hogg told Fairfax that she was keeping her son home from Stanmore Bay School because teaching the nativity at Christmas was "out of line . . . for a secular school".