“You want to do WHAT?” asked my husband in shock.
“I want to host a Christmas caroling party!” I replied confidently.
“Where you go to your neighbors’ houses and sing?” His facial expression became “distinguished”, he placed his hand on his chest, and he belted an unearthly, off-key Robert Goulet rendition of “Baby it’s cold outside!!!…” (Imagine the Will Ferrell “Robert Goulet” Saturday Night Live skits lol.)
I glared. “NO, we won’t be singing that one. You sing traditional Christmas carols. Haven’t you gone caroling before?”
“No, I haven’t…” Billy answered still not feeling “it”.
I remembered his aversion to all Musicals except the Grease movies 1 and 2. I recounted my special Christmas caroling memories with my church youth group, and a time when a few friends and I spontaneously went Christmas caroling. I explained how it makes the carolers feel-to spread “goodwill toward men” and the Hope of Christmas with beloved music at such a special time of the year. To see the faces of those you are singing to-usually with big smiles and glimmering eyes-I suspect, recalling Christmases from long-long ago. I could see him opening up, and he finally agreed to a caroling party!
That was last year! In OCTOBER lol-yes, I was determined to make Christmas caroling happen last year. I had wanted to plan a Christmas caroling party for YEARS. Something always seemed to come up: illness, busy-ness, some distraction. But, last year was THE YEAR!
We were able to gather a wonderful group of friends to our home, including a guitarist, and we all shared a common mission: “spread Christmas cheer and the Hope of Christmas.” That’s just what we did! As we progressed through our neighborhood, our voices and confidence grew. We knew we were warming hearts. We saw the evidence of it. Everyone welcomed us. Never were we received in a negative way. At one home, they were celebrating a birthday, and we sang “Happy Birthday” to their guest of honor lol.
When we concluded our night of singing, and enjoyed an “after Christmas caroling party”, we, the carolers, were uplifted. You could see our smiles. You could feel the warmth and energy among us. Later that evening, Billy shared that we would be making our Christmas Caroling Party an annual tradition.
Last night was our 2nd Annual Christmas Caroling Party. (I learned in Journalism class you can’t say “annual” until you have had the event a second, consecutive time lol.) Some of the same friends joined us, and we were blessed to have some friends join us for the first time! All in all, about 30 of us! After a run through of the carols, we were “armed” with lyrics and jingle bells, and we “invaded” our neighborhood. Once again, we were welcomed with smiles and warm greetings. One home was having a get together, and invited us to their backyard firepit- if we would sing a couple more carols! We gladly accepted as many of us were a bit chilly. Upon returning to our home, we enjoyed warm cider and cocoa, treats, and our own backyard firepit.
Here are a few pictures and a little video from last night…(Still photos credit: Kevin Looker)
It is always apparent that homeowners are very surprised when we offer to carol to them. If you suspected that Christmas caroling was a fading tradition, you were right. According to Bob Thompson, professor of popular culture of Syracuse University:
“You talk to most baby boomers, they might have a caroling story or two. Talk to anybody born after 1960, or so, and it’s become much less common.”
The article’s perspective is that when you Christmas carol, you are assuming that the carolers and audience share a similar culture. (In case you want to read more about that, here’s the article:
We do understand that our country is much more diverse than it was fifty plus years ago. However, that is why we always ask the homeowners first whether they are okay with our caroling. We will always respect our neighbors.
Here’s the reality: there’s a lot of people who could use some cheering up at this time of the year. As long as our Christmas caroling is positively received, we will continue the tradition. For our local friends, we hope you can join us next year. You can mark your calendars now lol! Usually we shoot for the second Saturday of December. We would love to inspire others to step out and plan a Christmas caroling get together of your own! There are a few online resources to get you started. Here’s a good one…
I would also add, when planning a Christmas caroling party, it is important to understand there are many variables that you cannot control. Two major ones are the weather and how many neighbors/homeowners are home (or will answer the door lol). Rain was projected the day of caroling last year, so we had a back up plan to do a sing along at our home-just in case. Fortunately, it subsided by the time of the party. This year, we ran into fewer people being home. Next year, we plan to carol a bit earlier in the evening (before 6). We are also considering dispersing flyers-though I love the element of surprise…
Among the hustle and bustle of the season, we pray that you and your family are enjoying the season and are reminded of the Hope of Christmas!