Years ago when we were reading Dylan Thomas’s lovely book A Child’s Christmas in Wales one December, it occurred to me that I had read about caroling in stories, and occasionally saw it in movies and on TV, but I had never actually met with a band of real, live carolers. I thought it was too bad to let such a fun custom die by the wayside, and decided to bring it back to our neighborhood.
As intimidating as it might sound to knock on the neighbors’ door and sing a song, in general people are delighted to be caroled. Our neighborhood is a shy place, where most people hide inside their houses and only say hello briefly if you catch them between their car and front door. Many of them live alone and seldom have company. Having a family show up to sing a Christmas song completely took them by surprise. It’s just not something people expect anymore. Some of the respectable old ladies were not sure what to think about being bothered in the middle of some evening TV program, but at the end of the song they always were beaming with smiles. Several of them told us they were disappointed last year when we had to skip our usual caroling tradition due to a nasty Christmastime cold.
Some of Our Favorite Carols:
- Deck The Halls
- Good King Wenceslas
- The Holly And The Ivy (Here is an interesting version I found)
- O Christmas Tree
- Away In A Manger
- We Wish You A Merry Christmas
- Green Grow The Rushes-O
- The Twelve Days of Christmas
- We Three Kings of Orient Are
Here is a site with printable carol lyrics, but there are different versions of some songs.
For those who celebrate Yule rather than Christmas, one year I found this fun site looking for unusual carols.
To help us remember what all the words are or to learn new songs, I made a little book of our favorite carols by printing them out in a little book and stapling the binding. Here is a very together guide for organizing a caroling party – although I admit we are not nearly so well disciplined. Some Christmases we start practicing together as soon as December has peeked around the page in the calendar, but usually we are so busy this time of year, we end up just singing in the car or when we are working on some task. Getting everyone to sing favorite Christmas songs is a great distraction for sibling disagreements!
The best thing about caroling is that all you need is a willing voice and a few carols in your head to have fun and bring holiday cheer to your neighbors.
Have a Merry Christmas!!! If you do delight your neighbors with a Christmas carol, here’s my favorite Traditional Wassail recipe to enjoy afterwards!