Editor’s Note: Today I’m thrilled to welcome this guest contribution from my great friend Kate Daneluk, co-founder of Making Music Praying Twice and an amazing Catholic mom. Enjoy! LMH
Perhaps things are different in your neck of the woods, but around here, Christmas caroling has become a lost art. We haven’t had a caroling troop come to our home in over 20 years. Two years ago, my sisters and I threw on our coats and grabbed the kids on Christmas evening and made it to a few houses. The people were overwhelmed. Parents woke sleeping children so they could experience good old-fashioned Christmas caroling.
It is time to resurrect this community-oriented tradition. Chosen carefully, these songs help remind us all of the true meaning of Christmas. Here are three ways you can make this happen this year:
1. Spontaneous Song
Is your family gathering or evening at home left with a little down time? Put on the coats and figure out which two carols everyone knows pretty well. Hit 3 – 5 neighbors’ homes. Ring the bell and as they open the door, break into song.
2. The Social Network Chorus
It doesn’t take a lot of trouble to send emails, tweets, and facebook announcements to your network inviting anyone and everyone to meet at a local diner or store for an hour of caroling. Provide songsheets or caroling songbooks so everyone can participate and choose carols and verses most people will know. However many people show, start by singing a song for the patrons of the establishment, then hit the road. Make sure there is a leader to keep things moving and choose the songs. Plan a route that brings you back to the starting point so everyone can get some cocoa or a meal before heading home!
3. Caroling Party!
My parents hosted caroling parties throughout my high school years. All our friends and their parents were invited. We’d start with a buffet, hot cider, and conversation. Then the announcement would ring out: “Whose going caroling?” Traditional songbooks were passed out and all wore lively winter attire. We’d circle the block, singing for anyone who was home. We’d often sing en route as well. Once we got back, we’d carol for the party goers who held down the fort, and then gather around the piano for more songs while the desserts were served with, of course, more hot cider. Whatever the age of your children, you can have a fun caroling party. Simply adapt the songs and timeframe to the ages of the children.
QUICK TIPS –
- Remember, Christmas STARTS on December 25, and continues through the Baptism of the Lord! (This year, it is January 9.) You have plenty of time to go caroling or host a party. You may have a chance to educate your neighbors about our Christmas Season.
- If any family members participate in a choir or music group, take advantage of all your work and get the group out caroling!
- Guitarist, flutists, brass players, etc. can easily contribute their skills to your efforts.
- Perfect singing is not the goal. Big smiles and a “Merry Christmas! God bless your year!” goes a long way to make up for melodic mistakes.
- Colorful hats, scarves, mittens, and ear muffs are fun, even if you live in a warm climate. It helps if you have some Santa or elf hats to pass around.
- It is OK to repeat the same few songs again and again. You’ll all get better along the way from all the practice! Just be sure that at least one song at each house focuses on the Birth of our Lord.
Kate Daneluk is a wife, mother of 4, and co-founder of Making Music Praying Twice. With a background in music, theology and education, she contributes articles and resources to various publications.
Copyright 2010 Kate Daneluk