I have very fond memories of caroling as a child. We had these ancient hand typed cheat sheets that were packaged with our Christmas decorations. They would come out every year for general singing, but were also used as we walked around with our family and friends going door to door holding candles.
There is something magic about knocking on someone’s door, they answer not knowing who it is, and then the smile on their face as they hear the singing and call over others in the house to listen.
In college, our SCA group used to carol across the Cornell campus, singing several more period pieces (even in Latin and German)
Every year, I tell myself that I need to start doing it again. I’ve tried to push the Iron Bog caroling, but realized that I should be doing it with my family as well.
Well, this year it’s going to change. We’re going to go, and I would *love* to have your voices be heard alongside ours. Just a few hours out of your weekend to put smiles on your face and those of others.
That was part of an email I sent to friends a few weeks ago. Yesterday we were able to bring it all together. Now, my original vision of going door to door with candles was thrown for a loop with the bad weather yesterday. My rain date was also up against something else, and I *really* didn’t want to miss out on going, especially since I had several responses.
So we went with Plan B. That consisted of me tracking down a nursing home or assisted living location that would welcome us on short notice. Luckily, I found one not far from us in Deptford. I sent out an email early in the day to let folks know not to get nervous with the rain.
Overall, it went really well. We had 8 adults and 8 children, though only 2 of the kids actually joined in the singing.
Our music was holiday and seasonally inspired. Since almost half of the singers were Jewish, we want to make sure to not be overly Christian in our song choices, while at the same time including some Chanukah songs (which are really hard to find sheet music for, btw)
We wind up singing to a group of about 15-20 older women (and a few men), plus the staff. It was great to watch them sing along and smile in recognition as we worked through the songs.
It was actually more difficult to do it this way. Had we gone from house to house, we would have had breathers between songs. We could also have repeated the ones everyone knew really well, or tended to get the best reception. In this case, we just worked through the handout I’d given everyone. We sang for about 45 minutes.
Afterwards we returned to my house for cookies, hot cider, hot chocolate, and “Jewish death bread” (with clotted cream of course). Those celebrating Chanukah light their Menorah and exchanged gifts. The kids watched the classics of Rudolph and Frosty on DVD.
Thank you everyone who came and joined us. It was a wonderful evening, and hope the resident’s smiles stay with you throughout the season.
Here was our final set list of songs (* = actually sung):
The Twelve Days of Christmas *
Good King Wenceslas
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer *
My Favorite Things *
Jingle Bells *
Let it Snow *
Over the River *
Jingle Bell Rock *
Carol of the Bells
The Holly and the Ivy
Deck the Halls *
Frosty The Snowman *
Winter Wonderland *
O Chanukah, O Chanukah *
Dreidel, Dreidel *
Oh Christmas Tree
Here we come a-caroling
We Wish You a Merry Christmas *
The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) *
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
We Need a Little Christmas
Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree *
Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Up on the Housetop
The Night Before Christmas
Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Sleigh Ride *
Hey Ho Nobody Home (shortened verses)
Boar’s Head Carol