The first time I ever went caroling was as a Brownie Scout in 1960. Armed with our carol booklets, provided by the John Hancock Life Insurance Company, we went to the homes of people in the community who had chronic illnesses. We sang Here We Come A-Wassailing and O Come, All Ye Faithful and finished up with Silent Night, our shivering bodies crowded together on the front porches of each house along our route. After serenading half a dozen families, we returned to our Scout meeting room for hot cocoa (spiked with candy canes) and home-baked cookies.
Photo by The Wu’s Photo Land
For the rest of my childhood and high school and college years, going caroling was, if not annual, at least often a part of my Christmas season. And groups of carolers occasionally came to sing on our front porch.
Alas, not all of my contemporaries partook of this tradition.
When Greg and I had been married for a year or two, he bought me a Wurlitzer electronic piano that fit in our tiny living room and could be easily transported. Planning to spend Christmas Day with my in-laws, I insisted we bring the piano along, so we could all sing carols together.
What a bomb. My husband’s family would rather stick needles in their eyes than sing around the piano. They were quite content to let me play while they conversed. I felt like a lounge musician.
Many years later, our doorbell rang one December afternoon, and when Greg answered the door, carolers burst into song. Greg shut the door on them, causing me to feel mortified. “Hey, they were trying to walk into the house,” he said. (It turned out they were my neighbor’s out-of-town relatives, who thought it would be fun to serenade the cul-de-sac.)
Photo by Mike Renlund.
These days, my caroling cravings are satisfied at Christmas carol services at church, but I long for the olden days when going door-to-door was common.
Do you go caroling? Do you have any caroling memories? What are your favorite carols? Share in the comments below.