December 9, 2022
One of the great joys of the Christmas season is caroling. To either participate or witness this magical tradition is heartwarming and memorable. But how did caroling begin?
While originating in Europe in the Middle Ages, caroling or ‘wassailing’ was a way to bestow well wishes on neighbors doing the cold months. The hot spiced drink, Wassail, was given out to keep people warm and cozy during the long, cold winter nights. St. Francis of Assisi began using songs during his Christmas services in the 1200s (!) and the tradition stuck. Today we have classics like, ‘Silent Night’, and ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’, as well as ‘Jingle Bells’ and, ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas,’ that bring joy to people across the globe.
If you are planning on sharing some songs this holiday season, here are some tips for making it warm, fun, and festive!
In most parts of America, the temperatures are usually chilly in December, so layer up! It could be fun for everyone to wear matching hats or scarves so people know who is in your group, although it’s always fun when people join in and the group grows.
Buy a Caroling Book
We may all think we know these traditional songs, but it’s always good to have the lyrics on hand. Especially for young ones who are joining in, or visitors from other countries! This book has 35 traditional carols in a large text for all to read on those dark, wintry nights.
Make a Caroling Cocktail
Caroling isn’t caroling without a warm drink to keep your singing energized. Winter Wassail is of course the most traditional way to go. Make half with rum and half without if you have kids in the mix. Be sure to have thermoses for everyone ready to go before you head out for the evening. We love this Wassail recipe.
If your sister plays the tuba or your aunt plays the violin, bring them along to add to the musical magic! You can even order tambourines or a hand held set of bells for that authentic sleigh bell sound!
Get Kids Involved
One way to keep Christmas caroling a tradition is to start the kids young so they will continue the legacy! Be sure to provide them with their own little instruments and be sure to sing some songs they can keep up with. Also, if they love to sing, let them be the star and have a solo! This can be their night to shine.
Alert the Neighbors
You don't want to get all dolled up to sing to empty houses. Let your community know this will be happening on your neighborhood Facebook page. Or take the show on the road and set up a caroling area in your busy downtown area so more people can enjoy your efforts and maybe even join in.