A chill is in the air, the calendar is marching forward to that magic date, and the carolers will soon be out. When they show up at your door, grab your mug of tea and sip it while you listen. It will be a warm tea moment.
Christmas carols have a long history. One theory is that they started as songs to celebrate the Winter Solstice that occurs around the 21st or 22nd of December. As Christianity became more widespread, especially in the British Isles, December 25th was set for Christ Mass (shortened to Christmas) and some of these songs of Solstice celebration became songs to celebrate Christmas instead. Through the centuries that followed, composers came up with songs that ranged from the ethereal (“O Come, All Ye Faithful”) to the romantic (“White Christmas”) to the silly (“Frosty the Snowman”) to the downright awful (“Santa Got Run Over by a Reindeer”).
Not all Christmas carols are suitable for wandering carolers to sing. Some are too complex, others too obscure, and others might not be fit for the younger or more sensitive members of the ever-changing audience as your caroling troupe goes from house to house.
Some fairly simple and popular carols:
- Angels We Have Heard on High
- Away in a Manger
- Ding Dong! Merrily on High
- Frosty the Snowman
- Hark the Herald Angels Sing
- I Heard the Bells
- The Holly & The Ivy
- Jingle Bells
- Joy to the World
- Nuttin’ For Christmas
- O Christmas Tree (O Tannenbaum)
- O Come, All Ye Faithful
- Rudolph – Red Nosed Reindeer
- Santa Claus is Coming to Town
- Silent Night
- We Wish You a Merry Christmas
Of course, if you want to be politically correct, there are a number of alternatives, such as:
- Equal Opportunity Elf Employer from the North Pole Is Coming to Town
- We Wish You a Merry Celebration Three Days After Winter Solstice
- I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That
If you want to do some caroling instead of being the audience, there are a few basics to keep in mind:
- Dress appropriately for the weather (duh!)
- Select songs that are well-known and easy to sing
- Encourage your audience to join in and sing with you
- Carry along your special travel tea mug (there are lots of designs to choose from on the market) — it will keep you warm inside as you sip the tea, and keep your hands warm just holding it.
You may not have a voice like Johnny Mathis, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, or Celine Dion, but don’t hesitate at this time of year to join in with those carolers at your door. And don’t forget to have some tea ready to refill their travel mugs, if it’s needed. Ho ho ho — ah, tea!
This holiday season make sure to check out A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!