When I was a little girl, oh so many years ago, I was fascinated with the idea of caroling door-to-door. I’d seen carolers on TV, in old movies and in Christmastime advertisements, and it seemed romantic to 10-year-old me. Sadly, my efforts one year to get my family bundled up and caroling to the neighborhood failed miserably (is anyone out there surprised?)
My solution? A caroling party!
I invited a few of my friends over to my house for a caroling party. I’m not sure they knew exactly what I was talking about when I invited them, but they came anyway. I had typed up several song sheets, and my Mom copied them at work for me. I pulled words from my parents’ Mitch Miller Christmas Sing-along album, and tried to choose a variety of songs, from Silent Night to Santa Claus is Coming to Town.
When all of my friends arrived, we bundled up (remember, we’re talking about Minnesota in December) and headed off with our song sheets. We started off in one direction from my house. Before we arrived at each house, we would decide on a song and pick a starting note (this had to be tweaked as we went, as we found that some songs got too high or low if we picked a bad starting note). Then we’d ding the doorbell and wait. As soon as the door started to move, we’d start singing. After a few houses, we determined that one song wasn’t always enough, and that some of our caroling targets expected or wanted one more. (I can’t remember if it was just a feeling we had, or if some people acutally asked for a second song.) So, we started to choose two songs as we walked up to a new house, one would be in reserve as an “encore”.
A few people invited us in for cookies, but since we were 11- and 12-year-old girls, my Mom had instructed us to decline. (It turns out one of the houses that invited us in were friends with my parents, but they weren’t offended that we didn’t come in.) Instead, I had planned ahead, and asked my Mom to have cocoa and cookies ready for us at my house when we returned.
I was a happy girl by the end of the day. My friends seemed to have a good time. Best of all, I had gotten to go out caroling and spread Christmas cheer to at least 20 different households. I hosted a second caroling party the next year, but quit after that. Still, those two years of caroling with my friends have left me with memories almost as romantic as I once thought caroling was.