All the Things

A blog by Holly Papa.

Caroling for Christmas

by | Dec 22, 2008 | Blog | 14 comments


We are excited to participate in the Blog Advent Tour 2008 this year. Special thanks to Marg and Kailana for hosting this event and you really should go and see all the blogs that are particpating. Check out the other advent posts for today at Jane from Janezlifeandtimes, Memory from Stella Matutina, Debbie from Friday Friends Book Blog.

One of the most consistent traditions in our home growing up, was going Christmas caroling to all our neighbors – usually right before Christmas (like the 23rd or 24th), because our other big family tradition is procrastinating (and not just for Christmas). We grew up in a family with seven brothers, which made for powerful voices, once they hit puberty. The ones who hadn’t hit it yet balanced out our severely lacking soprano section. 3 female voices to 8 male voices doesn’t exactly equal surround  sound. Our Mom was hoping to have the next family Von Trapp, so we all were exposed to music at a young age, memorizing the Christmas carol our Mom had found in a 1987 children’s magazine called Christmas Day.

cari_holly_christmasOur mom would often spend several hours preparing homemade goodies usually fudge and cookies – yummy!! Cari often volunteered to watch the plates in the back of the van and really what she wanted to do was snitch on some of the goodies (and yes they were delicious). Actually this was one of our most effective ways to make friends with our neighbors. One year the family across the street had gotten upset because of pranks by some neighbor kids. When we went over and sang our song it was like magic. They loved it and the neighbors were friendly from then on out. Singing to us is another form of communication. Often what makes high quality literature or literature that people like is the same elements you find in music – rhythm, rhyme and wonderful cadences. Music to us is just way to share our love of words.

christmas86Singing was also part of our annual Nativity reenactment. Though one year we had learned some ‘fun’ alternative lyrics to We Three Kings which, when our parents were recording our singing scene on the new video camera, came out as, “We Three Kings of Orient are, Tried to Smoke a loaded Cigar, It went boom and we went zoom. . .” and then we all burst into giggles. So much for the family von Trapp!

We highly recommend trying your hand at caroling or if you’re a little voice shy at least pick a favorite Christmas carol to learn as a family and sing together. If you do plan to try some caroling Scholastic has some great tips and links to popular Christmas songs at Caroling with Kids.

We’ve added a list of movies and books with Holiday songs or singing. Please feel free to add to our list and if we get lots of recommendations maybe we’ll do a round-up.

Holiday books with music or tied to a Christmas song.

I want a Hippopotomus for Christmas by John Rox and Bruce Whatley

Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer by Alan Benjamin and Peter Emslie

Twas the Night  Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore

Holiday Movies with Singing

White Christmas

Mr. Krueger’s Christmas

How the Grinch Stole Christmas? (1966)

These are just a few of the ones we could think of. So what’s your favorite Holiday song, movie or story with music? Or do you have some first-hand experience with caroling? We’d love to hear from you.


  1. Krissi

    I read the eight boys and three girls sentence, did the math and then, my mom brain went numb after that. Eleven children, my goodness. Well it sounds like you had some wonderful traditions with your family. Merry Christmas.

  2. Memory

    What a nice post! I’d never thought about the connection between literature and music before, but that does make a lot of sense.

  3. caribookscoops

    Krissy – I should probably clarify, those numbers included our parents. There are nine of us, which is still a lot.

    Memory – Thanks for stopping by! I think music and literature often go well together.

  4. kailana

    What a great post! I cannot imagine my family doing such. ha ha! Thanks for joining in! Merry Christmas!

  5. Melissa

    I adore caroling. Love to go around singing, especially at Christmas time. But… my family doesn’t. Complaining, refusing to sing, more complaining… you get the picture.

    The best caroling experience I had was before children, when Hubby and I went around with some friends who were in an a cappella group. That rocked.

    Merry Christmas!

  6. hollybookscoops

    Kailana- Thank you for the compliment. We’re happy to participate!

    Melissa- We sure had a lot of complaining, refusing to sing, more complaining. It was a family mandate. You had to go or no Christmas presents. Pretty much.

    An all adult group sounds like fun. We’re going tonight with my kids, who were refusing to practice in the car last night. No Christmas presents is a pretty effective threat. We’re not above a little coercion at Christmas time. They’ll remember it fondly when they grow up. Just like me… 🙂

  7. Bookie Woogie

    Wow – big family! How wonderful!
    Merry Chirstmas Eve Day!

  8. Cindy O'Neil

    Loved this topic. I, too, had not connected the connection between good music and good literature – “rhythm, rhyme and wonderful cadences”.

    In addition to the door to door caroling this year we did a bit of caroling over the phone to those who couldn’t be here – a son living in a different state and a friend snowed in for the holidays in the Seattle area.

    I still love our traditional song for caroling – “Christmas is a time to share, a time to love and a time to care. . . .” It was so fun to have grandsons joining us singing to friends and neighbors. Again we were outnumbered with the male voices. We had an interesting discussion with 15, 19 and 21 year old sons about how they miss heard the words to the songs as children and so sang what they heard. One son heard “Santa Savior, let us celebrate His birth”. The correct words are “Sent the Savior, let us celebrate His Birth”. And another son heard “Good tidings we bring, to you and your King” when the correct words were “Good tidings we bring, to you and your kin”.

    Pruning traditions from the too busy Christmas season is prudent and necessary due to time and economic restraints – but hopefully this will be an ongoing tradition for years and generations to come.

  9. Louise

    What a wonderful post 🙂 I wasn’t at home when it was your day on the Blog Advent Tour as I was already away on Christmas Vacation, but I wanted to check in anyway and wishing you a belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 🙂

  10. caribookscoops

    Cindy – That’s funny about the lyric mix-ups. Caroling I think is definitely a fantastic tradition we hope to continue.

    Louise – Thanks for stopping by after your vacation. We hope your Holidays have been everything you wanted and Happy New Year.

  11. Christine

    The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is not to be missed for laugh out loud humor and insight into the meaning of Christmas. I hope yours was a good one!

  12. Fulano

    Your blog is something else! I have enjoyed reading your tips on good books for kids. Caroling sounds like it would have been quit the chore with 9 kids shepparded by just two parents. It sure proved for good memories even if your neighbors were dying to plug their ears.

    Happy Holidays and good furtune to Kids book reading in 2009.

  13. L. Owen

    I enjoyed reading about your Christmas caroling tradition. Hope both of your families had a wonderful holiday!

  14. hollybookscoops

    Christine- I agree, that is one of my favorite Christmas books.

    Fulano- Thanks for stopping by. Cari and I, as the oldest kids, did a lot of babysitting and helping out, so yeah, 2:9 isn’t easy, but really when you get past two, you’re outnumbered anyway.

    L. Owen- Thanks! We had a great holiday- hope you did too!



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