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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.

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Our 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.

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Singing 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.