Christmas traditions, like most celebrations that occur with the changing of the seasons, have roots reaching deep into the soil of history. The tradition of Christmas caroling goes back to the 19th century, though its true origins are murky.
The general concept is this: People sang to their neighbors to wish good fortune upon them in hopes of receiving a present in return. In this day and age, caroling has become a thing of the past, typically seen only at schools, churches, and nursing homes.
We propose you bring back this old pastime and host your own caroling party! Singing, sipping warm drinks, and spreading seasonal cheer with your closest friends and neighbors could make for a lifelong memory – and create a new yearly tradition. Follow along as we show you how to make the perfect holiday caroling party spring to life.
1) Send the Invitation
You can’t have a party without an invite! Name your party something with a specific theme. Try “Christmas Throwback – Join Us for a Caroling Party!” or “Carols and Cards – Join Us for a Night of Poker and Caroling.” Thought you might be the only person this year throwing THAT party!
Include the suggestion that everyone wears a scarf, mittens, and a hat to stay warm in the cool night air. You could also suggest they bring a lantern or flashlight with them as a safety measure once it gets dark. This will help you see where to talk and will help cars to see your group.
2) Select the Carols
Believe it or not, most of the songs we know as our Christmas carols date back to the 1800’s. Talk about timeless tunes! Take a poll among the friends you invited and find out their favorite carols. Keep it simple and select no more than 5 songs.
3) Build a Song Book
This is an easy, inexpensive keepsake for everyone attending your party. Print out the selected carols, along with a cover page and back page. Print the cover and back on a different colored sheet of a paper, like red or green. Put the name of your party on the cover – and be sure to date it.
Simply 3-hole-punch your stack of sheets, and thread some cotton string or twine around each hole. Tie tightly, but not so tight that you break the paper. Your song book is built!
4) Decide Your Holiday Caroling Route
Make note of the streets your party will walk during the night. If you’re friendly with your neighbors, let them know ahead of time you’ll be coming by with your friends to sing, so they’re sure to be home. The children will love it, too.
If you live in an area with businesses, swing by the front of them and spread your cheer. The customers will love it, and who knows, you might grab a deal next time you pop in for business!
5) Include Bells or Other Light Instruments
Not everyone wants to be at the front of the pack singing their lungs out. Why not add an added layer of magic by giving everyone bells to jingle along with the tunes?
Other hand instruments to consider are a triangle or a tambourine. If your friends are musicians, they’re sure to have additional percussion instruments they could bring to share.
6) Warm Drinks and Winter Treats
Get the party started off right with a seasonally inspired warm beverage. In the old days, wassail, a hot and thick spiced beverage, was served before caroling. The idea was it would keep the well-wishers warm before they began their journey.
Keep a pot of eggnog on the stove, or brew up a batch of apple cider. Include a few sticks of cinnamon and fresh cranberries in your cider for added beauty. You could also set out a hot chocolate station including mugs, hot chocolate, an electric kettle for boiling water, and tiny marshmallows to go on top.
Since hot drinks and desserts go hand in hand together, this is the perfect opportunity to make and share holiday cookies or to slice up your annual Christmas cake. The holidays are the time of year to indulge, so get creative!
7) The Night of the Party
After everyone is warmed up from the tasty liquids and treats, it’s time to get started. Hand out your song books, and let everyone know which route you’re taking. This is also a great time to take that group photo to mark the moment! Head safely out into the crisp winter air, and fill the hearts of others with your warm songs.
Make it a Christmas tradition, with this year marking the first one. Who knows? If you keep these books around and bring them out every year to sing with your friends and family, you might be using them for generations to come!
Is this your first holiday caroling party, or are you a veteran caroler? How do you make each year so special? Please share with our readers below!