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Some Guidance for Caroling

December 30th, 2012 Seasonal

Even if you and your friends and family aren't the best singers in the world, Christmas Caroling can be a traditional way to spread the joy of the holidays around a neighborhood. It could even be a good way to introduce yourself to people who live down the street. Don't be afraid to chat for a little while at your caroling stops, especially if the denizens of the home invite you in for coffee and Christmas cookies.

Punchbowl.com recommends that carolers plan a route in advance to avoid confusion, bring snacks, drinks and flashlights along if caroling at night, and plan on caroling the next year if the weather doesn't seem ideal. But, most importantly, it's good to rehearse a few songs in the weeks before the caroling journey is scheduled. here are some suggestions.

12 Days of Christmas
Originally created as a way for Catholics to celebrate their faith without persecution at the hands of the English government, the objects sang in the 12 Days of Christmas were intended as metaphors for aspects of the religion, according to Snopes.com and other sources. For example, the two turtle doves represent the Old and New Testament. But you don't have to be religious to enjoy belting out this Christmas standby alongside of pack of your fellow merry carolers. Just make sure to harmonize properly during the "Five Golden Rings!" verse.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Penned by Johnny Marks - who can also be credited for "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and "Holly Jolly Christmas" - the ballad of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer began with a Chicago retail chain that wanted to design a character for a Christmas coloring book in 1939, according to the History Channel. Marks didn't convert Rudolph's story into what became a holiday standard until about 10 years later. The tune's lyrics document Rudolph's heroic journey from an outcast reindeer with a freakish glowing nose, to the reindeer who near-single-handedly saved Christmas when his nose was the only thing bright enough to light the path of Santa's sleigh through an especially foggy Christmas Eve.

Jingle Bells
Some dispute exists over who deserves writer's credit for "Jingle Bells," according to an article appearing in the website for WBUR. Some claim it was scribed by Medford, Mass., native James Pierpont in 1850. Others say Pierpont didn't complete his masterpiece, which was originally called "One Horse Open Sleigh," until several years later in Savannah, Ga. Regardless, "Jingle Bells" remains a favorite of Christmas carolers - especially because of the opportunity it affords carolers to indulge a horrendously off-key "Ha Ha Ha!" after the lyric, "laughing all the way."

Silent Night
The somewhat more somber, and certainly more difficult to sing, "Silent Night" could provide a challenge for an experienced band of carolers. According to Soundscapes.info, the first known performance of what was then called "Stille Nacht! Heilge Nacht!" occurred in early 19th century Austria, apparently during a Christmas mass. Although, the site also points to some alternate versions of the song's backstory - some of which revolve around a new Christmas carol needing to be quickly written on a guitar due to a malfunctioning organ.