Christmas Tradition: Caroling in Small Towns and Big Cities

As kids, we used to go caroling around our little town to raise some funds for some humanitarian project. Now that we live in the city and I have kids of my own, they also go caroling to raise funds for some humanitarian projects. The carols have not changed much but the way caroling is conducted differs in small towns and big cities.

caroling inside a church
caroling inside a church | Source

Caroling in Small Towns

The favorite Christmas carols have not changed much but caroling in small towns and in big cities are certainly different.

During our high school days, our group would start rehearsing Christmas carols right after Halloween. Then once advent sets in, we would start caroling around our town. We would go caroling almost house to house every Friday and Saturday night right after dinner.

The money that we got from this activity was used to buy little gift items for the children of the less privileged in our town. That's why I mentioned above that we would go almost house to house. Why almost, because we skipped going to the houses of those we who are underprivileged.

Those were fun times. We did not mind going out late in the evening as long as we were able to gather enough cash for our gift giving activity.

Since we know every household in our town, we already know from experience who are the generous givers and who the Scrooge-like people are. Every time we reached the house of the generous ones, we would always field our best singer to sing solo "Oh Holy Night".  That's how we "gifted" our would-be benefactors! Hahaha!

Aside from "Oh Holy Night" some of our other favourite carols then were:

Oh Come All Ye Faithful

Silent Night

Joy to the World

Deck the Halls

Jingle Bells

First Noel

Whispering Hope

Hark the Herald

Oh Little Town of Bethlehem

Pasko Ay Sumapit (A Pilipino carol)

Silver Bells

Christmas decor
Christmas decor | Source

Caroling in Big Cities

My own family now lives in the city. My children never experienced caroling in a small town. However, when they were in college, their own group also went caroling for humanitarian reasons. They also have gift giving activities during Christmas. The way they conduct caroling here in the city is however very different from our small town affair.

My nephew singing with his choral group
My nephew singing with his choral group

First difference is a letter to a household requesting permission to carol at their house. In our small town, we never bothered sending a letter because people expect caroling during this season.

The second difference is the house owner usually prepares some food for the carollers. So aside from a cash contribution, the homeowner also prepares food. In our town during our time, we went caroling after dinner, so nobody is expected to prepare food for us.

singing with friends at home
singing with friends at home | Source

In the city during our children's caroling years, they start early in the evening so they can go to maybe 3 or 4 houses in one night. These houses are not necessarily found in the same neighbourhood. So usually most of them haven't had any dinner yet when they start caroling.

My daughter told me that her friends have already identified our house as the one that serves the best spaghetti and hotdogs. They remembered this because they carolled for 7 years (the overlapping college years of my 2 daughters) at our place. Several of the members also have their own siblings as part of their choir, so the information about the food was also handed down.

During their second year of caroling, I learned that my children's friends looked forward to this food, so in keeping with the tradition, I have served them the same menu all these years - spaghetti and hotdogs! Hahaha!

We always welcomed these caroling occasions because we not only got to meet the friends of our children but also heared some other new Christmas carols or new versions of the old ones.

Aside from the traditional songs I mentioned above, the other Christmas songs I heard during my children's caroling years are:

Medley of Christmas Carols from Around the World

Pasko na Sinta Ko (Pilipino carol)

Angels We Have Heard On High

Stylized version of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer

12 Days of Christmas

Little Drummer Boy

What Child Is This

Oh Christmas Tree

my daughter's group as they caroled at home
my daughter's group as they caroled at home
my daughter's group singing Christmas carols
my daughter's group singing Christmas carols

My children have now graduated from college so no organized choral group comes our way anymore.

 We of course still get carollers like the neighbourhood kids. These kids however are just mostly interested in getting some goodies and are not really that interested in singing.

I sometimes miss my children's caroling years. I also miss preparing spaghetti and hotdogs for a bunch of hungry carollers! However, hotdogs and spaghetti have now become part of our Christmas menu. And I just listen to Christmas carols on my cd player.

my daughter caroling with friends at home
my daughter caroling with friends at home | Source

Pasko Na Sinta Ko (A Pilipino carol and love song)

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Comments 46 comments

tony0724 profile image

tony0724 5 years ago from san diego calif

Jill I am so happy that I get to break in this hub for you. And I have to say this is just charming, as are you ! And you have a lovely family. I guess I should start early and with you and wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas my freind.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Tony,

Thanks for being the first one here! You certainly are a great ice breaker!

Thanks very much for you lovely comment!

Thanks too for your Christmas wish! I also wish you the happiest Christmas ever!

God bless!


carrie450 profile image

carrie450 5 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

Hi Jill, I love these traditions around the world. I've always lived in large cities and have only seen caroling at Christmas time in shopping centers. It must be so nice to go door to door to sing these.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Carrie,

It's so nice to see you!

Yes, it's really so nice going door to door caroling. Those nights are very memorable.

Thanks very much for visiting and leaving a beautiful comment.

I wish you the best this Christmas season!

God bless!


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 5 years ago from India

Thanks for taking me back, Jill! What lovely memories your hub evokes - I wonder how long these simple traditions will last in a world that's getting increasingly impersonal!


De Greek profile image

De Greek 5 years ago from UK

You cannot imagine how much I want to be in the Philippines over teh Christmas priod. People make it so very special :-)


samsons1 profile image

samsons1 5 years ago from Tennessee

up and beautiful! Well written. Thanks for sharing. Working at the Boy & Girls Club, we like to go caroling at the local nursing homes each year...


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Shalini,

I always appreciate your visits.

You are most welcome! It's my pleasure to share a tradition that I have enjoyed for years. I do hope that it will last for a long time even in our increasingly impersonal world as you said.

Thanks very much for sharing a lovely comment.

God bless!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi De Greek,

Thanks again for your visit.

Yes, nothing beats the Christmas season here I think. Thank you very much for your kind thoughts. I do hope you will be able to visit again especially during Christmas!

God bless!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Sam,

Thanks very much for your up and beautiful vote. I really appreciate it.

Oh, that's great! People in nursing homes could really use some lovely songs and cheer.

Thanks for dropping by.

God bless!


onegirlfactory profile image

onegirlfactory 5 years ago

Caroling must never die, though I have to say it's even better if it's actually well done :)


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi onegirlfactory,

I most certainly agree with you. "Caroling must never die!" It's really a wonderful tradition.

Thanks for the visit and lovely comment.

God bless!


Imelda R. Dillon  5 years ago

Caroling is definetly a Filipino tradition I bestowed to my children & they treasure it much!!!!We do serve foods and filipino foods too.We do have plenty of Carolers here at U.S.,especially the Sisters & Bothers at The Seminary,& they send the Funds to their Congregation where they are from.Since my children are all on their own,we do carols Christmas Eve & Day with my son at the piano,& Christine with her Flute.Caroling will never cease as long as there's Filipinos everywhere & it's a great tradition .Have a Happy Christmas with your family...

Very nice article as usual,well written timely


coffeesnob 5 years ago

Jill

Great hub! I love the "Pasko Na Sinta Ko"

so beautiful! I enjoy caroling and singing christmas songs in general. I enjoy just listening too.

Thanks for sharing your family,

Carol


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago

Jill, can i come over for spaghetti and hot dogs? I love the fact that you guys carol for humanitarian reasons. It must be fun going from house to house to bring cheer. I used to do that in high school in Singapore too (minus the fund raising). I missed those days. Lovely hub.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Mimi,

I'm so happy that you decided to drop by! Caroling is definitely one tradition that is worth keeping. I still remember fondly our high school caroling days. You are lucky you have a musical family. Singing together is really great!

Thanks very much for your wonderful comment! I wish you the best Christmas ever.

God bless!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Carol,

It's great to see you! I'm happy that you enjoyed Pasko na Sinta Ko. Did you hear it before when you visited here?

Singing Christmas carols is a really great way to share during Christmas. Like you, I also love singing and listening.

I wish you a Christmas filled with love and good cheer.

God bless!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Angeline,

You know that you can come over anytime for spaghetti and hot dogs and more! That will really be fun! I really hope it is possible! Just thinking about the possibility makes me smile!

See, we did the same things while we were in high school! Caroling is really fun! I feel all warm and misty eyed when I think of those days.

Thanks for your wonderful comment.

God bless!


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 5 years ago from I'm outta here

Christmas caroling is a wonderful tradition I see less and less of. We always did this as a child, no less than trick or treat. I hope this amazing report of the Christmas tradition of caroling brings it back to life in a bigger way! Love, Peace and Joy :)


coffeesnob 5 years ago

Jill, This was the first time hearing it!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Katiem,

I'm happy that caroling is still being done here. I heard that they still go caroling house to house in our small town. However, they have gone more hi-tech. Sometimes they bring a record player and play a minus one that they sing along to. During our time, we used to just bring a guitar (which I played by the way), and then some "chimes" made out of used bottle caps. It was fun!

Thanks for your lovely comment.

God bless!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Carol,

Thanks for coming back!

Oh, that's nice! Usually, people don't immediately enjoy listening to something that is not familiar. It usually takes getting used to. That's why I thought you heard the song before.

Thanks again!

God bless!


Whidbeywriter profile image

Whidbeywriter 5 years ago from Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, Washington

What a great way to spread the Christmas spirit and love and the generosity of it all. Loved this hub - cheers!


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 5 years ago

Jill of alltrades, Beautiful hub! Lovely family and such wonderful traditions. What a wonderful way to Celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ!

Thank you for sharing, In His Love, Grace, Peace, Joy & Blessings! Have a Marvelously Blessed Christmas! GOD BLESS YOU!


Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 5 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

Christmas caroling doesn't happen a lot in my hometown any more, and I miss the experience. The Priest at the church my parents attend once brought carolers to my parents home, which was truly delightful and made my Mom and Dad so happy. It is a wonderful part of Christmas and I miss it very much. Thanks for bringing back some nice memories.

Mike


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

What wonderful memories of a healthy, wholesome activity. I recall caroling in our community neighborhoods with my girlfriends. This just does not happen nowadays in the cities...actually, I can't recall it happening in the rural areas either! Nice hub.


BobbiRant profile image

BobbiRant 5 years ago from New York

We have a tradition in our small town where we live called Starshine and they have carolers on the main street singing while you shop, wonderful and wonderful hub.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Whidbeywriter,

Thank you very much for your generous comment!

I wish you the best Christmas ever!

God bless!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi DeBorrah,

It's nice to see you!

Thank you very much for your wonderful comment. Caroling is really a beautiful tradition and I hope it will remain as such.

May your Christmas be filled with lots of love and beauty.

God bless!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Mike,

Great to see you!

Oh, that's sad to know. I am happy and thankful that caroling is still being practiced here. I can imagined how your parents much have enjoyed the carols.

Thanks very much for sharing your lovely story.

God bless!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Denise,

Thanks very much for dropping by and leaving a heartwarming comment.

May your Christmas be the best ever.

God bless!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello Bobbi,

Thank you very much for your visit and beautiful story. What a wonderful way to spread happiness in your place. The name Starshine is just perfect!

God bless!


CarolineChicago profile image

CarolineChicago 5 years ago from Chicago, IL

Jill:

I love your small town & city traditions! And congrats on being named the best spaghetti & hot dogs by a bunch of hungry young people. That's a major accomplishment too!!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Caroline,

Hahaha, "being named the best spaghetti & hot dogs by a bunch of hungry young people" is honor indeed! And you know what, I still sometimes meet some of my daughters' friends who remind me about this "honor". Hahaha!

Thanks for your lovely comment Caroline!

God bless!


heart4theword profile image

heart4theword 5 years ago from hub

Would of liked to hear your daughter's group:) Just heard on the radio today, about a older woman who was offended by someone at church so stopped going. Then a small group one couple from that same church, caroled at her home, and she was so touched. It appeared God healed her heart through song...she said it would be a time she would always remember:) What a nice gift of Love!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello heart,

Yes, it was always a treat to hear the group singing. It's really a wonderful tradition.

That is a beautiful story about the healing power of music. That's really wonderful! Thanks very much for sharing.

God bless!


sarovai profile image

sarovai 5 years ago

Hi jill , thank u for sharing the christmas tradition in town and city. I never heard about this caroling. It is good that by doing carolling you help others.


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 5 years ago

Beautiful hub and videos! Thank you!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello Sarovai,

Caroling is really a beautiful tradition here. I have happy memories of this activity.

Thanks for the visit and beautiful comment.

God bless!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Mickey,

Thank you very much for your beautiful words! It's really my pleasure to share something nice.

God bless!


Becky Puetz profile image

Becky Puetz 5 years ago from Oklahoma

I enjoyed reading your story so much. sounds like your life was filled with wonderful memories and now your children have heart felt memories to draw upon in latter years. Such a sweet story. Love the pictures too. Thanks so much for sharing such a warm lovely story :) Awesome Hub.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Becky,

Nice to see you!

What a lovely thing to say! Yes we've got many happy memories. I'm sure you also have your share of them.

Have a great New Year!

God bless!


talitz2550 profile image

talitz2550 5 years ago from Thailand

Hi Jill, I've seen this just now sorry, nice hub and I love the first photo, the one with the nativity. Lovely captures of the caroling activity as well. Have a great week ahead :)

-Lolit


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Lolit,

It's nice to see you!

Well, you might be a little late for Christmas but it's always the act of visiting that counts.

Thanks for your lovely comments.

God bless!


ROBERTHEWETTSR profile image

ROBERTHEWETTSR 4 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

Beautiful, well written and brings out great memories. Robert


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 4 years ago from Philippines Author

Hello Robert,

Thank you so much! I'm happy if this hub brought out some happy memories!

God bless!

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