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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 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 activities.
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!
O Holy Night
The Priest singing O Holy Night
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.
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.
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 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.
Caroling with the Seniors Group
Now my children are all graduated from college. They no longer go around caroling. However, I am happy to say that caroling has not gone out of my life.
I am now part of a senior citizens' group in our village. This time we have our own caroling group and we go around our village caroling also for humanitarian reasons and for our seniors' group needs.
This is really fun! From a small town caroler, to a city caroler. The tradition is still going strong! It is enduring!