Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Carols

Horrible picture, but children singing
Christmas carols always puts me
in the holiday spirit.
December 1st kicks off the Christmas season for me. When I was a child, I would have played Christmas carol records year round but my mother told me I had to wait until December 1st to listen to them. I don’t think either one of us realized that I played Christmas carols all the time because it was my favorite part of Christmas.
My love of carols actually stems from Christmas Eves spent at my Aunt Linda’s house, not from records. We used to gather together every year at Linda’s house, exchanging gifts, eating, drinking, and being merry, until the night finally culminated with round after round of Christmas carols.
At first, my great uncle Charles used to play the piano as we each took a turn choosing a carol to sing. After he died, my aunt Nancy took over, or my cousin Vance. We had plenty of piano players in the family and a nice, thick book of sheet music.
More than the tradition of singing, I came to realize that each member of the extended family had their favorite carols and I began to anticipate these each year. My aunt Linda always chose I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. Her son Vance chose O Holy Night. My dad always insisted on Hark, the Herald Angels Sing, and my brother liked Away in a Manger.
It’s been more than 25 years since we gathered at Linda’s house for Christmas Eve, but I still remember the favorites. Some are fading now. I can’t remember whether my aunt Nancy picked Good King Wenceslas or Silent Night. I don’t know what my grandmother or my mother chose. Linda moved and we discontinued Christmas Eves before I ever got see which songs my children would choose.
So now it’s December and we’re playing Christmas carols at my house. Maybe this will be the year we start singing our favorites at my house. We don’t have a piano; it will have to be a cappella. But I want to learn all the favorites again, and give my children that gift of tradition that I was so lucky to have.


  1. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, Jules

  2. Ah! I wonder who always picked Good King Wenceslaus?