I always loved Christmas Caroling. Whether it was out and about in our neighborhood or going floor to floor in the local hospital, it was fun, fulfilling and a great way to spend a long, cold, dark New Jersey winter evening.
We’d get a group of kids together and spend a few moments practicing, not to mention flirting and gossiping. No complicated and obscure songs for us – old standards like White Christmas and Winter Wonderland ensured that we didn’t have to carry sheet music (though my sister and her friends would bring their flutes and trumpets and violins, along with very much required sheet music).
We’d bundle up in warm coat, cozy scarf and gloves – and sometimes snow boots, and go out into the cold night. I lived in a garden apartment complex with hundreds of units. Four apartments shared one vestibule, so we’d squeeze in and start singing.
People would open their doors and listen to our songs, and sometimes join in. We’d get responses ranging the gamut from slight applause to generous tips. There was the occasional heckler, but we just chalked that up to simple bad taste.
Afterwards we’d gather in someone’s home and sip hot chocolate. It was fun. It filled us with the spirit of the season, and while it wasn’t the reason we did it and it certainly didn’t fill our pockets, it gave us a nice little cushion.
So, why don’t people do it anymore? Are we too busy? Are people too afraid to venture out at night? Too lazy?
Every year I try to get a group of people together to do it. And every year I get no takers. Granted, we live where the weather makes it so that it never feels like Christmas. But to me that is all the more reason to keep up old traditions.
I’m complaining about the Good Old Days.
I’m getting old.
But I feel a series coming on…