Continuing the Tradition

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When I was a teenager, my brother dated a girl who came from a large family. Fifteen kids, to be exact. She loved to sing, as did her dad, siblings and many other family members. I remember my brother asking her what was her favorite kind of music and she replied, “Christmas music!” Every year, she would invite my family to join them in Christmas caroling. We would meet at her house and say hello to so many similar-looking people who would hug and welcome us into their home. Her dad would be so excited to sing – anything, in fact. He had a song for everything. He was always laughing and sneaking candy to all the kids. So much joy was in that home.

After we figured out our songs, we’d head out to the neighborhood and ring doorbells, always wondering if anybody was home. When the door opened, we would start to sing a Christmas song, laughing the whole time. We never knew how the home owner would take the surprise caroling. Sometimes they would try to offer us money, but we would refuse and walk on to the next house. We’d continue on as long as our coats, hats and gloves could keep us warm and then head back to their home and drink hot cocoa, eat more candy, and talk about the night.

We did this every year until I moved away. My brother married that girl and moved out of state…and everyone got older. A few years ago, my now sister-in-law asked me to help put together a night of Christmas caroling. Her mother had passed away. She thought her father needed a little lift in his spirits that Christmas and asked me to help out. We had a smaller group that year but we had another great night. We would sing to homes in our new neighborhood and got great responses…often bringing tears to those we came upon, reminding them of their Christmases past. The following year, we tried to arrange another night of caroling, but due to weather and her father’s failing health, we had to cancel the night. He then passed away the following spring time.

Later that year, I kept getting an inkling. “Go caroling.” I kept hearing it around August. What? Caroling? No. I can’t do that. Who would I go with? Where would I go? I don’t think it’s going to work. “Go caroling.” I’d try to put it out of my mind, but kept hearing it. So, I gathered up the courage and sent an email to friends at West Ridge and said, “This is probably crazy, but…” Before I knew it, I was on phone calls with a few people and was given names of families that could use a little extra Christmas cheer. I was put in contact with somebody who offered to bake an enormous amount of cookies, to deliver to all the homes. And then a web page was created for people to register to join me. Over 40 people signed up. Many of those that joined me said, “I can’t sing!” It doesn’t matter. It’s about the fun you have, the joy you spread, and the Christmas spirit.

We went out 4 different nights that month and visited over 20 homes. And you know what? Some of the best memories were spending time with the people who joined me. We all piled into cars and I got to know somebody new each night. We went all over – north, south, east and west of West Ridge. We never knew if the family would be home, so it was always a delight when the door opened. But even if it didn’t, a card and cookies were left.

We were determined, too. One of our friends at West Ridge was nominated to be caroled for…but kept evading us. But through the Holy Spirit, word got to us that this person would be out to dinner at a local restaurant. A quick phone call to the restaurant to make sure 40 people singing carols for a few minutes would be okay…and off we went. A gift card was left for a patron of the restaurant, paying for their dinner, too.

You never know what you’re going to get with Christmas caroling. That’s the joy of it. I never knew what I was in for, those 25 years ago. But now, I’m so honored to continue the tradition of Albert Kolich and I look forward to singing again with him some day.

I invite you to be a part of the tradition this year. Register here and get ready to Christmas Cheer!!

Blessings~ Jennifer Rome



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