Twinkling lights, crackling fires and jingle bells in the air. These sure signs mark the beginning of the holiday season, but nothing says quintessential Christmas quite like carolers at your door. While this old school tradition might seem daunting with the tot lot in tow, it’s more than do-able. Make a new family tradition this year and use our simple tips to make your caroling adventure one to remember.
1) Layer like you mean it. Ooh, baby it’s cold outside doesn’t even begin to cover some of those blustery winter nights. So be sure to dress the brood accordingly. Scarves, hats, big wooly mittens and boots are where it’s at. They keep everyone warm and toasty, and ready to belt out that next verse. Hey, if the kids are warm, they stay happy, so you can sing a little longer.
2) Add some flair. You may not need 37 piece of flair exactly, but when it comes to caroling accessories, you’ve got to have a few. Think Gleek Chic (it’s a new thing, trust us) when making your selection, because caroling is one of those times you need to dress the part. Plus, your kiddos will love it! Christmas kitsch like Santa hats, reindeer antler headbands and those blinking Christmas light necklaces you swore you’d never buy (but secretly always wanted to) were made for nights like these. Just remember to wear them like a boss!
3) Get the band back together. It’s time to unearth those musical instruments you hid so well. You know, the ones from kid-less relatives. Caroling is the perfect time for those jingle bells, countless kazoos and wooden clappers that were once the soundtrack of numerous impossible-to-hear phone conversations. And the best part about bringing these noise makers to the party? The Tiny Tim’s and Tina’s of the bunch can join in, too. Even if they can’t sing the words, they can still bang a drum. All together now!
4) The more the merrier. Rally the troops and call the neighbors! There are carols to be sung. And group caroling adds to the party. Just be sure to take a head count every once in a while.
5) Sing for a cause. In the spirit of the season, consider collecting for a local charity or food bank. Whatever route you choose, have a little information about the organization at the ready. Then carry an envelope, bring a sled or pull a wagon for the donations (and possibly tired toddlers). And if you post the name of the charity on your ride, we’ll bet you won’t even have to ask. All season’s a go with this spirited bonus!
6) If you build it they will come. If you’re worried about trudging through snow or the kidlets tiring out after just two houses, try a one-stop-shop. Call local nursing homes and hospitals, or your fire department and police stations to offer up some Christmas cheer in the form of family carolers. This one requires a little prep and a good 15 minutes of songs. But those little voices singing out some Christmas faves are a big pull with these crowds. It’s a definite two-birds, one-stone sitch where the little wigglers stay and happy and warm while giving back to the community. The only question is who wants to emcee this rockin’ event?
7) To everything turn, turn, turn. So there’s this thing that the mini me’s sometimes do called “not sharing.” But caroling is a great time for them to share among a group. Let the littles take turns picking the songs, ringing the doorbells, or even selecting the next house to visit. Big buy in and some serious ownership of your new tradition are just added bonuses! And it’s okay, they don’t need to know they’re practicing a life skill. We won’t tell!
8) Less is more. For the tiny tots especially, stick with about 3 songs (give or take) that they really know and can sing. Then, break them out at every house. Don’t worry, your neighbors won’t know you’re playing a short bench. The only question is how many times can you handle the Jingle Bells refrain? Dashing through the snow!
9) The piece de resistance. The final chapter of any caroling adventure is always the creamy cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows (candy cane stir stick optional) for the kiddos at the end. They earned it!
Do you have a Christmas caroling tip to share? Leave it in a comment below.
Photo thanks to: Victoria Ledford’s 22 and Counting blog, Sarah Rasmussen, Erin Cranston