Young and coffee in varying degrees, Kat also says stuff @ThoroughlyMode
In 'days of yore' – pre central heating - winter was a harder time for people than it is today, and some poor souls literally had to sing for their Christmas dinner. In kinder times that mantle of singing for food or money was passed on to those doing charitable deeds to help those less fortunate than themselves. And this is the Christmas tradition I'm humbly extolling in these few paragraphs.
For, as well as doing something for others, it's hard to go 'a carolling without feeling a little of that old fashioned Christmas spirit – the one the muppets sing about in 'The Muppet Christmas Carol' – spreading into your own heart – the one that might have been a bit burned and desensitised to Christmas by the experience of Christmas shopping.
The basic idea is that you'll gather together a couple of friends, preferably musical ones, and go out and sing, or play if you can, for money, then give that money to a charity helping people who have less to be thankful for at Christmas than you do. People used to go around the houses like a sort of musical trick or treat, depending on the quality of the singing, but it's potentially more effective these days to carol on a street corner, 'cause you'll spread the warmth of your Christmas gesture to more people who need it. ie. those doing their Christmas shopping, and you'll hopefully make more money for your charity of choice. Alternatively you can take your music direct to the people and volunteer your services to an old people's home or similar – but you'd better make sure you're good before you do, you don't want pensioners to heckle your rendition of 'Jingle Bells'. Not unless you're making a video for youtube hoping to raise money that way...
The first step in singing for other people's suppers this Christmas is to do the paperwork: find out if you need permission to sing in public, choose the charity you want to contribute to, round up your most musical or generous friends and then work out when you're all available to sing/ play.
NOTE: the more people you have the harder it will be to hear individual voices so in this instance more than most, the more the merrier.
After that it's time to get down to rehearsal. There are two things that a good caroller doth make: 1. enthusiasm for the songs and the spirit of the thing. 2. practice, practice, practice.
There are some songs that should definitely make your repertoire of Yule tunes – here's the basic list:
But there's no reason not to include your own version of the Christmas chart toppers as well – the point is to entertain the shopping hoards, so anything goes.
Costumes will help unite you and give people the impression you're organised and serious about helping others – it will also make it more fun for your carolling recruits. Victorian garb is traditional – if you're going for the traditional tunes, but as with your play list whatever you think people will be entertained by goes.
For help with choosing the charity you want to donate to why not start with needy causes in your local area: shelters, children's hospital or hospices or services for older people. Make sure you make it clear to people who you're raising money for.
It's a nice touch if you make up a little certificate for your carollers on the day, just as a memento of the occasion and to say thank you to them.