Ideas for family Christmas caroling traditions

Happy New Year!!

Singing Carols together can be Oh so much fun – Ideas for family Christmas caroling traditions

Every year my Mum and Dad brought out the carol sheet on Christmas Eve as part of our family tradition.  Sparkling crackers, Christmas hats and terrible jokes, Christmas Eve dinner of roasted goose, potatoes, red cabbage and Brussels sprouts lavished with gravy, followed by Christmas pudding.  A lantern lit carol singing jaunt around the garden, to guide Santa in.  A jingling bell…We’d run into the house, there we would see presents, all stacked neatly under the tree, for Santa had been.  Gathered around the tree, we’d sing carols.  Then our presents, more carols, lots of laughter and cheer!  That’s the essence of our family tradition.

Chose carols to suit the ensemble.  For young kids, Jingle bells, Santa Clause is Coming to Town.  Tell the story of Jesus with, Away in a Manger as the carol.

Tell a tale that sets a scene for the, carol.  For example, for Three kings from Persian lands afar…. On a dusty dark night long, long ago three Kings, wise men studied the sky searching for a pointing star.  Make it magical for the kids.  Watch kids smile with joy

Inspire.  One of my nieces asked me to tell the tale of Christ’s birth so I did in a sequence of rapidly sung parts of carols.  I started with the first two verses of The Angel Gabriel, followed by the first verse of, Oh Little Town of Bethlehem. Then the first two verses of, Once in royal Davids city, by this time the family had the hang of it and we all sang, While Shepherds watched their flocks by night, The First Noel, Three kings from Persian lands afar, and O Come All Ye Faithful, as the finale. She loved it, I was inspired to interweave carols into a Christmas story, what will your inspiration be?

Sing with gusto and joy!  Singing in the Seaford College, Chapel Choir, in the ancient cathedrals of the south of England, taught me to have fun with the carol… Ding Dong!  Merrily On H-i-g-h In heaven the bells are r-i-n-g-i-n-g; should roll off the tongue, bells chiming, the last word reverberating.

Spontaneity is fun.  At one Christmas gathering in Cornwall I started to sing by the fire my brother joined in and before you knew it, there were fourteen of us!

Duets are heartwarming.  My parents sing, O Tannenbaum – O Christmas Tree, in German.  For me Christmas is never complete until I hear my parents sing this song.  Encourage the children, grandparents or friends to sing duets, they may be a bit embarrassed at first but will soon get into the spirit of the season.  Tip:  record these sessions for future playback!

Singing together is fun.  My brothers and I love to sing, We Three Kings of Orient Are, in sections.  The first verse 3 kings all together then solos for, Gaspar, (Richard is tone deaf which adds a unusual character), Melchior and Balthazar followed by the heartiest rendition of the last verse we can as one muster.  The kids love it, wide eyed to see their dad’s sing.  You can do it too!

Singing over the phone can be a nice surprise, “We wish you a Merry Christmas,” sung to loved ones, family and friends far away, will bring joy to all.

Carols have a rich and intriguing history, which is quite amazing.  For many years, we merrily would sing, Good King Wenceslas and I Saw Three ships’ come sailing in, oblivious of their history.  What a tale they have to tell…The King is a Saint, Wenceslaus 1st , Duke of Bohemia. The feast of Steven, 26th December is still celebrated by the Brits and many other countries as Boxing Day.  Traditionally, a day on which the rich give alms, (gifts), to the poor!  I Saw Three Ships’ is the subject of intrigue, controversy and debate…What is the symbolism of the ships?  Are they three wise men, the trinity, or just three ships?  Explore these questions on the internet together and see.

Try caroling, you’re sure to bring a smile.  Chose upbeat carols to bring excitement.  Caroling brings community together.  Gather families together in your neighborhood and go caroling, fun for everyone!  For this, you will need some carol sheets of your own.

Great web pages to find carols include but are not limited to Douglas D. Anderson site, The Hymns and Carols of Christmas; is a treasure.   Christmas Carols; is great.  There are many more, take a look together.

Create your family tradition with carols.  Gather by the fireplace lit by a dazzling tree, or as we did many years ago in Africa, the garden, lantern’s held high, singing in anticipation of Santa’s arrival.  Caroling is fun for all the family both young and old.  Welcome in the Spirit of the season with this wonderful Christmas tradition.

Peter Lucking

Resource Box Info

Peter Lucking is the writer and illustrator of SANTA & THE LITTLE TEDDY BEAR.

Filled with suspense, antics and charm, interwoven with Christmas traditions and carols for all the family to sing.  The tale builds on these devices to provide a narrative of warmth and spirit of the things that are truly important.

A timeless heirloom Christmas season classic, this fireside epic encourages young and old to believe in the spirit of Christmas.

For more information visit us at:

Article Summary/Abstract

Create your family caroling tradition, singing carols whilst telling stories to set the scene, inspire both young and old to sing, solos and duets, to liven up the festivities.  Welcome in the Spirit of the season with this wonderful Christmas tradition.