Friday, December 16, 2011

Musings on Carolling

We were sitting in the food court at the mall when we I noticed about 30 regularly dressed men and women gathering together just outside the Old Navy.

Some with a thermos of coffee in hand, some looking like they just came in from out of doors.

They all stood together and burst into song, singing Santa Clause Is Coming to Town.

All in perfect, beautiful harmony.

I rushed Adrian over for a closer look and noted the audience growing quickly. Some holding up video cameras, some taking pictures.

But everyone, everyone was smiling.

The Christmas spirit was alive and well in the Food Court of Burlington Mall.

We all clapped in thanks, our souls buoyed with Christmas joy.

After they finished they simply dispersed amongst the mall crowd, chatting amongst themselves, perhaps moving onto their Christmas shopping.

Just like the singing never happened.

It was cool.  Kind of like those You Tube videos where you see of hundreds of people coming together to dance in perfect choreography, completely out of the blue.  Only that's way cooler of-course.

But still.

It got me thinking.

What about carolling?

We see it in the movies, we read about it books, there are Christmas cards and decorations with images of children and adults alike, carolling.

But does it actually still happen in this world?

Did it ever?

Quite honestly I'm not sure how I would feel if I opened up my front door on a cold winter's night to find random strangers staring at me, belting out Jingle Bells.

Would I have a goofy frozen smile plastered on my face for the entire time - that's a LOT of smiling to do and cheeks start to hurt after a while - but I would feel terrible if I didn't.

What if they were really bad singers?  Like cats mating in the night bad?  How does one smile through that?

What about after they're done singing their sweet blessed hearts out? Does one then invite them in from the cold for cookies and milk?  I would feel obligated - and maybe a bit put out if they didn't come on in.  It's not like I look like some sketchy, dangerous character and - I do, after all, make a darn delicious cookie.

Or does one just bid a "Thank you and Merry Christmas!" with a smile and close the door (gently) in their faces?

Is tipping required?  This is the millenium where tipping seems to be a requirement for pretty much everything....(another reason moving to Europe is looking ever so desirable).

And, my husband is obsessive all about keeping the cold inside on the hot days and keeping the cold OUTSIDE on the cold days.  So leaving the door open for the 2 or 3 minutes it takes to carol Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire (my fave) might give him major slight heart palpitations.

Is it weird that I think of these things?  I can't be the only one that wonders if Christmas carolling ever really existed.

Am I?

Now these are the people I think of when carolling comes to mind.
Look how prepared they are with their carolling books!
I'm sure I would enjoy their carolling.  They look like really good singers.
And I love that lady on the far left's muff.  Whatever happened to those?


Tanya said...

I thought of the same things for years! 1. I would hope people wouldn't go carolling on a really cold night. 2. If I were carolling, which I would love to do some day, I think there would have to be a agreenment/rule, that once the song was done, you move to the next house very quickly so that people don't feel obligated to offer anything. 3. Tipping...that's hilarious, but again thought of that.
Good post for the holidays! It's funny, when I hear carollers in the mall or wherever it chokes me up, I'm sucker for Christmas and Christmas music, touches something deep down in my soul. Oh gawd, I'm teary just thinking of it...maybe it's the pregnancy, who knows. :)

middle child said...

The caroling in the mall sounds like it might have been a small "Flash Mob".
And "yes Virginia," there was such a thing as caroling. I don't know about cookies and cocoa IRL but being in school and church choirs, I can attest to the singing in harmony. It was totally fun!

middle child said...

Just read the caption under the photos and I do have a muff like that only brown and super furry-real fur. I got it for cheap at an auction.
I forgot to mention that you don't have to have a good voice to go caroling...just a cheerful heart.

Stacey said...

I used to loooove the idea of caroling. It always seems so fun and strangely romantic when I saw it on TV or in movies. But then we got carolers. At 8pm on a cold night a few days before Christmas. When my son had already been in bed for over an hour. My dog goes bezerk whenever someone knocks on the door, so my husband and I were tripping over ourselves to catch her AND open the door. The whole time they were singing (and they had normal, nice voices) I had a frozen smile on my face that was trying to communicate 1- Thank you for thinking of us! 2- You're so nice! 3- If this wakes my baby up I am probably going to flip out and chase you down the street. 4- Merry Christmas!