Reprinted from 2013

I have always celebrated Christmas with a joyful heart.  My parents always made a big deal of the season:  the tree, candy, music, the gifts. I endeavored to do the same with my family but as they grew, the decorating of the tree became a chore, and my Elvis Christmas Album became a joke and yes, I always listen to Elvis because my mother always played those tunes as we decorated our tree.  It's not Christmas without Elvis and I know all the verses.

One tradition I began on my own was caroling.  I love dressing up and showing up at people's homes I don't necessarily know, ring the doorbell and begin singing at the top of my voice.  I enjoy it immensely.  I'm not a very good singer (as many who sit by me at church can testify), but it doesn't stop the joyous Christmas Spirit beckoning me to impose upon their privacy.

My children accompanied my husband and me on these trips across town when they were younger and they seemed to enjoy themselves.  However, as they became teenagers it was a bit more difficult to have them participate, albeit they ho-hummed their way until the cookies arrived. Christmas cookies are the very best cookies around, mostly because the majority are homemade with love and eagerly offered after the fourth Christmas hymn.

My favorite caroling adventures take us to the local retirement and nursing home facilities.  The residents are always happy to see the group and sing along unapologetically. Afterwards, we get to visit briefly and catch up with those we know and sometimes we get a hug or two. 

I must encourage you, dear readers, during this season of giving, gather a group of friends and seize the opportunity to carol.  Choose friends or acquaintances you think would receive the greatest blessing. Even if singing isn't one of your talents, get out and give of your time.  After all, wasn't it Buddy the Elf who said, "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear?"  And do it unapologetically.