Bring joy to the world by going caroling


Are you sitting around this weekend with extended family, shopping done, and wondering what to do next -- something besides eating and drinking? Consider Christmas caroling.

All ages can enjoy this outing to bring joy to the world, or at least your Pleasanton neighborhood. It is fun for the singers as well as for those who open their doors to the unexpected, delightful experience.

Here are a few tips:

* Dress for the occasion. Santa hats? Rudolph noses for the kids? Knit hats, gloves and scarves conjure up holiday season images -- and keep you comfortable. Pockets are nice because some folks may reward you with candy or cookies that you don't want to eat immediately.

* Vary the carols. Perhaps start with something fun, such as "Jingle Bells" or "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," then perform a beautiful carol to end on an emotional note. Two carols per house is probably long enough for folks to stand in their doorways and admire your efforts.

* Be sure of the words. Print out copies of the carols, because few people know more than the first verses. Put them into red folders (can just be construction paper) to add to your festive appearance.

* Everyone should have a flashlight, both to safely light the way and to read the words of the carols.

* Bells, drums and cymbals add to the occasion. Younger children may prefer to contribute this way.

* Time it right -- after dinner but before children's bedtime.

* Practice before you head out. Remember, your repertoire doesn't have to be large because you will keep moving from one house to the next. But you should look like you know what you are doing -- at least beginning and ending in unison.

Next year you might want to plan ahead and have a caroling party. The opportunities for cute invitations are endless! You can have caroling booklets ready and a route mapped out of receptive neighbors. Caroling parties are also fun for children and teens.

After caroling, be sure to have a big fire burning and refreshments. "Tis the season to be jolly."

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