How To Organize A Christmas Caroling Party
Spread Holiday Cheer In Your Neighborhood
Organizing or hosting a Christmas caroling party is a fun and festive way to celebrate Christmas.
Your caroling party can be casual or fancy as long as you have fun. No need to dress up in fancy Victorian costumes like these folks (but it might be fun).
So grab a glass of eggnog and read on for tips to plan your first Christmas caroling party!
Christmas Caroling Party Basics
There are 3 basic parts to most Christmas caroling parties...
1. Everyone meets up to get organized. This is usually at the host's house but could be anywhere.
2. Go caroling!
3. The carolers (and anyone who joined along the way) head back to the host's house for desserts, hot drinks and more fun.
Now let's look at each part in more detail...
Everyone's calendars fill up quickly right before Christmas. So pick a date and get your invites out early. A month in advance should do it.
Pick A Date and Time
Choose a good date to go caroling. Anything before Thanksgiving is too early...you won't get many carolers and your neighbors will call the cops on the crazy person singing on their lawn. After Christmas is probably too late...everyone will assume you've had way too much eggnog.
That leaves about 4 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas to choose from. Fridays and Saturdays are good since your carolers likely won't have to get up for work or school the next morning. Pick a reasonable time to go caroling...somewhere between dinner time and before people put their kids to bed. Plan on 1/2 hour for everyone to arrive and get organized then an hour or so of caroling.
Send Out Party Invites
Along with the standard invite stuff (date, time, location), consider including these extras in your invites...
- Ask everyone to bring a dessert (cookies are always popular) or drink item to share for the party.
- Request an RSVP so you know how many people to expect. Also helps if they tell you whether they're bringing a dessert or drink.
- Recommend that they dress warmly and bring a flashlight or headlamp.
- Ask carolers to bring jingle bells or wear Christmas caroling costumes if they have them.
Build Your Caroling Song List
Caroling is easiest if everyone has the same list of carols. You'll know they have the song lyrics and can simply shout out "page 7" as you walk to the next house. One song list for every 2-3 carolers is plenty.
To build your song list you can type and print your own sheets, copy pages from a song book or get enough copies of a song book for everyone to share.
Here are a few books you can try...
Over 50 traditional Christmas carols.
At this price, you can order a bunch and save yourself the trouble of copying and printing.
Plan Your Christmas Caroling Route
Before everyone arrives at the party, take a few minutes to plan out where you're going to carol and how you'll get around. If you're starting and ending at the same place, then plan out a circular route that gets you back with minimal backtracking.
Remember that you want to spend most of your time singing carols not walking.
Get Ready To Go Caroling
After everyone has arrived take care of a few logistical items before setting out.
- Distribute the song lists.
- Specify how many verses of each song. You might want to sing the first 3 verses of all songs or change the number for each. I find that the 1st verse is nearly completed by the time most folks get to their door so sing at least 2-3 verses.
- Go over the route you plan to take and how you'll communicate which song to sing next. You could cover the latter by printing out a list of the songs you'll sing in order.
To keep things organized and to be a good neighbor, it's helpful to give your carolers a few tips before setting out.
Use Sidewalks Where Possible - Avoid trampling through lawns and yard decorations. This keeps you on good terms with the neighbors. It also reduces the chance of someone stepping in mud or doggie landmines and tracking that into your house later.
Gather The Group Before Singing - Make sure your carolers have all gotten to the next house before knocking on the door and starting to sing.
Include The Kids - Kids will have a blast going around in a big group, knocking on doors and singing carols. It helps if they have a special task like going ahead to knock on the door of the house while the rest of the group assembles to start singing.
People May Join Your Group
You'll be amazed at how excited some people get when carolers visit their home. There may even be a few that want to join in the celebration and go caroling with you. The more the merrier!
If someone joins your group, get their name and contact info so you can invite them next year.
Here are a few more ideas for your caroling party...
Go Caroling Outside Your Neighborhood - Consider caroling at a nursing home, other neighborhood or anywhere else you think would enjoy some Christmas cheer.
Dress Up - Really get in the spirit by dressing up in formal wear or something Victorian for that nostalgic Christmas feel.
Have You Gone Christmas Caroling?
After The Caroling...
After your merry band of Christmas carolers has finished singing around the neighborhood it's time to come back to a nice warm house for dessert and drinks.
What's your favorite Christmas caroling experience? Please leave a comment below.