Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone that came and caroled at Cafe 60 yesterday! Did you see the folks smiling as they sang along with us? That's what this kindness thing is all about, brightening people's days! And thank you to everyone that colored and donated placemats, from near and far! They were very appreciated!
Service Project: Caroling
Prep time: none needed, depending on where caroling
Duration: as short or as long as you'd like
Lesson(s) learned: "The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear." -Buddy, from the movie Elf.
Have you met Casey yet? She's a member of the Little Hands Can Board of Directors and a great supporter of doing awesome things with her kids, as you'll see below. Today she's sharing a fun little way her family and friends spread Christmas cheer this holiday season. Take it away, Casey!
Our family recently got together with a group of friends for a Christmas light walk through a nearby neighborhood. The residents of the area go all out with their decorations - lights, inflatables, nativity scenes, etc - and with our large group of eight families, a walking 'tour' was a perfect way to share the experience. And that had been the extent of our plan - Go out, walk around and see the lights, head home.
After going a few blocks, the kids (18 of them, ages two - eight) started talking about Christmas songs and singing. I mentioned that singing door to door - caroling - was actually something people used to do a lot to share the joy of Christmas, although it's not as common nowadays.
"Could we sing at the next house?!" the kids asked enthusiastically.
After a quick discussion about etiquette (that we should make sure a light is on, knock on the door then give them space and time to answer, and be respectful of their answer), we went for it.
A few moms and I knocked on the first door, the group of kiddos waiting next to us. A middle-aged woman answered. "Would you like to hear a Christmas carol tonight?" I asked. The woman stood still for a second, thrown off by the unusual request. Then her face broke into a wide smile as she looked over the large group of eager, smiling eyes. "Sure!" she replied.
The kids started giggling, then after a quick decision, started in with 'Jingle Bells' - quiet at first, then growing more and more confident and strong.
By the end of the 37 seconds, everyone was totally into it. The woman gave us all an enthusiastic wave as a chorus of "Thank you and Merry Christmas"-es ended the performance.
After that first house, we were all hooked. The kids were dashing around from house to house, eager for their next 'performance'. They continued for half an hour, with the finale fittingly and coincidently occurring at a home where a large dinner party was happening. It was a big audience, and one thoughtful guest gave each of the kids a mini candy cane at the end of 'Rudolph'. It was magical! Sure, there was one house that said no because they were watching the Republican debate, but that was a great learning moment too. And sure, the youngest kiddo was a bit confused by the whole 'knocking on strangers doors' thing - "Treak or treat?" she kept asking her mama. Fair question, really. It was adorable.
I wouldn't have thought to consider this service, and as I said, caroling had not been part of our plan initially. BUT, if you (like me) like to think of service as a chance to make someone smile and to connect with your community, this was TOTALLY service! And you can do it too! What a great opportunity to create some family holiday memories that are free yet priceless, simple yet meaningful.
I can tell you that next year, caroling will definitely be part of our plan. It will make you smile, it will make them smile, and the spirit of the season really did come alive for our group in those moments.
I highly recommend it, and hope you have as much fun doing it as we did.
Don't you just love Casey's description of caroling, "a chance to make someone smile and to connect with your community"? I also love her thoughts, "to create some family memories that are free yet priceless, simple yet meaningful." How often do we get caught up in elaborate holiday dinner menus and elf-on-the-shelf maneuvers and forget to just enjoy simple spontaneous holiday memories with our kids? Too often? There's still time to spread some Christmas cheer!
Hope you and your families enjoy a wonderful Christmas! Happy Holidays, from all of us at Little Hands Can!