Sharing Christmas With Others

The best part of Christmas is the ability to share it with others. Sharing has long been a part of my history. When I was young I shared Christmas in song. I belonged to the choir and we always had a concert. The music of Christmas is so special. Some of the songs date back nearly two centuries. Other songs come and go.

We also went Christmas caroling with the Girl Scouts. Our leaders organized the event and we traveled from house to house to sing to shut-ins. We had fun and the residents were thrilled to have company.

Our church often caroled as well. When I organized the youth at our church I continued this tradition that I had learned from my youth. We got into the cars and traveled to the homes of some of the older church members. Then, we went back to the church for a light supper. Everyone had a good time. The adults went with us to sing so we had quite a group.

Several years ago we resurrected the Christmas caroling at church. Everyone goes caroling. It is sad to think that many of the occupants of the homes we visited are now gone. I remember that one lady always had a plate of cookies to hand out to us when we visited.

When I taught school another teacher and I organized a Christmas carol sing. We gathered in the school cafeteria. She played the piano and I led the singing. We sang all kinds of songs — the standard carols as well as some of the cute little songs the children learned in music class. It was a way to pass the time when the youngsters were just too excited to do any work.

One year my room mothers planned a grown-up party for the children. They brought in a punch bowl filled with a delicious punch as well as meat, cheese and crackers on little toothpicks. They invited a lady with her guitar to help us sing. The children really enjoyed that party. I think they enjoyed watching her play her guitar. After we finished with the singing we opened our gifts and took time to play with some of them.

When I taught kindergarten we always did a show for our parents. It was nothing formal, just a time to sing our songs and say our poems for company. A couple years we even did a folk dance for the guests. Being in the classroom the children did not get as nervous. How sorry I felt for those youngsters who counted on parents to come who never showed up. I always let them be helpers so as to cut the sting of their disappointment. After we performed we had cookies and punch with our guests. It was unbelievable just how many songs and poems those children learned. The year my mother died I had to go back to school earlier than I was supposed to because of the Christmas program. That was fine. I knew my mother would certainly understand.

I had a set of CDs for my car to share with the grandchildren when they traveled with me. I bought them because they were sung by children. The pure quality of the voices was wonderful. The little ones learned to sing along. I still listen to those CDs. I have also added a CD of the “Nutcracker”. It is wonderful classical music that I really enjoy.

One year I was scheduled to sing a duet for the Christmas program at our high school. I ended up with laryngitis and was unable to sing at all. I sat home and listened to the concert on the radio. How disappointing that was. I looked forward to singing “I Heard the Bells.”

The music of Christmas lives on with choruses and choirs singing the old familiar tunes. When my grandson was in high school I always looked forward to the Christmas concert. We heard the band and the chorus. The music was wonderful. Of course, I thought about my times participating years ago.

Once I found out that live trees triggered my allergies life got much better. We switched to an artificial tree and I no longer suffered from laryngitis each Christmas season. Now I enjoy listening to Christmas music over the radio and singing the familiar tunes whenever possible.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, Pa. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.

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