We actually carol to our neighbors; even when it’s freezing outside.
We do not harmonize.
We do not sing all the verses of the 12 Days of Christmas.
To cover up our not-so-melodious voices we play homemade metal pipes cut to different sizes that each of us hold from a string and when we hit it, the pipe plays a note. The first year we came, our neighbors were completely shocked but were polite while we clanged pipes into a rendition of Jingle Bells, then hurried through the chorus only of, “We wish you a merry Christmas.” We handed them homemade breads, they closed the door perplexed, and we walked on to the next house to do a repeat.
The next year the shock and awkwardness was not such a stare down but more of a “What the heck are you doing this again for” look. But we smiled, sang, played the pipes, and handed our baked goods then kept going!
The next year, at the first house, one of the children got excited that we actually came again. So we asked if they would like to come along. And the children got their coats on and did! At the next house we played our bells, sang our song and then asked if anyone at that home would like to join us. A few of the children got their coats on and joined the singing crowd. The little caroling group began to grow as we walked to each neighbor.
We have lived in our neighborhood for sixteen years now. We still carol. But now when we knock our neighbors gather their family, their party, or their relatives, and gather at the door and sing along with us and clap after we play our pipes. We share bread; they often give us treats too.
New neighbors moved in next door with little children. They celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas. We can’t wait to go carol. They will be shocked.
But….they’ll get used to us.