Some of us may fear that caroling is not something we can do in this time. Think again!
It is the visit and the music that is important for the recipient; it is the visiting and the music that is important to the caroler, and you are bringing both, just differently.
(A word about “cheating.” Many of us think that just “cheating”a little bit will make it more fun … perhaps singing one song behind a mask. That is not true. The uniqueness of an experience shaped without music, like this possible one, will linger. The knowing that everything was done to protect those who are visited rather than entertain and oxygenate the visitors will make everyone feel the true love of the season. Please be particularly careful not to “cheat” in any holiday experiences in the presence of children who may become confused by adults “changing the rules.”)
Gather outside of homes of those shut-in or recently hospitalized or those who have lost work, socially distanced from each other with carols on a portable device (yes, a boom box will work). If using several cell phones make the joke that it might sound like a “round.”
Begin with a recording of someone in your group singing the following song … while lifting poster board lyrics to “Here We Come A’Wassailing” so those who cannot hear well can see them (one poster for all, or, for more fun one for each line)
“We are not last year’s carolers that go from door to door,
but we are friendly faces who let the music soar
With our cell phone [boom box] and smiles
we will cross pandemic miles …
So God bless you and send you A Happy New Year!
God send you a Happy New Year!
Next play two or three carols on your portable device
Then share some Sign which shows that you have learned something for those you visit. They are very special.
There are multiple YouTubes for “Silent Night”… and many congregations have someone who can teach Sign. (Notice that different countries have different Sign Language.)
Silent Night – first verse only, perhaps repeated twice (While playing on a device)
Each person learn one phrase: 1) Silent Night 2) Holy Night 3) All is Calm 4) All is Bright 5) ‘Round yon Virgin 6) Mother and Child 7) Holy Infant 8) So tender and mild
All learn: Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace.
Each person learns only two phrases in Sign with the second repeated twice. This is easily done by children as well as adults.
If you have only four carolers instead of eight: 1) sings Silent Night and ‘Round yon Virgin, 2) Holy Night and Mother and child etc.
Close with We wish you a Merry Christmas, (While playing on a device) There are many Sign teachings of this online as well. I have slight changed the last line so there are only four phrases to learn.
All Sign together … will not be perfect – go ahead and laugh. It models for the person being visited that it is OK to laugh.
We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Good tidings we bring to you and your kin
We wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
On to next house — repeat, be filled with joy.
These carolers from Second Christian Congregational UCC in Kittery, Maine, are photographed from an earlier year, but they have been masked and distanced delivering balloons and greetings for birthdays, anniversaries and welcome-home-after-hospitalizations since April. They are in practice for Advent.