Christmas Carol, and Fern and Friends

carolersMerry Christmas!

As I’m writing this, it’s not quite Christmas yet which means I still have time to work on the unrealistic list of things I need to get done for Christmas.

Or not.

As I get older I am getting smarter about some things. I’ve realized that what doesn’t get done in time for Christmas usually isn’t remembered soon after anyway, along with most of what does get done, so why kill myself? I’ve learned to prioritize and just make sure we do the most meaningful things for Christmas, like caroling.

My husband and I both grew up Christmas caroling with our families and, even though we whined about it as kids sometimes, those memories matured into endearment so we’ve carried on the tradition with our kids (and they’ve carried on the tradition of whining sometimes).

Every year we carol to some neighbors and a few widows we’ve known for years. We met these sweet friends years ago when we moved into our first home with our young family and quickly got attached to these honorary grandmas. Every Christmas we stood on their doorsteps and sang carols to them before they’d invite us in for a visit, a treat and more carols. Even when we moved across the valley, we promised we would still come caroling to them at Christmas, and we have every year for over a decade.

A few years ago one of them moved away and another recently passed away, but we still caroled for dear Fern this week who just celebrated her 90th birthday. Ironically, the one who passed away was named Carol which was a perfect fit because being around her was like hearing your favorite Christmas song. Her countenance radiated pure joy and she was generous with compliments and hugs.

Sometimes in the evening she would show up at our house with a stack of picture books and nudge my husband and me out to have some time together while she put the kids to bed. It was strange driving past her dark house this year. I miss her dearly, but I’m happy she’s finally with her sweetheart.

We did have a happy surprise when Fern told us our friend who’d moved away just moved back into a care center nearby. We were told her memory is sketchy so she might not remember us, but when we walked in her room and began singing, her face lit up and she called me by name.

I’m telling you, Christmas music has magical powers! It connects us to the season, to our memories, and to people. And when you stand on someone’s porch, ring the doorbell, then carol to them personally, the air gets tingly with Christmas spirit.

I only know of one time a neighbor threatened some of our church youth with a gun for caroling in front of his house, but this was the same guy who threatened a pregnant woman and her little kids for being on his property, so his heart was even more than two sizes too small.

Check! We went caroling this Christmas so anything else we do is just gravy, though I’m not making any kind of meal for Christmas that requires that.

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