There are some memories I am fortunate enough to share with my kids that are sweet and simple and bring me right back to my own childhood. This past weekend, our subdivision organized a neighborhood Christmas caroling event for all the kids. I’ve mentioned before how blessed I often feel to have moved into such a warm and family-friendly neighborhood, and every time we all get together I’m completely reminded.
They say, of course, you can’t control the weather, but even if we could we wouldn’t have changed a thing. With just a touch of snow on the ground, it was cold but in a bearable way. A group of about 15 to 20 kids, varied in age, gender, and personality, joined to perform a medley of Jingle Bells, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.
Walking to the first house felt very reminiscent of my childhood in Chicago. I can remember several winters where all the kids on the block spontaneously got together and decided to go caroling around the neighborhood. It didn’t matter how cold it was or how much snow covered the ground, it became a neighborhood tradition.
The night we went Christmas caroling most of the neighbors knew the kids would be coming around and singing. However, there was something special about when the kids got to a neighbor who had no idea they were coming. At first there was a semi confused look when they opened the door and saw a group of kids on their front stoop. But as soon as they realized what was going on, there was an amusement and joy that quickly replaced that. At one house the kids even broke into a rendition of Happy Birthday when they realized that one family was gathered for a birthday dinner. You just can’t plan moments like that.
When our kids started singing at the very first house, I clearly remember the parents exchanging sort of awed glances. That first moment we heard them all sing together there was such sweetness and innocence in their voices. What a way to get in the holiday spirit.
This time of year can become so convoluted by presents, parties, and shopping. Sometimes it takes something very simple, like Christmas caroling, to remind you of that warm and fuzzy feeling of the season.
Lately, I’ve come to realize that my kids don’t get as excited about toys and things as they do about the experiences and sharing time with all their friends. I’m sure at three and four they’re still young and the excitement about material gifts will increase later, but right now my kids can’t stop talking about caroling and hot chocolate, the songs they’ll sing for their Christmas program at school, seeing grandma and the rest of our family in Chicago for Christmas, or where our Elf on the Shelf is hiding that day.
For now I’ll take advantage of that and not worry about how many presents they have under the tree. In fact, the only thing my youngest daughter says she wants is candy and I truly believe if I wrapped some chocolates and a Ring Pop she’d be perfectly happy.
My kids are at such a fun age. Because of them I enjoy the holidays so much more. And even though we are away from our family for most of the year, we are so lucky to have found a community that has become a second home for us and great people who will shape so many of the memories that make up my kids’ childhoods.
Debbie Carroll was born and raised in Chicago and recently relocated to Lee’s Summit. After spending many years in the fields of marketing, communications and education, she is currently at home with her two young daughters.