How come no one goes Christmas caroling anymore? When I was a kid you could always count on a group of strolling singers coming to your door -- well, maybe not coming right up to your door, but definitely pausing on the sidewalk outside your house -- and joyfully belting out a familiar Christmas tune or two that always made you feel so good inside right before you turned up the volume on your TV.

Ah, carolers. They used to be such a big part of Christmas. What happened to that? For at least the whole week before Christmas, my family used to get so many carolers outside our house that by Dec. 22 or so we could eat our whole dinner in the pitch dark and remain totally quiet even if one of us accidentally got getting stabbed with a fork. I used to think carolers in our neighborhood were gonna break out into territory wars. I remember looking down our street in one direction and seeing a little gang of carolers coming our way, and seeing the same thing down the sidewalk in the other direction, and thinking, "This is it! They're have to meet! It's gonna get ugly!" I imagined hot chocolate cups flying everywhere, scarves being used to choke people, mittened punches being thrown.

But, alas, nothing: One of the groups politely (and, I thought, meekly) meandered to the other side of the street just in time to avoid a rumble. Then it was time for me to duck back inside and turn off the lights.

But where are the carolers nowadays? What happened to that tradition? I couldn't get a caroler outside our house now if I put a giant plate of cookies on the sidewalk, shined a spotlight on them, threw open our windows, and blared karaoke versions of carols out my stereo. Forget it. Someone would just call the police. And I'd be stuck trying to explain how people usedto carol. But the cop would be too young to remember. I'd end up getting tazed. So it's just not worth it.

But whatever happened to caroling? Why doesn't anyone do it anymore? I myself used to love going Christmas caroling. Well, I used to love the idea of going Christmas caroling. What I always discovered when for some insane reason I actually ended up trying it, though, is that I'm not exactly what you'd call a natural born caroler. For one, it involves singing in public. I very rarely like watching other people sing in public; I'm hardly inclined to do it myself. Plus, I can never everremember the words to any carol but "Jingle Bells." So I'm always stuck going, "Good King Wencelas looked out / at the feet of Stephen / then the snow was all about / deeply, crispy Steven." And then I'd start noticing my fellow carolers giving me the evil eye. And then I'd think, "Oh, like you know all the lyrics!" And then I'd start only mouthing the lyrics, the better to catch my caroling enemies screwing up the lyrics so I could start giving them the evil eye.

But how long is it fun glaring at your fellow carolers while pretending to sing? Three, four songs, max. Then it's back to the caroling grindstone. Plus, I always ended up standing right in front of that person who's in every caroling group, the one who mistook "Let's go out caroling!" with "Let's go audition for the Metropolitan Opera!" You know those people? Who sing like what they're really doing is drumming up customers for the little hearing aide business they run on the side? I hate those people. I ... 

Oops--I have to run. Anyway, I sure do miss that great tradition of gathering together with a bunch of people and going outside in the dark to wander around singing. I really just can't understand why people stopped doing that.

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Related post, in that at least it's funny: #1 Idea For Having Even More Fun at Christmas.