In Criticism of Christmas Carolling


Before we embark on this journey together, it is very important that I make this distinction: I enjoy Christmas carols as an auditory experience, and I absolutely value the small Christmas eve carol services which I attend with my grandmother. What I am talking about here is Christmas carolling. As in, door to door, ‘bring us some figgy pudding,’ once-you-open-the-door-you-can’t-escape carolling. It is almost as bad as being sung Happy Birthday except for the fact that -if you really wanted- you could slam the door in their faces, which you cannot do on your birthday. 

Though it is not as popular in the UK as it is in the US, we are not immune. I have seen it done; mostly in cities or on larger/main roads. I don’t understand why it is considered acceptable to go door to door with your mediocre village choir and sing badly, and then demand money. Perhaps I am just a grinch, but I think it would properly ruin my evening to open the door to a fully costumed operatic ensemble. 

And don’t think I can’t see you peering around behind me into the house, eyeing up the festive decorations, and judging the pile of presents under the tree (and the wrapping, no doubt). It’s such an invasion of privacy! Perhaps next time I’ll leave the latch on, and stare creepily through the tiny crack at the group until the youngest member cries… Too far?

It’s not just me either – a lot of older people are unaccustomed to and intimated by uninvited visitors. It’s not fair to turn up and expect to be welcomed, or expect donations. Older people may feel more pressured to give as well, which is unfair; perhaps they only have a £20 note and no small change. Furthermore, it’s completely non inclusive for those who don’t celebrate Christmas. There’s no way to tell from the outside of a house whether or not your Christian carols are appropriate. 

All in all I understand that many enjoy singing and sharing the joy at Christmas time, and I don’t look down on that. I just think it would be better if we all knew our place. By all means, busk in the town centre or put on a little service in an outdoor/public (or even better, private) space. But for the love of all things tinsel, leave everyone else alone!


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Live Editor 21-22

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