I received an invitation from one of the parents in my son’s class for a Christmas get together.
The evite read: Join us for simple dinner and warming drinks before we carol house to house.
I have had my fair share of caroling growing up in the Philippines. We carol to raise funds for our organization’s activity, usually a toy drive for the needy. We let the homeowners know when to expect us, and after our Christmas carols, the host would hand us an envelop of cash or check.
Our house in Manila has been a venue to many carolers too. My mom has listened and given money to different college groups, most of the time school organizations that her children support.
There are also less organized groups, a barkada of young children that would just ring the doorbell, sing songs with homemade shakers, tambourines made of bottle caps, and expect loose change for their effort. These children would usually end their repertoire of Christmas songs with “Namamasko Po”, to signify that they are done singing and now waiting for their money.
I know that this is just for fun, but do the neighbors even know we are coming?
It turns out, no!
Not only did the neighbors not know we were coming, but this is the very first time that the host is doing something like this in her neighborhood!
After dinner, with twenty children and twice as many parents all warmed up with their respective drinks, we all trooped down the street. We knocked at 8 doors, and the front doors opened 4 times. The homeowners were very happy to listen to the children sing. One family even let us carol inside their home –they were having a Christmas party too.
I walked back happy with the experience my kids had. They may not have sang, “Sa may bahay and aming bati, Merry Christmas na malualhati…” a staple song in ragtag singing groups, but they did sing with their friends with gusto.
They are creating memories similar, and yet different from mine.