7 Things to Know Before You Go Out Christmas Caroling

Muppet Carolers!

The Swedish Chef, Beaker, and Animal proved with “Ringing of the Bells” you don’t need a great singing voice to go caroling, but you may need safety equipment.

My wife Anne loves singing Christmas carols. She used to be first among her coworkers to begin singing them every year until she bowed to peer pressure and agreed to wait till at least after Columbus Day. I learned most of the catalog in grade school and willingly participated in three consecutive Christmas programs, even soloing once on “The First Noel” for an audience of hundreds of parents, none of whom had the clout to offer me a recording contract. Our old Bible study group used to visit group homes and nursing homes, serenade residents with a medley of timeless classics, and bring them baskets of cookies and/or fruit in the spirit of the season.

We love Christmas songs. We have a lot of fun singing them to appreciative crowds. We love being given the opportunity to sing for others as an act of service, an outpouring of faith, and an outlet for our pent-up expressive hearts. We’d join multiple caroling groups if the right offers rolled in. I blame our inactivity on our agent, George Glass.

But Christmas caroling isn’t as easy as it looks, especially if your fellow singers aren’t on the same page. We regret we’ve learned this the hard way. If You, the Viewers at Home, have ever considered singing Christmas songs to others, whether to praise Jesus or to have a good time, we offer you seven handy tips for simplifying your caroling mission, bringing a merry gleam to the eyes of others, creating a pleasant memory, and hopefully remaining on good speaking terms with the rest of the choir by the end of the night.

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Your August 2014 Anniversary-Party-a-Day Guide!

Princess Diaries 2!

The Princess Diaries 2 turns 10 this August! But you already knew that, right? The stars, left to right: Callum Blue, a.k.a. Zod from Smallville; Academy Award Winner Anne Hathaway; and Starfleet Captain Chris Pine.

Forty-five years since the moon landing! Twenty-five years since Ghostbusters II! Fifty years since this battle! Ten years since that album! Eighty years since this one comic! Thirty-five years since that one thing happened that we wouldn’t mention if this weren’t a slow news day!

Now more than ever, you can count on your favorite sites to devote bandwidth every week to someone’s memories of events that occurred exactly on This Day in History multiples-of-five years ago. If it happened nine, thirteen, or twenty-two years ago, don’t waste our time. But fifteen years ago? Those precious moments need to be documented. Interviews need to be conducted. Reviews and opinions from that year need to be revisited and recontextualized. The important thing is that we need to be writing about stuff everyone loved way back when, instead of wasting a lot of time searching for new stuff in the world of today. Nostalgia rules! Discovery drools!

For once, I’m getting a few steps ahead of their game. Instead of waiting for them to tell me what to celebrate, like some kind of chump who doesn’t own a calendar or know how to Google, I’m planning my own social schedule in advance so I can be first in line to define “the Good Ol’ Days” for everyone else with a big, boiling bowl of Remember When bouillabaisse. And you can join me!

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