Sunday, December 23, 2012

Get your family singing this Christmas – turn off the TV!

Fed up with the family slumped in front of the TV every Christmas and not communicating?


Then turn off the TV and start singing!

Christmas is a fantastic time to sing with others. There are so many Christmas songs and carols out there that everybody knows. It’s a great opportunity for people to sing together and – who knows – maybe you might even encourage someone to join a choir!

Here are some ideas to get you started:
  • hand out lyric sheets – nobody ever remembers the lyrics past the first verse, so to prevent things grinding to a halt, be prepared and hand out song sheets. It’s easy to track down well-known songs and carols on the internet.
  • take turns – at choosing the next song, leading people in song, or starting a song off. Even if you’re not an experienced a singer, it’s an easy thing to do and makes sure everyone gets a turn and doesn’t get left out.
  • do things differently – to liven up an old chestnut, why not try singing a well-known song differently? I was at a concert recently when a solo folk singer introduced a Christmas song and invited us to join in the chorus. When he started the wistful, slow ballad, nobody had any idea what he was singing. Then he got to the chorus: “So here it is, merry Christmas” and we all joined in with the Slade evergreen!
  • make it a quiz – take turns to sing a short section of a well-known Christmas song (maybe even one word!) from anywhere in the song and get people to join in from that point or guess what the song is.
  • have a sing-along – buy a cheap Christmas compilation CD or download some MP3s and sing along.
  • go out carolling – make someone’s else’s Christmas by going round your immediate neighbourhood, knocking on some doors, and singing some carols. Take lyrics, a torch (to see the lyrics by!), and warm clothes. People will appreciate the alternative to the usual kids singing the first line only of “We wish you a merry Christmas”! A great way to get to know the neighbours. Or, if you don’t want to get cold ...
  • sing at your local pub – take your lyric sheets and some songs you’ve practiced and sing at your local pub. Pass a hat round and collect for charity. Make sure you ask the landlord’s permission first. You can even make it a pub crawl and do all the pubs in town!
  • be competitive – if it’s a big family gathering, form teams and compete for “best Christmas singing group”. Get each group to choose a name, make up some score cards and elect a panel of four judges (just like X-Factor and Strictly Come Dancing). Find a suitable prize to award at the end, plus some for the runners up (you don’t want to leave anyone out at Christmas!).
  • make a Christmas village band – find out who can play instruments: guitar, recorder, violin, etc. For the rest, make some home-made instruments (bottles to blow across; plastic tubs filled with lentils to shake; comb and tissue paper; cheap kazoos; etc.). Take turns at being in the band and being the singers.

Three important things to remember: 
  1. EVERYONE CAN SING so nobody gets left out.
  2. Keep it light-hearted and fun.
  3. Choose a range of songs – some gentle carols; a few cheesy Christmas pop songs; well known novelty songs (e.g. “12 days of Christmas”); something loud and raucous; etc.
And most importantly, singing is for life, not just for Christmas, so keep it up in the New Year!

I’d love to hear any other ideas you might have for getting everybody singing at Christmas, and to learn about your Christmas singing experiences. Do drop by and leave a comment (when the mince pies, turkey and mulled wine have settled of course!), I’d love to hear from you.

Merry Christmas to all my readers. Have a good one!

Chris Rowbury's website:

Chris Rowbury


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