Christmas caroling is a rapidly disappearing tradition. Adapted from a Welsh peasant origin, caroling offers a link to Christmas past while providing joy and fellowship to caroler and listener alike. It takes little preparation, costs next to nothing and enriches everyone who participates. Finding Christmas carol lyrics is much easier than it used to be. Even if you don't know the title of the song, you can use the fragment you do remember to search for the title. Many lyric sites also include an mp3 or midi file of the tune to help you identify the correct carol.
Decide what type of carols you want to sing: traditional, sacred, contemporary or a mix. Sacred carols work best with singers who know how to harmonize, have good breath support and have a fairly wide vocal range. Contemporary carols are often slightly bawdy, humorous or nostalgic. Traditional carols, which tend to be folk carols from England, Ireland, France and Wales, celebrate winter while focusing more on gathering together.
Type "Christmas carol lyrics," into your search box. This will take you to a page of listings that host Christmas carol lyric collections. These collections tend to be "Familiar Favorites," carols well known to most people. These are the easiest to use when caroling, as they typically require little or no memorization.
Take suggestions from group members. Everyone has a few favorites, and a group of five or six carolers could easily create a program of 15 to 20 well known carols. It is OK if the lyrics vary from the norm, because listeners will just assume you are singing an alternate version of the song.
Consult a hymnal for additional carols, especially if you are creating a more formal program with sacred songs. One advantage of using a hymnal is that the sheet music is available. Invite a few musicians to accompany your group of carolers. Some hand bells, a tambourine, a bodhran, Irish whistles and a flute can help create a memorable experience, harkening to the strolling musicians of the Middle Ages.
Transcribe the lyrics from a Christmas CD as you replay each section. You may make an error or two, but you can always check your accuracy by doing another Internet search afterward. Some CDs already have the lyrics inside as liner notes. Enlarge them and staple them into little booklets for your group.