Caroling to friends

…and a happy new year!!!

And a happy new year!!!

This Christmas season, like each one I can remember, I went Christmas Caroling with my family :)

This year we had to remember to include masks and extra distance.

Years ago, we caroled to family, neighbors and close friends. New people were added every year (but people hardly got taken off the list unless they moved 😅)! It got to a point where it seemed like we went caroling every day in December to keep up. We visited everyone from teachers to church members, from family to strangers!

Over the years, our group added in-laws, grandchildren, extended family, and one year even uncle Bob (who wasn’t actually our uncle, just an older man who decided to join us after we visited him 😆. Mr. Krueger’s Christmas, anyone?). We started wearing santa hats (including Lakers- and Princess- themed ones). The van we drove got bigger and bigger until we couldn’t all fit in our 10-seater van anymore and had to drive multiple cars.

I don’t know how my parents did it when we had seven kids in one van for dozens of hours over several weeks. They had to find ways to entertain us… Christmas movies, snacks, and rewards. And we had to find ways to entertain ourselves, like the “extra-bextra seatbelt”: strapping one person in all four seatbelts in the van’s back seat.

In 2005 I got my first digital camera as a Christmas gift… Coincidentally, I took some pictures in our van while Caroling on Christmas day!

My mom always prepared some type of Christmas treat or ornament to give out. One year, my brother Danny threw a bag of cinnabun popcorn to a family we caroled to, and it exploded all over their doorway. 😂

Some families we visited made traditions out of our tradition! Like the Crisps… when we visited them, we could never make it through a whole song without laughing. Or Lori, who gave us each 2 – 3 candy canes every year. Many families had Christmas gifts at the ready, knowing we would arrive at some point. Some would carol to us as well.

Many of our pictures caroling were taken afterwards at Bainbridge Court :)

The tradition continued even as siblings moved out and got married… A few years ago, I was the only one home for Christmas with my parents, and of course we went to carol to my sister’s voice teacher growing up. As soon as she opened the door, we just busted up laughing because of how few we were. 🤣

Last week I finally really understood why we go caroling. On Christmas eve my mom checked with our friends Rachel and Adam if a visit would be okay. Rachel has been dealing with brain cancer for a couple years. They became emotional as we sang and joined in :) Rachel told us that earlier that day she had just told Adam how much she missed carolers when my mom texted to ask if we could visit. They both expressed how we made their day and they couldn’t thank us enough.

It’s simple really, and maybe cliché, but we go caroling to bring the Christmas spirit and make people happy :) I can’t remember a time we didn’t leave behind smiles after caroling. As much as I sometimes dreaded the long caroling hours as a child, I have no regrets now.

p.s. Since my last post…

I got to spend a couple weeks and Thanksgiving with Danny and Sarah in Virginia. Check out the photo album :)

Danny, Zach, and Sarah at Arlington National Cemetery, changing of the guard
U.S. Capital Building

I performed with some friends at a food bank and recorded some songs :)

Performing at St. Vincent de Paul Center in downtown Salt Lake.

This one got featured on the Christmas-song stream of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints :) We got to use some drone shots I took, and Paul did an amazing job on the audio and video editing!

I got to continue another December tradition: having a not-white Christmas and visiting the beach!

Zach, Jeremy, Anna, Jennifer, Sharon, Jim at the beach

I’m grateful I got to spend time with my family, and especially Maddison’s baptism last Sunday :) She was baptized in her grandparents’ pool with 50° water.

Zach and Maddison after her baptism

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