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Christmas Carols everywhere

Wendy . Blog Shakespeare slept here! Published 03 February 2009

Have you learned any English-language Christmas carols?

It's pretty difficult not to learn some of them, even if it is just the chorus.
Everywhere you go these days, you hear Christmas carols. Let's see if you've been paying attention in the department stores and supermarkets, boutiques and novelty shops.

Can you finish the chorus to these?

Silent night, ________ ________.
Hark the herald ________ _______.
We three _________ ________ _______ _______.
Oh, Christmas ________, Oh ___________ _________.
Away in _______ _________.
Angels we ______ _______ ____ _______
Joy to _____ _________

And a few more modern tunes:

It's beginning to look ____ _______ ______ _______!
Jingle bell, jingle bell, _________ _________ ________ !
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle _______ _______ _______.
We wish _____ ______ __________ _____________.
I saw Mama ___________ ___________ ________.

I remember as a child in the US that the Christmas music and decorations didn't go up until after Thanksgiving, the 4th Thursday in November and were down by New Years or at the very outside by Epiphany, the 6th of January . If they weren't put away, the bad fairies would get us. We were all back in school on the first week day of January.

There was a shopping frenzy in December, and the big sales started December 26th, not before.

Here in Spain the season starts earlier and earlier each year. When I first came here the decorations went up in Plaza Mayor toward the middle of December and everyone came to buy nativity scenes, decorations and ornaments MADE IN SPAIN. White lights were put up along all the major boulevards and Spanish "villancicos" were heard everywhere. All the buildings were also lit up, and the excitement of the season lasted through at least the 8th of January when children would go back to school. No one knew any of the English language Christmas Carols, and Santa Claus was only a billboard figure selling Kodak cameras as I recall. The 3 Kings brought all the presents and the biggest shopping day of the year was January 5th.

Now the sales start long BEFORE Christmas, especially this year with the big economic crisis. Maybe the prices are just too high to begin with!

As foreign students in Spain we soon learned that the favorite Christmas song was about fish! ---but look how the fish are drinking in the river It DOES have quite a catchy tune, but... Oh, well. Each culture has its favorites. We learned the words to most of the "villancicos" and we'd also sing along to "Adeste Fideles" and "Noche de paz" because we knew the music.

Last year the "Christmas season" in Spain began in November and this year the stores were decorating before Halloween! That certainly didn't happen in the 70's or 80's or 90's. Firstly the end of October was weeks too early to even mention Christmas, and secondly no one knew what Halloween was. Spanish children are now into Halloween; costumes and decorations are easy to find. In one mega-store I saw the Halloween costumes right next to the Christmas decor. And almost everything was imported from China! These 2 holidays just don't mix, and besides black & orange clash with the red & green, silver & gold.

We may be getting more and more international. We may be learning to respect other customs and other cultures, but let´s keep the holidays independent of one another. Each an entity unto itself.


Check out the Christmas activities at the UEM LAB

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