I have two specific memories of music at Christmas time. In our capital city, Melbourne, a tradition was begun in 1938 of Carols by Candlelight. In a public outdoor ampitheatre a large combined choir and solo artists would sing carols. The audience sat on the grass and held lighted candles. My grandmother was part of the combined choir for many years when I was a little girl, and whilst I don't remember attending the actual carols we always watched it on television. Sadly the tradition has become "glorified" over the years and instead of being a good old-fashioned community sing-a-long the carols have become a major production with popular artists often ruining the lovely old carols and singing songs no-one knows. I still watch it each year though. The tradition was copied in many towns and in my hometown it was held on Christmas Eve at the local football ground. We would go to the carols, sing our hearts out and then go home and wait for Santa to arrive.
My second memory is of singing carols around our own Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. Just the four of us, but we did it every year before we went to bed.
And of course once it gets to December 1st I give myself permission to play Christmas carols. I must have at least 30 Christmas CDs, and have to be restrained from buying more each year. I just love them! My favourite carol is "Silent Night" and I think my favourite group singing carols is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. But I have a lot of favourite solo artists too - and Elvis singing duets (remixed) with various artists is also special.
Click on the controls here to listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing "Silent Night".