Holiday Traditions – Christmas Carols

I am excited to tell you about another holiday tradition today. I have teamed up with the Foiled Fox to host a giveaway. All you need to do is leave a comment here on my blog or over on the Foiled Fox telling us about one of your holiday traditions. Do you do the ugly Christmas sweater thing or perhaps decorate your tree with vintage ornaments, do you head to the beach or the mountains or light the fire and cozy up at home? We would love to know!

Thank you again to those of you who have shared holiday traditions in the comments. Not surprisingly food was mentioned quite a few times. Another tradition that came up a more than once was carol singing and that’s what I’m going to share today. If you haven’t left a comment on my blog or the Foiled Fox blog yet please do, we would love to hear from you. Make sure you pop over to the Foiled Fox to read about Shauna’s sweet stocking tradition and see her lovely card.

Here in Canada we have a couple of carol singing traditions. Every December two or three days before Christmas there is carol singing in the park at the end of our street. If we already have snow and cold temperatures then we might be standing on the ice rink with a fire off to the side. On Christmas Eve we go to the carol service at our church, always ending with Silent Night during which we light individual candles.

Carols by candlelight in Australia is very different. Major cities like Sydney and Melbourne have a big event at a large outdoor concert venue with celebrities and all the bells and whistles. Thousands of people bring picnics and blankets and enjoy the concert and carols from early evening until after sunset when everyone lights candles if there isn’t a fire ban! I attended the big event occasionally, more often I attended a local ‘carols by candlelight’ with our church in a nearby park.

Today’s card features a sentiment from one of my favourite carols. I used the Ink to Paper ‘peaceful forest’ stamp set and stamped on hot pressed watercolour paper so I could blend the ink after stamping. I used distress pine needles, shabby shutters and hickory smoke inks, overlapping the trees so there would be some little bleeds from green to green to grey here and there.

I wanted the die-cut letters to match the trees exactly so I swiped ink across a scrap of watercolour paper then blended it with a wet brush. Once dry I used the ‘season of joy’ dies to cut the word and a stamp from the ‘season of joy’ stamp set to complete the first line of the carol. I used two layers of vellum so the letters and embossed words would stand out from the busy background. I added gold embossed stars and created a textured gold card base from Tonic cinnamon silk specialty cardstock.

Do you have a favourite carol? I have had a few over the years, Joy to the World, O Holy Night and my current fave, In the Bleak Mid-winter.


31 Comments on “Holiday Traditions – Christmas Carols”

  1. Bonnie says:

    O Holy Night is my favorite Christmas carol. I have a tradition for my Christmas Card classes that we play Christmas carols even if it’s in September. Many of us sing along to our favorites. It adds such a festive mood. I love your stand of trees and the fonts of the sentiment are perfect in their simplicity and impact. I love that you’ve done the sentiment on vellum so as not to hide the trees.

  2. Beverly Robinson says:

    I have collected vintage German skating figures. I love getting out mirrors and arranging trees, skaters, and sprinkling with snow.. it’s a cheerful sight all winter.

  3. Jo Ann F. says:

    I love the words to the Christmas carol on the vellum on your card. One of our traditions is we usually go to the Vigil Mass on Christmas eve. After we get home, we take turns unwrapping the figures for the creche scene one at a time and placing them in the stable. Even the little ones love the suspense of who will be opened next, and reverently put the figure in the display.

    • Heather says:

      What a lovely tradition, especially as all ages can enjoy it. It reminds me of a Jan Karon book I have read and enjoyed a couple of times, Angels Abiding.

  4. Lois Hecksel says:

    My favorite Christmas tradition is our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service in a barn ending with lighting the dark with candles (just outside the barn).

  5. llothianb says:

    Coming from a large family (7 kids) our traditions included picking names (so much easier on my parents/Santa finances) and we would all shop together on one day ending up with our a family meal at a restaurant – usually Chinese cuisine.

  6. karenajo says:

    Great idea for the sentiment – I love how you colored the letters in ‘JOY’ like the trees and then put them on the velum.
    One tradition we have grown to love is a ‘white elephant’ exchange with some of our long time friends from church. At one point actual white elephant figurines were introduced as a present and they made their appearance for several years after that! So much fun!

    • Heather says:

      Your ‘white elephant’ exchange sounds like our ‘Tacky/Nice’ Christmas party. Everyone brings a gift (can be tacky or nice) under the $10 limit and there is a numbered order for opening and rules for stealing and it is always a fun event. There have been some gifts that have reappeared year after year!

  7. Marian says:

    I really like the JOY on your card. I must remember to do this on one of my cards.
    I am crazy about snowmen and have several in my collection that I am happy to display.
    They make me so happy and I must say I just can’t resist card ideas that include snowmen.
    We purchase our granddaughters a snowman ornament every year.
    They are always excited to open this present.

    • Heather says:

      How sweet to have a tradition of your own that is turning into one for your granddaughters as well. Even though my children are all adults now they enjoy seeing ornaments given to them as children appear on the tree every year.

  8. Patricia Bale says:

    Hi Heather. I so love your cards…. you always inspire me. Regarding Christmas traditions…. when my adult children were three and four, I started the tradition of letting them pick out an new ornament each year. Then when they left home, they each had at least twenty ornaments that meant something special. It was really meaningful for my daughter when she moved to another province for university and she could decorate her own little tree… filled with Christmas memories.

  9. Cyndee Daugherty says:

    O Holy Night… and the soul felt its worth.🎵 an old song but my favorite and see it was one of yours too.

  10. Karen Jackson says:

    Another lovely card Heather. I love the way you have wrapped the sentiment on vellum.
    My favourite carols are O Holy Night and See Amid the Winter’s Snow. Christmastime without carols is unthinkable.

  11. glenicecb says:

    I sang, as an 18 yr old I think, in the first Myer Music Bowl Carols by candlelight and watch it each Christmas Year since. If you are able to watch in elsewhere in the world some of it is fabulous….a few bits I could skip.

  12. Kris in Alaska says:

    My favorite Christmas song is “Mary Did You Know” by Mark Lowry. I love it especially when my daughter sings it! For a present one year, she didn’t have any money but recorded herself playing her guitar and singing that song. It made my husband and I cry and it was the best present (aside from Jesus!) ever!

  13. Pat says:

    Joy to the World is a beautifully carol and some time before Christmas we sing carols with the choirs Hubby and I belong to and enjoy it all immensely. I love the way you have coloured the trees Heather using those three colours and added the vellum with the die cut letters echoing that pretty green and added the gold embossed stars and extra stamped and gold embossed words on the vellum. A beautiful card. x

  14. Patt H. says:

    Love this pretty card, Heather! Those trees are awesome with the 3 colors! I play Christmas carols all season & they are on right now! My favorite one is Silent Night but I also have to play all of Elvis’s carols each year, especially Blue Christmas. Reminds me of my teenage years way back when!

    • Heather says:

      There are members of my family who get quite annoyed if I start playing Christmas Carols too early! We are disappointed though when they disappear straight after Christmas. There really are 12 days of Christmas so we keep our tree up and continue to listen to the carols.

  15. lisascreativeniche says:

    Love these trees! A favorite tradition for us goes back to when I was a little girl and the women of the family would have “candy parties”. No candy was involved but we did get together and make Buckeyes, hundreds in fact. And we would sing, dance, talk, eat…. It was the best!

  16. Connie S. says:

    Christmas Eve is our family time. Growing up with Dutch and German parents we kept a little of the traditional times. Supper was always a cold plate with meats, pickled herring (my Mom’s favourite — not mine), smoked eel (my Dad’s favourite — not mine as too greasy), cheeses, breads, and salads. Afterwards I would play my guitar and we would sing Christmas carols before opening gifts. We didn’t have stockings until I met my husband. I made cross-stitched stockings for our two sons to hang but really did not see the need for me to have one. Now that my two sons are grown we have carried on many of the traditions. Our Christmas tree, like my parents, is mostly wooden ornaments made in Germany. No balls, no bows, just simple and like it that way. We still have supper together but now it includes wives, girlfriends, and 2 young grandchildren. My favourite Christmas carol is not a traditional one but I have liked since I was in grade school…Huron Carol. Oh and I can’t forget my husband’s Scottish shortbread that he makes every year (his Scottish granny’s recipe). Batches of it. He gives it away in our town to everyone he knows including the dentist, bank gals, doctor’s office, and anyone else he knows. My son was at the bank one day recently and the teller asked him when my husband was coming around with the cookies:)

    • Heather says:

      Your traditions sound really lovely and I know from experience Dan’s shortbread is an excellent tradition which he kindly made gluten free for me! All wooden ornaments must look very pretty. (I didn’t know you played guitar!)

  17. Denise Bryant says:

    Beautiful card! I love the trees and the vellum piece with the sentiment!
    O Holy Night is my favorite!

  18. Liane Desmarais-Cavanagh says:

    The Annual Christmas Tree hunt is almost a sacred tradition. The last Saturday before Christmas, we gather with family and friends at a predetermined spot for brunch and to catch up on the latest news of children and parents. Once fortified with hearty food we assemble at the local tree farm and as a group hike and sing our way into the woods to each find our respective tree. There is much debate about colour, size and shape. Once each families tree has been felled we all help each other to get them back to the cars and tie them to the roof of the family car. Then, like a parade, we wind our way back to town.
    The images of those cold adventures have provided inspiration for many cards, and it is a joy to beable to make new memories each year with those we love and cherish.

    • Heather says:

      I have some happy memories of choosing a Christmas tree in both the north and the southern hemispheres. I love that singing is part of your tradition and eating as well!

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