Our Favorite Christmas Carols

Although Christmas is considered a Christian holiday, in the U.S., many people who are not Christian celebrate it as a secular (non-religious) holiday.  One thing people love about Christmas, even if they are not religious, is the Christmas carols, songs to celebrate this holiday season.

When I was young, it was not uncommon during the weeks leading up to (right before) Christmas for carolers to come to the front door.  Christmas carolers are groups of people who go from door-to-door (one house to the next) singing Christmas songs.  School groups, church groups, groups of neighbors or friends, would get together, usually informally, to go Christmas caroling.  When a group of carolers come to your door, you and those in your house become the audience–you applaud and if the group is small or if you know some members of the group, you may offered them a snack, such as a cookie or slice of cake, or even a holiday-related drink, such as apple cider (like apple juice) or eggnog (drink made with egg, cream, spices, and sometimes alcohol).  Then, the carolers move on to the next house.  These days, it’s less common to see Christmas carolers, and I can’t remember the last time I had Christmas carolers come to my house in Los Angeles.

In the Christmas spirit, Jeff and I agreed that we would each pick our favorite Christmas carol for the blog.  (Jeff will post his on Christmas Eve, December 24th.) I found this to be a very difficult choice to make because I love listening to and singing carols, even when it’s not Christmas, to the dismay (distress; pain) of anyone around me.  To choose just one among so many is nearly impossible.

After a lot of thinking, I picked “Little Drummer Boy.”  A drummer is someone who plays the drums, of course, which is the musical instrument where you hit a round top with sticks. (The lyrics “pa rum pum pum pum” represents the sound of the drum.)  I love its melody (main notes in the song) and the story of a poor boy who wants to honor (pay respect to) someone important (in this case, Jesus), but all he has is his music to give.

To all of you, our wonderful listeners, I wish you a very happy holiday and a wonderful new year!

~ Lucy

P.S. This is another wonderful version of the song sung by the Vienna Boy’s Choir.

“Little Drummer Boy”
by the Harry Simeone Chorale

Come, they told me, pa rum pum pum pum
A newborn King to see, pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest (best) gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before (present to) the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come.

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That’s fit (appropriate) to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?

Mary (Jesus’ mother) nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time (to maintain the tempo or rhythm), pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

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22 Responses to Our Favorite Christmas Carols

  1. Wonderful carol !!!
    Thanks, Lucy and Jeff for all your beautiful work.
    Marry Christmas and better New Year.
    José María, Spain.

  2. Peter says:

    Talk about the Christmass sprit

    it is over flowing in you Lucy,

    thanks my dear prof for guiding me to a better understanding of the language I am involving with on a dayily basis.

    Thanks for make it possible for me to get a head in this sub-arctic country.

    Thanks for your good heart that you and Jeff are the pioneer for the greatest cause.

    Indeed , you are the cream of the English language pie(cream typicaly reffers to the best part of something)

    it may sound gayish ,but you have a special place among us

    I owe you big . I hope one day far in the future I can come up with something that matches your generosity.

    There is an end to everything,but your impeccable progarm seems endless to me
    every single time you get me with something new ,and it never fails( thanks to Lucy)

    who are you people?
    All the best to you sis

  3. Saulo says:

    I loved so much this song, Lucy! You have a good sense for music, it is very apropriate to the season, when we are celebrating the birth(on the earth) of our Lord King of the Kings, the boy God who came to save us of all sin. My best wishes for you, Jeff and all ESL team, good Christmas and new year, too.

  4. Warren Ediger says:

    When you talk about caroling, you remind me of some of my favorite memories. When I was in high school, I used to go caroling with the high school group from my cousin’s church. He lived in the state of Kansas (middle of the U.S.) in a small town.

    We started at 10 o’clock at night and caroled until around 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning. When we finished, we would go back to the church and have a breakfast of pancakes and hot chocolate. It was usually cold and often snowy. We walked from house to house in the small town and then climbed into farm wagons filled with hay (long grass that had been cut and dried to feed farm animals) and went from farmhouse to farmhouse out in the country (outside of the town).

    One of our favorite songs was “Angels We Have Heard On High.” You can listen to it by going to YouTube and pasting this into the search box: Angels We Have Heard on High Robert Shaw. Can you imagine waking up in the middle of the night and hearing something like this?

    Thank you for reminding me of these memories, Lucy! And Merry Christmas to the ESL Podcast family!


  5. Peter says:

    FYI,I am not rally into Carols.You know , they are eye-Jerkers

    however ,the one Lucy picked is nice to hear sort of relaxing
    now , we should see what Jeff comes up with.
    Do you think who wins the contest ?

    seems like , Lucy has the upper hand in this contse
    the song she chose is rooted to all Christmass protocol
    I mean , it is a very famous song dated back God knows when

    Nice choice Lucy
    again thanks for augmenting my English literacy

  6. Peter says:

    By the way,

    FYI is the abreviation for ” for your information.” Vastly common by the way. Every body use it.Am I right Lucy/

    Most Christmas caroles I think are extracted from the fables of the past.don’t them.

    Christmass always remind me of a Chrismass-related term which is “regift”
    It happens when you recieve a gift from a friend and you give it to your friend as your gift.

    Let’s say Jeef buys Lucy a ring as a Christmass gift. Lucy does not like the gift,but she does not say anything out of curtesy to Jeff. Instead ,she gives the ring as a gift to her friend. Lucy regitted the ring.
    it is pretty pertained to Christmass. Jeff discussed it before ,didn’t he?

  7. Magda says:

    Jeff and Lucy – Merry Christmas with Peace and Love. _ Magda – Brazil.

  8. Oscar says:

    Great Christmas song Lucy! I hope you and Jeff have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year as well.

  9. Daniele says:

    Thank you Warren for sharing your memories with us.
    I would aslo like to remember that Mr Scarecrow uses hay to suff himself when he gets out of shape.

    Sorry Peter what’s the meaning of ” eye-Jerkers”

    Thank you Lucy for all your work you have done this year. I am certainly going to stay with you next year.
    All the best to ESL Podcast team bye:-)

  10. Clover says:

    I’m enjoying this wonderful melody now.
    Merry christmas to Jeff and Lucy
    The day in christmas is very bustling in china these day.
    and our company have one day holiday.cheerful

  11. Vince (Spain) says:

    Thanks so much for picking up that Carol.
    For me it is a beautiful reminder of the true meaning of Christmas.
    I wish you and Jeff a Happy Christmas and successful New Year 2010!

  12. emiliano says:

    Thank you very much Warren by your nice post that reminds me one of my best memories of my childhood, when we did more or less the same that you told us so well.
    Now living in this big city all is different and there are not even carols on the radio or even at any place you may go.

    To all ESL team I wish A Merry Christmas and all the best to The New Year.
    And to all The Blog´s friends thank you very much for your good contributions and patience with the ones, like me, who write so much always.
    Merry Christmas and A Happy New year for all of us, that is my wish and I hope that Lucy and Jeff have so good year like this that is finishing or even better with new courses and projects.


  13. Gaurav says:

    Merry Christmas to everybody.

  14. Gaurav says:

    I listened a Christmas carol for the first time. And this was really soothing to my ears.

  15. dongsung says:

    Thank you for the carol Lucy,
    I love to listening and singing carols when it’s christmas time when I was young.
    unfortunately, I can’t feel the same way that I had in my school days any more.
    I must be too old,
    but I feel fresh again that I’m singing with hearing the carol that you’ve picked.
    thank you and every personel who work for ELS pod cast merry christmas.

  16. Peter says:

    seems like Lucy was the momentousness required to get the Blog look a bit more christmassy. Good Job!

    Maybe the holiday season is delightful for you guys ,but it does not work for me that way. For me ,Christmas means a huge workload on my lap. Tonight ,I have to work late .The kicker is:my boss is gonna stay late as well.Man,such a pain.What is more ,all the new year bonuses are cut short? It means ,I am working extended hours for free. We Received a kind of memo one hour ego. Talk about a morale booster

    No mean to snide;just getting off my chest.

    However,it was not the point of me straining your eyes.

    I was goona introduce you a book I read just recently. It does not pertain to Christmas ,but very classy. The book title is “Contortionist Daughter.”
    Perfect in so many ways. It starts out a bit rough, but it will pick up. It is about 1100 pages ;very classy and wordy.Please back me up on this Lucy. I know you have read the book.Get a copy and you thank me later.

  17. Peter says:

    to be percise The contortionist’s handbook is the name of the book , I got it form one friend ,pretty amamzing. it is a bit pricy though

  18. Tania says:

    Hi ! I have put my little Christmas tree near the window . It is decorated with colored electric lights , candles , colored globes and candies along
    the branches . It is nice , isn’t it ? I listen to your delicate carol “Little Drummer Boy ” . Thank you , Dr. Lucy .
    Merry Christmas !


  19. Peter says:

    My dear profs,
    you caught me off guard with all the new terms you threw at me on the latest episod .
    your top-notch program is doing it for me.the latest episode is utterly beautiful, perfect in so many ways. Now , I can take more than a leaf out of your book(LOL)
    definitly ,the episod is a whole another level.

    But,he more you throw English terms my way the happier I am.

    I picked up alot ,thanks for taking it up a notch.you definitly know your audience ,no question about it!

    I work late tonight no time to stop and smell roses.Don’t worry Jeff; It does not make a big problem simply because I don’t have any beloved person around .Just my boss and I who is gonna stay late tonight perpoursly to make my life a living hell.
    I definitly have a bone to pich with him
    I found a tucked away place at work though I Can take shelter there
    His truaculant attitude does not do it for me.he is very difficult.he is too much
    no mean to snide
    thanks that Eslpod is my oasis away from everyday misery.
    Hope you have a deligtfull holiday filled with joy and hapiness

    I work late today ,I just rolled out of bed

  20. Peter says:

    Dear Daniel,
    I said eye-jerker?
    sorry,the thing is, I do most of my posts at work, and sometimes I have to be versatile ( doing so many things all at the same time),so these kind of honest mistakes are inevetible .it happens when I have a huge workload along with a pile of backlog to deal with.you know what sometimes it is not easy to connect dots( thanks to Jeff).however ,the term is cry-jerker that I heared it a couple of times from my native speaker profs back in university.I doubt the authencity( validity) of it.it basicly means some thing that make you cry.

    I had heared the term “rehoterical questions” at school as well.but ,I really don’t know it is correct or not untill Jeff explained the term.Accordingly ,I assumed the term ” cry-Jerker” is valid as well.

    By the way guys,
    the idoms”take a leaf out of somebody’s book” is a good one which means use somebodyelse words or sayings
    like what I did with respect to conect dots that we have learnt just recently
    I used it on this comment,so I took a leaf out of Jeff’s book
    No matter how many you took the ideams comes alway with a leaf
    wish you delightful holiday and please wish me slow business season (LOL) silly ,isn’t it

    By the way Guys

  21. Peter says:

    If you are asking me why I am alone in this time of the year.the reason is if the elephont man had a brother definitly it would be me!

    By the way

    Tucked away means a quite place where barely people are aware of its existance

  22. Naoko NY says:

    Dear Jeff and Lucy,

    Thank you for all your work for this ESL Podcast.

    Happy holidays to both of you!

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