I grew up with what I thought was the worst Christmas Eve tradition on the planet. My mom and dad both have amazing voices. My dad was in a band (think Peter Paul and Mary) and reminded us all the time that he gave up fame to have a family. His voice was amazing. My dad asked my mom out after hearing her sing at a church party. So every Christmas Eve since I was born (the 3rd of 5!) we piled into the station wagon, (eventually it became the minivan), and went Christmas caroling to 5 or 6 random families. My dad had some excuse why we were going to this family or that... We sang 3 songs, handed this unsuspecting family my mom's banana bread, and moved on to the next.
It was always the same songs- Silent Night, Feliz Navidad (my mother always came in early while my baby brother shook the maracas- like every.single.year- EARLY.) and finally ended with We Wish You a Merry Christmas.
By the time we became teenagers this was torturous. We all complained and grumped the whole time until my dad bellowed and threatened all of us within an inch of our lives. Then he'd park the car, and we would walk up the family's sidewalk and smile widely as we sang. (Performing was in our blood, after all).
The final year came about 10 years ago when my dad saw the 3 carfuls of our growing family. With our newborns and toddlers climbing in and out of the cars and his grown kids being quietly resolute on continuing this tradition we had despised growing up, my dad said, "Well, I guess this is our last year caroling."
What I wouldn't give to sing again as a family. We are all grown up and our own kids are growing up too- we live in 6 different cities and have our own traditions and cultures now. Oh Mom and Dad, thanks for sticking to this tradition. It's my most priceless Christmas memory.