One of the most satisfying and good-natured activities to do during the holiday season (unless you’re Andrew Lincoln in Love Actually) is going from door to door in your neighborhood for a night of caroling. Though it may not sound like there’s much involved in the process, we at Jezebel recommend you follow our guide for an evening of spreading good cheer that neither you (or your neighbors) will soon forget!
The first step to a great night of caroling is (duh!) choosing the carols! While any music—religious or secular—that evokes the magic of the holiday season will do, don’t forget to pepper in a few songs that are thematically inclusive, such as the classic new year anthem, “Auld Lang Syne.” Anyone can relate to the perennial favorite that everyone loves to sing as the clock strikes midnight on January 1—even if they have no idea what “ault lang syne” means. My favorite version is by Vince Giordano & The Nighthawks.
Step two begins in your closet. Since you’re going to be spending a few hours outdoors (if you can’t carol for at least 118 minutes, why bother doing it at all), be sure to bundle up. While down, leather, and wool-based outerwear are sure-fire ways to keep you nice and toasty on a brisk December night, we recommend a slightly more fashionable approach. So this year, try a nice floor-length fur (it can be faux!). You’ll feel warm, and you’ll look hip.
Once you’ve got the music prepared and your coat on, wave goodbye to your husband and head outside for an evening of holiday cheer. Oh, I almost forgot! Don’t forget to put on a scarf. Salmon, if you have it? Nothing brings out the highlights and midtones of a gorgeous tan fur coat like a hint of salmon peeking out from under the lapel.
Brrrr, it’s cold! You know what would be so nice right now, a cigarette. Got any hidden in your glove compartment? What about inside the mailbox? No? Well la-di-da, look who’s got self control! Go stop by a nearby corner store and ask the kind cashier if they have any Lucky Strikes. Rats, they don’t sell them in the United States anymore. Oh, I guess just...I guess just get the Camel Lights. Or the Marlboro 27s? No no, the American Spirits. The blue ones. Yeah, those. And be sure to grab a lighter—a festive one if they have them!
Now you’re officially ready to start caroling! So walk up to the front door of a neighbor’s home and ring the bell (or use the knocker), shout, “Caroler!” and prepare for your very first audience of the season! When someone answers the door, greet them with silence. Narrow your eyes, cock your head ever so slightly to one side and let the edges of your mouth slowly turn upward over the span of six to eight seconds—a look that, though not quite a smile, unquestionably communicates a feeling of total contentment.
Without breaking eye contact, pull a cigarette out of your pocket, place it in your mouth, and remove your lighter. If you’re told not to smoke near their open door, become visibly amused by the request—you might even want to punctuate this reaction with a forceful, laugh-like exhalation through your nose—and light the cigarette anyway. Take a long drag (non-smokers don’t have to inhale), purse your lips as though preparing to whistle, and blow with a force that could best be described as sensual in the direction of your neighbors.
When your audience asks what you’re doing, take a deep breath and recite the following:
There are no accidents, and he would’ve found us one way or another. Everything comes full circle. Be grateful it was sooner rather than later. You’ll think it harsh of me to say so, but no explanation I offer will satisfy you. Please don’t be angry when I tell you that you seek resolutions and explanations because you’re young, but you will understand this one day. And when it happens, I want you to imagine me there to greet you. Our lives stretched out ahead of us, a perpetual sunrise. But until then, there must be no contact between us. I have much to do—and you, my darling, even more. Please believe that I would do anything to see you happy. So, I do the only thing I can.
I release you.
After the door is slammed in your face, turn around as though nothing about their disrespect has wounded your spirit or decreased your resolve, walk to the next house, and repeat until you’re no longer able speak without choking up.