Saturday, December 21, 2013

"Carols for Christmas," a vintage pamphlet from The Prudential

Are those three women facing us triplets? Clones? Doppelgängers? It's a little creepy.

This undated "Carols for Christmas" foldout pamphlet was published by The Prudential Insurance Company of America.1

It features the lyrics to:
  • O Little Town of Bethlehem
  • O Come, All Ye Faithful
  • Joy to the World
  • O Holy Night
  • Away in a Manger
  • Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
  • It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
  • The First Noel
  • God Rest Your Merry, Gentlemen
  • Silent Night
  • We Three Kinds of Orient Are

So, the question of the day here in 2013 is this: "Do people still go caroling?"2

As always, I turned to the Interwebs for the answer, and this is what I came up with.

1. The question "Do people still go out Christmas caroling?" was asked on Yahoo! Answers in 2008. These were some of the responses:
  • "I don't know any people that go Christmas caroling anymore...But i'm sure some people still do!"
  • "My girlfriend and I went caroling last year, it was pretty cool. But no one seems to be asking anyone to go caroling this year. Which kind of suck."
  • "i wish people did, ahh the old days"3
  • "yep, they did on a reality TV show i watched (LOL) and we usually get one or two groups every year."

2. The same question was also posed in 2008 on Askville by Amazon.4 Responses included:
  • "It's not as common but yeah I've seen people do it."
  • "My sister and her husband had a group of friends they would carol with. They would rent a large passenger vehicle and designate a driver, get completely wasted and sing their hearts out. They had a regular route each year. It might be bad form to show up on some stranger's yard to sing drunken carols. People came to expect a visit from the group each year."
  • "Sure, in some horse and buggy towns across the land."

3. In 2010, a different person posted the question "Do people still go out and Christmas Carol?" on Yahoo! Answers. There was a wide variety of answers:
  • "yes, for the first time in my life I had carolers come to my door last year. It was a group of Mormons, but it was still very nice. And they didn't even hand me any literature or anything. They sang two was very cool. More people should do that."
  • "Yes, but it depends on where you live. In a lot of areas, it is very rare to see. In all my 20 years of living, only once did I see Christmas carolers come to my door in the area that I live in, which is quiet a rural area."
  • "I would and the last time I heard carollers was like 5 years ago. Now everone is locked inside playing on thier Ipods or Wii's not caring about anyone but themselves. Just one Christmas I would like a more Jolly Spirit"
  • "No one has ever been to my door but I would listen to someone on the porch only."
  • "maybe in the 1980s"

4. In 2011, the question "Do people still go Christmas caroling ? I haven't seen people do it in years." was asked on Experience Project. Those commenting on that website seemed a bit more thoughtful and in control of punctuation and grammar. But most of the responses were still on the depressing side. Here's a sampling:
  • "Growing up, I lived part of the year in a warm climate and part in a cold climate. Christmas was always celebrated in the cold part of the country, with lots of snow on the ground. My church youth group went to the homes of older people in they church and caroled. Afterwards, we went back to the church for hot chocolate and goodies in the church basement. I have aways remembered how fun that was. I agree, it is a part of times past that few people do any more."
  • "We used to hitch up a horse drawn wagon and carole from the back. But to knock on a stranger's doors these days would be out and out scary from the perspective of the knocker and knockee."
  • "Yep, Just don't do it in the Post Office they will kick you out."

What are your Christmas caroling experiences and thoughts? Comment below.

1. Previous posts involving The Prudential are:
2. My only personal recollection of caroling is from more than 30 years ago, when my middle-school choral group went around our small town of Montoursville, Pennsylvania, during the daytime and sang to anyone who happened to answer their doorbell.
3. This answer was provided by a user with a Cartman avatar. I have a terrible suspicion that, 200 years from now, Cartman will still be a universally recognized image.
4. The person posting the question had the user name OldHippieHatesNewAV.


  1. YES! Folks still get together and go out caroling at Christmas time. One small troupe has been doing this in East Rutherford NJ EVERY Dec 23rd since the 1980's.
    The friends are mostly past members of the Stevens Institute of Technology Glee Club. They were inspired to do this in honor of the founder and Director of the Stevens Glee Club - Professor William F. Ondrick. Each year he would have the Glee Club perform an evening of Christmas Songs on campus, complete with sing along. Then later he would host a Christmas party for the students, somehow making room for everyone in his home.
    Everyone looked forward to those hours of song, fun and food.
    In that same spirit we gather each Dec 23rd at the home of Connie and Joe DeFazio in East Rutherford NJ. (Both were members of the Glee Club and Connie, being an accomplished Music Teacher and Choir Director in her own right, took over the reigns of directing the Glee Club when Prof. Ondrick retired.)
    The group tours the neighborhood singing the songs featured in that Prudential Insurance Pamphlet - in 4 part harmony of course!

  2. My father worked for Prudential and we would all look forward to this pamphlet as kids. We would carol through the neighborhood, following the lyrics on the Prudential pamphlet. Is there any way to get the whole pamphlet instead of just the cover/