Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Everybody's Favourite Christmas Carols

I delivered my "Ding Dong Merrily on High" talk to a group in a Leicester church hall recently.

I had been asked to give this talk by the ladies of the Good Companions, who meet at the hall of St. James the Greater Church in Stoneygate, opposite Victoria Park.

"Ding Dong Merrily on High", probably the most popular of the talks I give especially for the festive season, looks at the background to everybody's favourite Christmas carols.

Most people have their favourites, and I always ask people to name those that they like best. The ones most often mentioned are "God Rest You Merry Gentlemen", "Hark the Herald Angels Sing", "O Come All Ye Faithful", "Silent Night" and "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night".

Some were written by famous poets, some by famous composers, some refer to particular stories, usually Biblical, and others were written in unusual circumstances.

I talk of the young girl whose father wrote a carol for her as a present; the mice who nibbled through the workings of the organ; the teenage boy challenged by his father to write a hymn that the congregation could sing with feeling; and the one sung to each other by Allied and German soldiers during the First World War.

Those listening are always surprised that there are so many carols that they have all known from childhood.

Happy Christmas!