Click Here for an important announcement
regarding the 2020 season.
SHARE THE JOY
Welcome to the
St. Louis Christmas Carols Association
Volunteer carolers sing in neighborhoods and public venues, accepting contributions from listeners; donations benefit area agencies serving children.
St. Louis Christmas Carols Association provides everything you need to carol and collect: song sheets, collection cans, door hangers, helpful hints and ideas.
All you need is a joyful heart and a desire to share the joy of the season while helping area children!
Join us this season, and participate in this uniquely St. Louis tradition!
Click to see caroling groups from the
2019 caroling season and hear our song, "Caroling in St. Louis"!
Start a new family tradition!
Looking for a new way to create
Christmas memories with your family?
is a wonderful way to bring
family members of all ages
together, while bringing
holiday joy to others!
needn't cost anything but
an hour of your time, and
can be done in your own
one of our public venues!
allows you to give back to your community
by helping children in our area
with the donations collected.
I'M AN ORIGINAL CATCHPHRASE
I’m a paragraph. Double click here or click Edit Text to add some text of your own or to change the font. This is the place for you to tell your site visitors a little bit about you and your services.
Why We Carol
Caroling is a unique experience -
it's hard to describe the special feeling one gets from giving in this special way!
Caroling leaders share their stories...
"I know that if we carol, it will be magical. It just always is."
Ann's first California caroling group! (She's in the center, behind the doggie!) Click HERE to read a description of
their first caroling experience!
My family began hosting a caroling party the Monday before Christmas in 1986. My mom's friend was having a hard time during the holidays. She sang alto to my mom's soprano, so caroling we went! And so began our family Christmas tradition.
The Monday before Christmas, we'd gather neighbors and friends and traipse through the neighborhood. We always returned to my house for treats and hot chocolate afterward (my favorites were homemade miniature cheesecakes). When I got to host my own caroling party in 6th grade, I thought it was the coolest thing. I first learned to sing harmony when my mom's friend taught me the alto part to "Joy to the World" when I was 10 years old. Last week, I sang harmony for a professional musician at one of my favorite music venues in Los Angeles. And it all started with Christmas caroling.
My mom passed away from ovarian cancer in October of 2007. For a few years, I carried on the caroling tradition, even flying back from California. As my dad moved on with relationships and planned to move out of the neighborhood, there was a year that would mark the "last" Christmas in the house, so I made sure we had the last Christmas caroling. That night, a mom who I'd babysat for pulled her now enormous, hockey-playing, young adult sons to the door, saying, "Come and listen to this! I want you to know this still happens in the world."
As with anyone who has endured a major loss, the holidays can be hard. There have been a lot of changes in recent years. My dad got remarried; we sold my childhood home. My dad's wife, while a lovely woman, is Jewish, so going home for Christmas doesn't really exist anymore.
I figured I would actually look forward to the holidays this year if I introduced my friends here in California to the Christmas caroling tradition. So we'll have pizza and beer beforehand and miniature cheesecakes afterward. The population of my corner of Los Angeles is quite different from that of Chesterfield. There are a lot of apartments in the few blocks around mine with locked gates. It might be a total flop, but we're going to try it! And for the first time in several years, I'm actually looking forward to the holidays. I'm grateful for the tradition in my family and to StLCCA for the inspiration because I want people to know that this still happens in the world.
Thanks for all you do for the community, bringing cheer to neighborhoods
and the hope of possibility to the charities you support.
Ann M. Scharnhorst
Culver City, California
Commenting about how busy the holidays can be, Ann said,
"I know that if we carol, it will be magical. It just always is. "
"Sometimes in life, we just have to do everything we can to show up and in that process, it creates space for the divine to come and meet us.
So I'm making some space again this year and hoping for a Christmas miracle to come and fill in the blanks (though I still have to bake the mini-cheesecakes :-)."
Ann's mother Barb left a gift to the St. Louis Christmas Carols Association in her will... because of her gift, we were able to launch the
Kingsbury Place Singers,
purchasing music and
We are so thankful for her special gift.
In 2016, we needed a last minute group at the Garden Glow at Missouri Botanical Garden. Ann flew in from California that day, her father picked her up and
they came straight from the Airport
to join another group - saving the day
(and the donation) for us!
"We carol because it's about people, about
Why do we carol? That's Glenn, holding the can above!
On Christmas Eve 1983, I was a newlywed sitting home alone while my husband Glenn, a rookie police officer, worked a late shift. I was feeling lonely and miserable until my father-in-law, Russ Duncan, called and said, "You're going caroling with me."
He wouldn't take "no" for an answer. He picked me up and we drove to Waterman Place in the Central West End.
My husband had talked about how his family went caroling every Christmas Eve, that his parents had been part of this caroling group since before they were married in 1951. It had been organized by a group from American Youth Hostels that Russ and Treasure had joined, and was part of the St. Louis Christmas Carols Association.
It was a cold, blustery Christmas Eve, and the wind chill factor was well below zero. We joined up with a group and caroled up and down a street lined with fine old turn-of-the-century homes. Many of the families invited us inside, let us warm up, and even gave us Christmas cookies and hot mulled wine. That cold, miserable night turned into something magical for me.
I've always loved Christmas music, and as a child I wore out our Christmas albums. I loved school Christmas programs, and holiday specials on TV. How fitting that I married into a tradition of Christmas caroling!
My husband and I took over the group when the previous leaders decided to retire, and our three children were raised knowing that Christmas Eve meant Christmas caroling.
The families of Waterman Place have changed over the years, but when they move into the neighborhood they are told about the tradition, and they wait eagerly for us to knock on their doors on Christmas Eve. One family waits for us before lighting their tree. We are their tradition, too.
We carol because it's about people, about people caring. That original group of Hostelers cared about the mission of the St. Louis Christmas Carols Association. The caring families of Waterman Place open their hearts and homes and pocketbooks when we visit them on Christmas Eve. My father-in-law cared enough to keep the tradition going after his wife passed away and his children were grown. Our group of devoted carolers show up every Christmas Eve, even in the cold and snow and ice, because they care.
I owe a big debt of gratitude to the St. Louis Christmas Carols Association. Thank you for caring, and for keeping the magic in Christmas.
Remembering a Very Special Caroling Leader
In January 2020, the StLCCA was saddened to learn of the passing of Dorothy Bailey, a long time caroling leader in our Normandy area. We were pleased to remember Dorothy at our closing meeting, and provide an In Memoriam to be read at her memorial service.
Below, her daughter, Chandra Bailey-Todd, shares memories of her mom and caroling.
Chandra and her mom, Dorothy in June 2019
You know, I can remember back to the days when me and my mother were introduced to caroling, which was originally through Nelson Presbyterian Church. I started caroling when I was around 9 years old and always looked forward to the traditional experience of neighborhood traversing, going door-to-door in large groups (anywhere from 6 - 8), singing our hearts out (the well-endowed singers drowning out the off-key notes of the more vocally challenged group members).
It was always bitter cold, but we held proudly to our flashlights and music sheets in almost frozen gloved hands. And folks gladly opened their doors, sunk bills and coins into our cans, and stayed on their porches for a quick minute to hear us sing. Afterwards, we would
meet back at the church for hot dogs and hot chocolate, and playfully
compared cans to see which group possibly collected the most donations
(measured by weight of course). It was a different time then, when life
was simpler and caroling was a proud tradition, full of fun, joy and the
satisfaction you were helping a wonderful worthy cause.
Life has changed so much for all of us over the years, and 2020 has
brought a whole new level of consciousness of that realization unlike any year before. But the saying "as much as things change they stay the same" rings true. St. Louis Christmas Carols Association has been dear to me and my mother's heart for over 40+ plus years. My sisters and I, along with our family, will always help your wonderful cause. Our mother's spirit will live on through us, and we will continue to receive our cans and make our donations yearly, in honor of Dorothy Bailey, our forever posthumous Group Leader. So please don't forget to reach out to me when that time rolls around again, and my family will help in whatever way we can.
God bless you for your kindness; please stay safe and healthy.
Dorothy and Chandra, Christmas 1995.
Volunteering for "A Visit with Santa" at the Hunt house in Novmandy in the 1990's.
It was Dorothy Bailey who first introduced our current
Normandy Area Chairman, Sylvia Wright-Quigless at
McKinley School. Sylvia reports "then I really got
hooked when I transferred to Bel-Ridge school and
formed a caroling choir!"
Sylvia has served as our Normandy Area Chairman for
nearly 2 decades, organizing groups and providing caroling supplies. Under her guidance, the Normandy area has collected over $97,000 for our funded agencies, which include the Normandy Schools
Collaborative Student Assistance Fund.
Additionally, Sylvia serves on our Allocation Committee and as
Vice-Chairman of our Board of Trustees. We are so thankful Dorothy's legacy lives on in Sylvia!
A chance meeting leads
to a wonderful tradition!
"It was a day to remind me to slow down
and take life in."
Michelle and her son Santi with our carolers in Terminal 2 in July 2014
In 2011, the St. Louis Christmas Carols Association began a tradition of "Caroling in July" at St. Louis Lambert International Airport. In 2014, Michelle Icaza and her son, Santi, were traveling home when they happened upon our carolers.
From Michelle: "Our chance encounter was meant to be at the airport that day. It was a very sad time in my life having lost my grandfather. My Chunk of Love, Santi, was vocalizing and signing that he wanted to hear the music - Christmas music at the Airport, a place where everything seems to be rushed and hurried and scheduled! It was a day to remind me to slow down and take life in. Every year since then, the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party surfaced and so much good has come from it. "
Each year since (6 seasons and counting!), Michelle and her husband have welcomed our carolers to their Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, sharing the joy of the season with their guests and making a generous donation to support our funded charities.
Michelle and her family at their party in 2019
Kingsbury Place Singers in Ugly Christmas Sweaters
The whole party in 2018
From Maggie Steitz, Former GS leader:
Our troop has caroled for the St. Louis Christmas Carols Association at the Airport starting in 1998. The girls were only about 9 or 10 years old then. We missed a few years when they were in college. Now, some are college graduates and some are married. The young ladies liked the idea of continuing doing service together even though we were no longer a troop.
We always look forward to our time to carol at the airport.
We always brought goodies for the troops and made a stop at the USO on our way to our designated spot to carol. The girls enjoyed seeing the smiling faces and felt good about themselves doing this as a service. Some years there were more of us than other years, but we were always able to go. The weather never interfered with this service/field trip because we were indoors!!
The girls in 1998...
Over 2 decades of Girl Scout
"Caroling for a Cause"!
We usually were able to get one of the hotels near the airport to shuttle us over to the airport. Hilton did for years but the Marriott has been gracious to us too. One year, the Hilton was hosting a Christmas Party for the Christian's Home orphans and asked us if we would sing for them, too.
We did, and they treated us to a fine turkey dinner with the party participants. We even ended up on the channel five news!
I particularly like that the money stays in the area where it is collected. We have seen many changes over the years, and some years the donations
have been better than others, but we still enjoy spreading good cheer!
at Christmas in July, 2013
With a new generation of Daisies in 2017
and December 2013
in 2016 -- note the toddlers!
And last season, 2019, with a Junior troop