SHARE THE JOY
Welcome to the St. Louis Christmas Carols Association website!
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,
can be done in your own neighborhood,
or one of our public venues!
allows you to give back to your community
by helping children in our area
with the donations collected.
Why We Carol
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 return 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
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!
Commenting about how busy the holidays can be, she 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
music and costumes.
What a special gift -
we are so thankful!
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!
"I know that if we carol, it will be magical. It just always is."
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...
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 of them 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!!
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 that it is collected.
We have seen many changes over the years, and some years the donations have been better than others.
We still enjoy spreading good cheer!
The girls in 1998...
. . . with a new generation
of Daisies in 2017!
. . . in 2016 -
note the toddlers!
And last season, 2019, with a Junior troop!
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.
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.