One of my happiest childhood memories is of standing around the piano, singing, while my mom played Christmas carol after Christmas carol. It was such a happy, peaceful time, and because of it, I also know all the words to at least three (if not more) verses to all the major Christmas carols, too.
I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but despite the fact that my mom is a classical pianist, and the fact that I have degrees in music performance (cello), my own piano skills are ... lacking.
However, we live in a house that came furnished with a piano, and this summer my mom found these two vintage Christmas carol books at a used bookstore for me. So I decided to start working on my piano skills, with the hope of creating similar happy memories for my own children.
The red book is from 1942 and is in 4-part choral arrangements, so it's above my ability level. However, the white one (from the late 70's) is easy. So I began fumbling through "The First Nowell" a few weeks ago. I made myself a goal to become proficient at one song at a time, and move on to as many as I was able by Christmas.
So far, "The First Nowell" has been learned and polished, and I'm pleased with how it sounds, so I moved on to "Good King Wenceslas" on Thanksgiving. I'm becoming fluent with that now, too, so I've begun learning "Coventry Carol", which is a little harder for me. I'm excited about my progress, though, and doubly pleased about the (perhaps not-so-) surprising benefit of having my children see me practice and improve at something that I haven't always done. (Most of the things I "do" were learned before they were born, so they haven't really had the opportunity to see me learn something so new.) It's a good example for Elisabeth with her own cello practice, as well as just being a life lesson that I hope they learn during their time home with me.
And, now we can enjoy (a few) Christmas carols sung around the piano, just like when I was a girl.