There are many Christmas traditions, but one that folks seem to either love or—to put it mildly—not love is Christmas music.

Love Christmas caroling? Here are 4 Houston events that still carry on the  holiday tradition

Of course, the Christmas music of today (including Alfred Burt’s “Caroling, Caroling”) is much different than its melodic ancestors: The first seasonal carols were sung to commemorate the winter solstice. One of the earliest Christmas-specific carols was “Angel’s Hymn,” which dates back to the year a.d. 129.

Christmas carols in the English language likely began around 1426 with the work of John Audelay, an English priest and poet. The 16th century, when Christmas caroling came very much into fashion, produced some of the earliest tunes still known today, including “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen” (often mispunctuated as “God Rest You, Merry Gentlemen”).

The first Christmas carol church service, in 1880, was conducted by the Rev. Edward White Benson, who went on to serve as Archbishop of Canterbury. It is believed that Benson created the service to lure people to church, as up until then, Christmas carols had been sung mainly at the pub.

The popular Christmas standards that most of us enjoy today are mostly secular songs, such as “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” which first appeared in 1780. Many of the 20 best-selling Christmas songs of all time are also some of the most profitable ever, including Gene Autry’s “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” One song—“Last Christmas,” a pop confection by 1980s duo Wham!—even inspired a movie.

At the top of the charts, though, sits Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas,” the all-time best-selling music single, with over 50 million copies sold! (Carey’s “All I Want” is #11, with 16M sold.)

There’s more to celebrate after Thanksgiving than just Christmas, like Cider Monday (yes, we said “cider”)—tomorrow!—when you should buy local! (Well, more than usual, we would hope.)

In December, you won’t want to miss National Candy Cane Day. Check out everything that you should know about December.

Most Americans buy or cut their Christmas tree soon after Thanksgiving. The trick to keeping a live tree … well … alive throughout the season is water! Learn how to care for your fresh Christmas tree.

Speaking of evergreens, have you put your garden to bed for the winter?

After you come in from the cold, warm up and celebrate the season with some Traditional Wassail.

Finally, the next Full Moon is tomorrow—Monday, November 30! Learn how to spot the Full Beaver Moon and the origins behind its unusual name.

As certain as the Sun will rise and set each day (and it will—we promise!), we are here for you, now and always.

Your Friends from The Jackson Press and The Old Farmer’s Almanac

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