Children At Christmas

Children really take an active role in the preparations of Christmas. Caroling is a very strong tradition in England and it is a method many children use to earn money for the Christmas presents they buy.
One of the very favorite traditional songs that children sing is the “ha’-penny” song. Ha’-Penny (pronounced hey-penny) comes from the English coin the Half Penny. Since it is such a small unit of currency the half-penny is rarely used these days. In fact, in my hometown of Liverpool, the locals call half-pennies “funny money” and many shop owners will not even accept them as payment.
The song goes:
Christmas is coming
the Goose is getting fat.
Please put a penny in the old man’s hat.
If you haven’t got a penny
a ha’-penny will do.
If you haven’t got a ha’-penny
then God bless you.
This song speaks of charity. Much of the money collected from carol night will be given to charity. Now that I am older, I love to hear carolers. My youngest son knows this and on the occasional Christmas he will come around with his guitar and play some of my favorite carols. He doesn’t expect any money of course but he is never one to turn down a beaker of hot cider or wassail.
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