Happier Holidays Part 3: The Jingle Mingle
Friends from my time living in New York City and Ithaca will recognize the title of this post.
Back when I was at NYU, some good friends threw an annual party called the Jingle Mingle. They filled up their (relatively) spacious Chinatown apartment with young, hip New Yorkers… and then invited me. The event included elaborate musical performances by bands such as the Hong Kong Supermarket Christmas Choir. It was your classic holiday party except more like the perfect, nostalgic Christmas episodes in sitcoms about friends for life.
The Jingle Mingle quickly became a yearly highlight. So when my husband and I moved to Ithaca, we kept up the tradition. Only there was one problem: we had people to mingle but no real jingle. Gone was our friend’s band The Yellow Man group who could play a mean Britney Spears on the cello.
We added a musical element back to our party by setting up a caroling gig for all the partygoers at our neighborhood’s nursing home.
All it took was some photocopied hymns for 4-part carols and a group of people willing to sing, even if badly. With some Mennonite friends to guide the harmonies, it ended up sounding pretty darn good. The residents seemed to enjoy it a lot, and we got some jingle to go with our mingle. We’ve since left Ithaca but the tradition continues there today.
Caroling can also come with a small gift. (My gift recommendation: warm socks with non-slip soles). Oh, and whoever doesn’t want to sing can and should come as Santa.
I found that year after year, starting off a holiday party with something like this brought our whole group together in a deeper and more meaningful way. It broke the ice for new people and gave us something to talk about when we headed back to the party site for gingerbread and eggnog. Plus it guarantees you never have a Christmas party without live music.
(Photo: Jingle Mingle invitation 2005.)
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