It used to be the case, at this time of year, that strangers would appear on your doorstep rattling a cash tin and singing about the trials and tribulations of Good King Wenceslas. A Christmas custom as traditional as mince pies and mulled wine.
Not so much any more.
Of course, we still have carol singers, especially in churches. You also see organised groups of people in shopping centres, often collecting money for charity. They’re holding lanterns and candles, and doing descants and everything as they demand their figgy pudding. But the home-visiting kind? Rare.
I’m not nostalgic for them. If some chancing children turn up at my front door bleating We Wish You A Merry Christmas, they might get a mince pie. But unless they’ve bothered to learn the words to an entire Christmas carol and perform it in four-part harmonies, I am not giving them any money.
Perhaps post-millennials know this outlook is widely shared, which is why they don’t do home-visit carol singing any more.
Or perhaps they’ve all gone wassailing in the orchards instead. Goodness knows, we’ll need a good apple harvest in the coming year.