Transcribed by Christopher Rath
It has been my family's tradition to gather together to sing carols, visit, and eat Christmas cookies on the 4 Advent Sundays preceding Christmas. My parents began doing this when I, their firstborn child, was only a couple of years old and we continue to gather today, 40-odd years later, with children, grand-children, and family friends. For many years we used carol broadsheets printed by the local newspaper publisher; however, these proved to be of variable quality and when our favourite set of carol sheets began to deteriorate I took up the task of creating carol books for the family.
I have compiled commonly sung Christmas carols (i.e., the ones I like) and put them together into booklet form. I have posted the fruit of my labours here in the hope that others will also find it useful. Although all of the words to the carols contained in the carol book are believed to be in the public domain, the resulting collection is copyrighted (not-for-profit use is specifically permitted). Note, some familiar Christmas songs (like "Frosty The Snowman", "Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer", etc.) are not in the compilation due to copyright restrictions.
There are a three different sets of carol sheets linked below: one current version and two older ones. The LaTeX set is the most out of date but does contain overhead transparency masters which are not contained in the more recent archive.
For an excellent history of the Christmas carol I heartily recommend a document on the Oxford University Press website: Introduction to The Shorter New Oxford Book of Carols. The Oxford University Press website also contains free sheet music for a number of carols.
The primary source of copyright dates and lyrical authorship for the carols was “The Book of Common Praise”, ©1938, published by the Anglican Book Centre, Toronto, Canada. Supplementary materials used were: “The Oxford Book of Carols”, ©1928 (Twelfth impression 1943), published by Oxford University Press; “Songs of Christmas”, a carol broadsheet printed each year by The Ottawa Citizen newspaper; The English Folksongs Archive; The Oxford University Press Christmas Music Home Page; The Hymns and Carols of Christmas; and, “Christmas, 100 Seasonal Favourites”, ©1992, published by Hal Leonard Publishing Corp.