Cheerful ambushing

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By Jennifer Garcia

In some towns, the sound of Christmas carols being sung on your doorstep during the holiday season is commonplace. Typically, however, it’s not a tradition that Los Alamos residents engage in, unless of course, they are part of the congregation of Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church.
For the past three years, Youth Director Jennifer Griffin has led a group of about 15-20 teens in the caroling event that’s become known as “ambush” caroling. Members of TOTH congregation pay a donation of $10 (or sometimes more, if they feel like being generous) to have their friends and neighbors serenaded by Christmas carolers. Scrooges and those who will be out of town can also pay $10 or more, for “insurance,” that will ensure that the carolers take their cheer to other homes.
“It started as a fundraiser to earn money, but it’s also a way to encourage community service and have fun,” Griffin said. She said she conceived the idea of door-to-door caroling in Los Alamos from her experience growing up in Las Cruces, where she said door-to-door caroling was a common practice.
When she took over as youth pastor at TOTH, the group was looking for a way to raise funds and she wanted to share the joy of caroling with Los Alamos residents, so she formed the ambush-caroling group.
“The parishioners sign up and they can send us to ambush friends and neighbors,” Griffin said.
Currently, the group is collecting donations as well as names and addresses of those who will be
ambushed. The caroling takes place the second weekend in December.
“We’ll carol from about 3-7 p.m.,” Griffin said. “We drive all over town, then later we’ll go to someone’s house and have a Christmas party.”
The money that’s raised from the caroling goes toward providing scholarships for TOTH campers, or for weekend retreats.
“The suggested donation is $10, but parishioners donate a little more to be supportive,” Griffin said.
In addition, the group sings carols at the senior centers and Sombrillo Assisted Living Facility.
“I like having the kids all together, just being kids,” Griffin said. “Usually the kids in Los Alamos are very scheduled and organized, (but when they’re caroling), they laugh, giggle and have fun.”
The group sings just about every traditional Christmas carol one can imagine, from “Jingle Bells,” to “Silent Night.”
“It’s all about fun for them (the carolers),” Griffin said. “It’s just a crazy event for them to have fun with.”