Name That Carol

If you like Christmas music, enjoy audio editing, if you’ve always wanted to host your own game show, or just have an extra appendage, then you’ll be deeply fond of Name That Carol.

Name That Carol is like Name That Tune only instead of using good music, you use Christmas music.

Name That Carol is a game I’ve created. While it hasn’t won any awards or gotten me a date, it has wasted hours of my life and cost me several of my closest friends.

It’s a game that’s great for the whole family or at parties where you desire to have some “forced fun.”


What you’ll need:

  • Christmas Trivia Questions
  • Christmas Music
  • Numbers corresponding to the collection of Christmas carol clips.
  • Two game boards resembling the month of December.
  • Writing utensils
  • Lots of free time.
  • No shame.


Participants are divided into two teams.  One person acts as a host.  The host should be the smartest and handsomest person in the room and sober.

Each teams starts (on the game board) on December 1st and tries to reach December 25th (which is incidentally Christmas Day) before the other team. 


Correctly answering a Christmas trivia question advances a team one day.  Correctly identifying a Christmas carol advances a team two days.  Attaching mistletoe to your belt buckle and hollering “who wants to kiss me under the mistletoe?” advances that person outside.

To begin game play, the host asks a trivia question.  Any player on either team can answer the question.  All the player has to do is shout out the answer.  If this method sounds chaotic that’s because it is chaotic.  What would the holidays be without chaos?

The host allows play to continue until the question is answered or until they get bored.  If neither team can answer the question (remember, there are an awful lot of stupid people in the world), the host retires the question and moves on.

If an answer is provided, the team that provided the answer advances one day and now has the opportunity to Name That Carol.

The player who correctly answered the question draws a number from a hat (or a boot, or a box, or a bowl, but not from a sack, because sacks are dumb).  The number drawn should correspond to an audio clip of a Christmas carol.


The host plays the clip for the team that correctly answered the Christmas trivia question.  The host can play the clip as many or as few times as they wish.  At this time, the host can also tickle anyone player from the opposing the team for seven and half seconds.

Any member of the team can try to Name That Carol, but the team gets only one guess.  If a member of the team succeeds in naming the carol, the team advances two days. 

If the team fails, then the opposing team has an opportunity to Name That Carol.  If they Name That Carol they advance two days.


After a team successfully Names That Carol, or if neither team successfully Names That Carol, the host asks another trivia question and the whole thing starts over again until a team advances to (or past) December 25th.

In order for a team to claim victory, they must finish their championship run by correctly Naming That Carol.  Otherwise, a team could answer 25 trivia questions and win without ever Naming That Carol—that wouldn’t be good.

If a team has advanced to (or past) December 25th, but fails to Name That Carol, play continues until they Name That Carol… or until the eggnog runs out, whichever comes first.


The Music

You obviously need some Christmas music on your computer’s hard drive to play Name That Carol. 

If you don’t, hopefully you have a several Christmas music CD’s available.  If you do you’ll need to rip them to your computer’s hard drive. 

If you don’t have a program that rips CD’s or you’ve never ripped a CD or your name is Dottie Callahan, I would recommend using ITunes.  It’s free and easy to use.  You can download Itunes here.

If you have no Christmas music whatsoever, (first of all what in the hell is wrong with you) there are some website where you can download Christmas music: Free Christmas Music and Christmas

While instrumental Christmas music can be used, I would recommend Christmas songs with vocals.  I would also recommend popular and well-known Christmas music.

Let’s skip ahead and assume you have 20 plus Christmas carols on your hard drive and you find me nominally sexy in a Santa hat.  The next thing you’re going to need to do is create clips of those Christmas carol.

Obviously, you’ll need an audio editing program.  Most computers come with such a program, of course mine didn’t.   But what do you expect when you buy a computer out of the back of an El Camino from a guy with fingerless gloves.

I used a program called Audacity.  It’s a nice little editor and more importantly it’s free.  You can download Audacity here.


Creating the Clips

When creating clips for Name That Carol, you can make them as hard or as easy as possible.  Generally, the longer the clips the easier it is for participants to identify (that’s what she said). 

I have a hundred clips and they vary in length.  A few are a second long and a few are more than five seconds long.  Most clips though are about two to three seconds long.

I think Name That Carol is interesting when it’s focused on the carol’s melody and not on the recording.  Meaning, all my clips contain singing. 


I use two tricks when creating a clip.  One, is I’ll take the last word or two of a line and the first word or two of the next line.  This is a good technique for popular Christmas carols because it makes identifying the song more of a challenge.

My other trick is to use the second or two prior to the singer singing the song’s title.  This method works well for Christmas songs that are well known but not top-ten popular.  However, many Christmas songs start with the song’ title and really never have lyrics proceeding, so it doesn’t work for every song.

If using instrumental Christmas music, I would just use the part of the song that corresponds to the song’s title.  Remember, most people don’t know Christmas music as well as we know Christmas music.

For my version, I also create a longer clip of the song containing the song’s title.  I play that afterwards so participants can here the song they were asked to name.  While this adds to your workload, it’s eliminates arguments and protests, like when your aunt with boundary issues and a moustache swears “O Holy Night” is actually “Silent Night.”

I save the clips and name them with a number and a letter.  The number will correspond to the number drawn out of a hat (see how it’s all coming together) and the letter is for future expansion.  After you and your family have played it for a while, you can make the “B” clips harder or you can make “B” clips easier if you have young children playing.


I save the songs clips in a different folder.  I begin their name with the corresponding letter and number, and then I add the full title. 

In both the clips and the songs ID3 file, I include the song title.



I save my clips into a folder called “clips.”  That’s not too esoteric is it?

I save the longer clips, the clips that have the song’s title in them, in a folder called “Songs.”  I paid a consultant thousands of dollars to devise those names.

In a third folder, I have a clipped called bah-humbug. I click on that when people fail to indentify a carol.  It’s my favorite part of the game.

When playing the game, I have all three folders opened.  Additionally, I have my media player opened as well.  I use Window’s Media Player. 

You’ll want to make sure that all your files automatically open in media player you’re using, if not I will hunt you down and punch you in the neck.

With everything you need on your screen, it’s easy as fruitcake to host Name That Carol.


Trivia Questions

I use Christmas trivia questions from a game called “Trivia By The Pound Christmas Edition” (I received it one year as a gift). 

I’m sure you can compile Christmas trivia from the internet, although I’ve found trivia question harder to come by on the web than music. 

If I was to spend any money on Name That Carol, I would spend it on trivia and not Christmas music. 


Final Notes

I use a variety of traditional and new Christmas music.  Bing Crosby’s Christmas music is the best since most of his versions are standards.  Some contemporary artists, at least in my opinion, muck up Christmas songs.

You can stretch your Christmas music collection by using the same song twice.  You’ll just have to get creative when editing that second clip.

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