Sign Language Christmas Songs and Carols

Top 4 Christmas Carol ASL Resources

Christmas carols are a traditional highlight of the holiday season, no more so than for those with a hearing impairment. It can bring together families fluent in American sign language (ASL) while encouraging friends and loved ones to take part in a unique form of musical expression.

People who are deaf and hard-of-hearing are fortunate to have a growing library of Christmas carols available through commercial and non-commercial websites. Some show you exactly how the songs are performed, while others offer step-by-step glosses (ASL translations of words and signs but without real-time instruction).

Learning How to Sing in ASL

Singing in ASL is almost like a dance or visual art. It is a full-body activity which aims to impart of an instinctive understanding of the rhythm, harmony, and vast emotional range of the musical arts.

ASL works especially well with Christmas carols, bringing new meaning to the text for both those signing the music and others participating in voice. It gives children a tangible way to interact with the song while teaching them the subtlety and full range of expression of ASL in their performances.

Here are five great resources to help launch a new tradition in your family.

ASLBible.com

ASLBible.com is a free online resource that offers full-screen Flash video files with captions and signing instruction. An IOS mobile app is also available that allows you to view the files on your iPhone or iPad.

The ASLBible song list includes the following traditional carols:

  • "Away in a Manger"
  • "The First Noel"
  • "Joy to the World"
  • "Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel"
  • "Oh Come, All Ye Faithful"
  • "Silent Night"

ASL-Christmas-Carols.com is an online store that offers four musical instructional DVDs centered around religious or patriotic themes.

Among them is a DVD of Christmas carols entitled "A Silent Night: Christmas Carols in ASL," which includes visual instruction as well as a slow-motion option for those just learning to sign.

The DVD is also available on Amazon. Among the included songs:

  • "The First Noel"
  • "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing"
  • "Joy to the World"
  • "Oh Come, All Ye Faithful"
  • "Silent Night"
  • "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"
  • "Ave Maria"

The YouTube channel operated by airplanepilot18 has compiled some really nice, homemade Christmas carol videos in ASL. Like YouTube itself, the videos vary in quality and approach, but, as a free site, it's a great place to start.

Best yet, there are a couple of modern songs included among the more traditional tunes. The playlist includes:

  • "All I Want for Christmas Is You"
  • "Oh, Holy Night"
  • "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"
  • "Oh Come, All Ye Faithful"
  • "Christmas Shoes"

More

Funnyman Bob Hillerman has made a name for himself by making signing fun. His novel approach has earned him the National Parenting Center's Seal of Approval as well as recommendations from the Library Journal, the School Library Journal, and L.A. Parent Magazine.

Hillerman's brashly titled "Shut Up and Sign Holiday Sign Songs" DVD pays evidence to his technique, infusing an air of exuberance into the often staidly performed Christmas carols.

The DVD can be purchased both on Hillerman's website and on Amazon. The playlist is rather thin but teaches children and adults how to perform, rather than just do, the songs. It is well worth the list price.

The playlist is comprised of the following classics:

  • "Silent Night"
  • "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"
  • "Jingle Bells"

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