From Why Was the Partridge in the Pear Tree?: The History of Christmas Carols by Reverend Mark Lawson-Jones:
“As winter approaches and the days get shorter and darker, the shops and streets begin to fill with Christmas decorations and lights, and before we have managed to think of cards and presents, we start hearing Christmas carols all around us — on the radio, in TV commercials and as we shop in the supermarket. Christmas carols have become part of our culture and carol services are still popular in our churches and cathedrals….
“Carols were first sung in Europe thousands of years ago, although they were pagan songs and people danced as they sang and celebrated the Winter Solstice feast, the shortest day of the year.”
From “An Offering to the Elves” in The Old Magic of Christmas by Linda Raedisch:
“[Elves] are bearers of light, so if you cannot manage a full moon for your feast, a waxing crescent is better than a waning three-quarter moon.
“They have left their usual haunts and howes in order to join you, so greet them warmly.
“You don’t know how far some of them may have come in space or time, so it’s a good idea to turn off the television and most electric lights, which the oldest of the company may find glaring. If you have a fireplace, make a fire. Otherwise, light plenty of candles.”
O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud —
It will not do to say of night,
Since dark is what brings out your light.