It’s very easy: So long as you don’t hear “The Little Drummer Boy,” you’re a contender. As soon as you hear it on the radio, on TV, in a store, wherever, you’re out. And you record your loss on the official reporting form, then tell us all about it on the Facebook wall, along with the time and place of your demise.
Special notes: You cannot be done in by anyone tricking you into hearing the dreaded tune or otherwise hitting you with it on purpose. Such exposure doesn’t count. In fact, it causes the “Hoist with His Own Petard” rule to come into play: the person who tries to take you down is officially eliminated for the attempt. Don’t let them try to tell you they’re not playing. We’re all playing, and they’ve lost. Bullies need to go down in flames and shame.
Also, new for 2017 is the “Won’t Somebody Think of the Musicians?” rule. You cannot terrorize musicians in an attempt to de-Boy their set lists ahead of a concert you’re attending. It’s very cool of Aimee Mann, Randy Newman, Jeff Tweedy, and Lo Moon to do WFUV’s Holiday Cheer benefit concert, for instance. Please don’t harass them on Twitter, say, to make them promise that they won’t play the dreaded tune. It confuses and annoys the players and violates the spirit of the game. OK, I’ll get down off my pedestal now.
What’s the time frame? The game begins the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday) at 12:01 am local time and continues until midnight, Dec. 23. If you haven’t been puh-rum-pum-pum-pummed, you win. For this year, anyway.