(Photo: Bettman/Getty Images)

As the tendrils of Black Friday Madness slowly loosen their grip on shoppers everywhere, and turkey is hastily returned to its normal position in the hierarchy of sub-standard meats, we’re left with a sense of dawning dread at the approach of the bleakest season of the year: Christmas Music Month. Yes, the span of wintry days in which it’s legally mandatory to blast America’s malls, airwaves, and children with all the renditions of “Jingle Bells,” Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” and “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” that the human psyche can contain is now upon us, led by that rhythmic horseman of the musical apocalypse, “The Little Drummer Boy.”

For a few years now, Michael Alan Peck and friends have organized an event based entirely around its players’ ability to dodge that drum-tapping little shit, as he becomes increasingly prevalent during the month of December. The rules of The Little Drummer Boy Challenge are simple: If you hear the song—any version, from Bowie and Bing to Ru Paul or Phil Collins—you’re out, no excuses, no questions asked. The goal is to maintain a sense of fair play, though; no Rickrolling (drumrolling?) other players by tricking them into hearing the song, and no using social media to badger musicians to include or remove it from playlists in an effort to game the system.

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There’s an official TLDBC reporting system where players can log their successes and failures; meanwhile, the game is already afoot, having kicked off at 12:01 this morning, and lasting until midnight on December 23 (or until you get puh-rum-pum-pum-pum’ed out of consideration somewhere along the way).

Be safe out there, folks. He’s everywhere.