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The Viral Challenge to Avoid the ‘Little Drummer Boy’ Song Can Help Make the Holidays Harder

2 minute read

This viral challenge is a little different than most: instead of jumping on a trend and sharing content online, participants are trying to actively avoid doing something. That something, in this case: hearing the song “Little Drummer Boy,” a holiday season classic tune that is as much a part of the fabric of Christmastime as a song can be.

The “game” of avoiding the song kicks off on midnight on Black Friday, and will run through midnight on Christmas Eve, Dec. 23. (Unless you’re the group that claims the origin of the challenge, in which case they play from Nov. 1 through Dec. 26.) It’s not the first time the “Little Drummer Boy” challenge has been a thing. One group suggests they started it in the mid-1990s, with different groups going strong for many years, all filled with people making their best efforts to get out of the way of the song any time it came on. There are all kinds of rules.

One helpful blog has compiled a list of all the movies and TV shows that play the song, so that participants in the challenge can try their hardest to avoid them. The founders say the game began as an attempt to avoid a song they hated during the season, but it has morphed into something much more.

“As I’ve said many times before, the LDBC has always been a work-intensive pleasure for me because the out-and-out strangeness and stupidity of it is something I hold to be sacred,” one of the blog coordinators wrote last year. “We’ve built a community, and we rise and fall as one.” So in case you’re seeking any kind of underpinning rationale to the challenge, well, don’t. It’s just one of those internet things.

If you’re interested in joining in the fun (or not), good luck — especially if you have yet to do any department store holiday shopping.

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Write to Raisa Bruner at raisa.bruner@time.com