Weeks of e-mail from listeners have produced an unofficial list of loved and hated holiday songs. And it turns out you're most passionate — and most divided — about one song in particular.
Here's a hint: "perumpapum pum."
Yep, "The Little Drummer Boy."
Haans Petruschke of Kirtland, Ohio, cringes at the song, which he calls "a made-up, implausable retelling of the nativity tale," adding "I also don't like the ox and lamb keeping time. Keeping time to what? Isn't keeping time what the drummer boy is doing?"
Jinny Mason of Whatley, Mass., remembers that her nephews Asa and Axel used to have a bedtime music tape — and around Christmas would burst into tears, begging "not perumpapum pum!"
But Dorothy Burggraaf of Kansas City, Mo., is of two minds: "My most abhorred and adored holiday song is the 'Little Drummer Boy,'" she says. "I hate it because I think it's one of the most simplistic and shallow of the holiday songs, but as it happened this most abhorred became part of my most adored when I heard Bing Crosby and David Bowie in a duet."
Oh, yes. Der Bingle and Ziggy Stardust himself, together, forever, in that frozen moment from 1977, on one of Bing's holiday TV specials. YouTube, anyone?
And for Jackie Fleming of California, the song recalls one of the best times of her life.
"When my son Casey was in kindergarten each night during his bath he'd ask me to sing the song with him so he could remember the words when the class performed it for the Christmas pageant," she says. "And on the day when the night of the pageant came I searched the crowd for Casey but I couldn't find him. The the chorus started chanting... 'Broom... broommmm...' and as the curtain slowly parted Casey alone on the stage starting singing in a beautiful choir boy voice that I had never heard before. And it was one of the most surprising and delightful moments of my life. And now every year when I hear 'The Little Drummer Boy' I have my little boy back for a few moments."
There wasn't much controversy about "Christmas Time Is Here" and other music from Vince Guaraldi's dreamy, jazzy backdrop for A Charlie Brown Christmas.
From New York City, Laurie Blair writes: "I grew up in the 1960s and like many people of my age, looked forward to the annual broadcast of 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' and as a result, will always look at the saddest Christmas tree on the lot with great affection."
"I like it because it has a nice dichotomy between the world weariness of the accompaniment, plus the hope and the wonder of the season expressed through the voices of the children that sing," says Nathan Lansing of Bismarck, N.D.
People wrote in with grudging affection for Jose Feliciano's "Feliz Navidad" and to plug Adam Sandler's "Hanukkah Song," but the jury is finally in on the "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" case, and the verdict is not good:
Mary Fitzgerald of Keswick, Va., describes herself as a young and fairly new grandmother.
"What point is there during this happy and uplifting season to a song that talks about an innocent person being trampled by an animal?" she asks.
Oh, yes. Animals. Please, you told us. No barking dogs. And definitely no Jingle Cats.
Lisa Newkirk of Land-o-Lakes, Fla., put that song to great use. She started getting calls from a telemarketer in November of last year. Every single day.
"And I knew approximately what time the telemarketers would call, so I cued up the sample and when the machine connected me to the real person I clicked on play," she says, offering the caller a dose of "Jingle Bells" by a group of meowing felines.
She says the calls stopped shortly there after.
Twins Emma and Becca Freeman of Minneapolis say their favorite song is Otis Redding's version of "White Christmas."
There are many versions of the Irving Berlin classic — more than 500 in dozens of languages, according to ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. But the most famous by far is the original by Bing Crosby.
The 1947 recording is the best-selling single of all time, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, selling 50-million copies.
In the Seabrook family, it's on 78 rpm, 33 rpm, cassette tape, CD... and now on iPod.