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Monday, December 16, 2013

Winter warblers: One of the more annoying aspects of the holiday season

We hope the owners of this home on Murray Lane, Annandale, like carolers.
By Robert Schwaninger

There is something you should consider each year before you put up your Christmas lights. A holiday-lit house attracts carolers. Just like a porch light in summer brings annoying moths and window-beating June bugs, lights on trees in winter will attract small flash mobs of carolers who will descend upon your front lawn and begin bellowing at your door.

These events always happen at the worst times. You’ve just changed clothes and are now sitting around in your most comfortable outfit, complete with holes in the backside and stains on the front, and these muffler-coated, do-gooders begin their harassment. They can see your shadow through the curtain and the flash of the television so they know you’re in there. 

This situation is not too different from a hostage situation. In fact, sometimes the leader of the carolers is actually carrying a bullhorn. But the carolers’ job is to get you off your butt and come to the door. They will then try to get you to open the door because they are dressed for 10-degree weather and it’s fun to watch you turn blue while they do a third chorus of “Deck The Halls.”  Their gift to you is bad harmony and a nice case of pneumonia.

 And in exchange for this interruption in your nightly downtime, you get to give them money.  This is because many caroling groups are collecting for some cause. You have no idea what the cause is and for all you know you just gave them a couple of bucks to save the Bolivian snotbird, or to have Donald Trump’s hair declared a historical landmark. But however it looks or sounds in its rosiest of settings, this is a shakedown.

 The real threat comes if you don’t have any small bills. First, they ain’t making change and they don’t take credit cards, so what happens if your wallet has only tens and twenties in it? You’re stuck and have to give them at least ten bucks. Since they didn’t expect such generosity, they act very pleased and to show their appreciation, they are going to sing more carols, just for you. By the time they’re done, you’re colder than Ted Williams’ head.

Since the thing that caroling most resembles is a kind of telemarketing, which also occurs at the worst times of day, I’ve devised a plan of action. I have contacted the Federal Trade Commission to see if we can come up with a new prohibition like the “do not call” list. This would be the “do not carol” list to protect unwitting homeowners from a phalanx of trespassing holiday hollerers. 

Violators of the “do not carol” list would be forced to watch every Christmas movie on the Hallmark Channel, which is roughly akin to eating a five-pound bag of sugar and a gallon of maple syrup. They would then be rounded up and together the group would have to sing “Little Drummer Boy” 100 times in a row. That’s about ten thousand “rumpas” and another twenty thousand “pums.” There isn’t enough aspirin in the world to take away that headache.

 Until our nation’s lawmakers help out, there is little you can do to protect yourself, short of putting up an eight-foot-tall menorah on your lawn. And even that might not work. Some of these marauding merrymakers know the “Dreidel Song,” which is only matched in lousy use of repetitive lyrics by “Hey Jude.” 

So, like every other obligatory holiday horror, maybe there is no escape.  But remember, it all starts with hanging Christmas lights outside your house. Maybe burning Santa in effigy would do the trick.


  1. I wish I would get carolers. :-(

  2. We have a group of carolers in our neighborhood. We are never asking for money or anything. Haven't gotten booed or shooed away yet.

  3. Robert Schwaninger, you sound like such a Grinch!

  4. This has got to be one of the most mean-spirited things I have read in a long time.