You lose two or three days to illness, and then it's such a stretch to catch up during a busy time at the paragraph factory that blogging lapses. And now, even though no one called out, "Shane! Come back," you return to the keyboard to examine the Christmas spirit with a question:

What is the most odious Crhistmas song?

To simplify the investigation, we'll narrow the field. Omit hymnody and Christmas carols. (Perhaps, like me, you are relieved when Advent ends and takes with it the interminable "O come, Emmanuel," but we won't go there.) Likewise leave out the merely fatuous, like "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." 

What we want is some modern, popular composition that, when it assaults you in the grocery or the mall, provokes a visceral reaction. We want to know not only what you identify as odious, but also why you label it thus. 

My nominee, you will have surmised, is "The Little Drummer Boy," for several reasons. The first is that the basic theme, the gift of a child to the Christ child, was done previously, and better, by Christina Rosetti's "In the Bleak Midwinter," and without any annoying onomatopoeia (those twenty-one "rum pum pum pums").

Moreover, the setting by Gustav Holst is more melodic than the dirge-like monotony of "Drummer Boy," which, when it starts, leaves you knowing that you are going to be stuck with it for some time. 

Add to that the dangerous subliminal suggestion to children that it would be a good thing to have a drum. 

A close second would be "The Twelve Days of Christmas." I said no carols, but this exception can be made because what we hear endlessly this season is a twentieth-century arrangement of the tune.

I incautiously turned on the car radio on my way to work yesterday, and there it was, with a symphony orchestra having been engaged and a choir assembled that dwarfed those massive Victorian ensembles that weighed down Handel's Messiah" and turned it to sludge. 

"Twelve Days" also bears collateral responsibility for that asinine annual Associated Press story about the cost of the gifts. 

There you have it: two excellent nominees for the most odious Christmas music. Now, your turn.