A few tips:

  1. Use of ear plugs and ear buds with music on is legal. Although some folks like to play bare-back and walk headlong into Home Depot, avoiding hearing the song by drowning it out fair game.
  2. Every year, moms or a random commercial on TV knock out the most players.
  3. Avoid shopping . . .
  4. Traveling? Beware of airports, airport shuttles, airport bars, and
  5. It’s okay to ask your taxis/Uber/Lyft to turn off the radio; the customer is always right.
  6. Turn off your radio. And your TV.
  7. Do not station surf on your radio! Control your surroundings. Scanning is the spawn of the devil.
  8. If you hear it but your friend/partner does not,  do not yell, “OH SHIT WE’RE OUT!” Let your friend/partner stay oblivious and alive. If you feel anxious about their awakening, consider “jumping on the grenade” by clasping your hands over their ears and vacating the store immediately.
  9. If you dream it you are not out, unless you are playing at some Jedi-cheetah level.
  10. Pro tip: Before you tell anyone exactly what the game is, reinforce how serious it is to you. “I play a game with my friends to not hear a certain Xmas song.” They will ask “what song?” “Before I tell you the song, I want you to know I take this game seriously, and if you sing it, or play it, I will be out for the year and will bring shame upon my family. Maybe even you.”  They will ask “what song?!” The next thing you say requires either a lot of trust of the people around you (even strangers listening in!), or strategy. Probably both.  If you say the correct name of the song, there’s a 70/30 chance you will be knocked out in the next 2 minutes. Someone will inevitably go, “Oh, you mean…” and hum it, and you will be out, and upset with yourself.

    One strategy I have learned from playing the game for over 20 years is the next thing you say when they ask “what song?” is not the name of the actual song. You say something like “Grandma Got Run Over By the Reindeer” which is so atrocious*, no on will doubt you. Let things play out for the next two minutes. You will quickly realize where your danger lies and who is going to sabotage you, or mess up and sing some of it. Once things settle down, and you let them know “Well mom, that would have gotten me out, if it was the actual song…” you can consider telling them the real song. I have refrained from telling friends the real song who I felt I could not trust.

  11. Pro-pro-tip: Don’t tell anyone you are playing unless you absolutely have to. ;^)

*  There is a side game to try and avoid this song as well; I honestly think it’s as bad as LDB.