An open letter to Anna McPhee, CEO of the Retail Council, proposing Rest-Of-The-Year Carols

Dear Ms McPhee,

As you are no doubt aware, Christmas is upon us. Your members’ halls are decked, shopping trolleys are overflowing with gifts-to-be, and the paywave stations are chirping their gay little melodies under a steady stream of Visa, MasterCard and Eftpos transactions.

But above all, this is the time of year when shoppers are serenaded with the comforting refrains of the same fifteen Christmas Carols on non-stop rotation. Oh, what a joy to be alive!

But Hark! What be yonder shadow on the horizon? ‘Tis the 26th of December, that dreadful day on which Carols are banished until the following October or late September.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

We have composed a songbook of Rest-Of-The-Year Carols, which combine the familiar tunes of Christmas Carols with the uncharitable, non-festive spirit of Rest-Of-The-Year. Some examples are included at the end of this letter.

We strongly recommend that your members play these carols on non-stop rotation during the nine months of the Rest-Of-The-Year season. In addition to the comforting predictability this would provide, our modelling indicates this will increase customer satisfaction and improve retailer returns by anywhere from 3 to 8%. It is, as they say, a “no brainer”.

We trust you will address this matter without any need for us to involve the Board, or the Ombudsman. Until our demands are met, however, we will not shop in any of your members’ stores, and we will encourage all Australians to purchase their goods directly from wholesalers or through the barter system that will naturally emerge in the resulting chaos.

Yours festively,


Good King Wenceslas (in the economically responsible sense of the word)
Good King Wenceslas looked out, one night in October
As he gorged his face with trout, not remotely sober,
Seven ducks had he consumed, stuffed with pork and veal
When a poor man came in view, pleading for a meal

“Hither, page, and stand by me, see yon beggar bleating?
Move him on immediately, with nought but a beating,
Think he this be Christmas night? Some benign occasion?
Charity’s no year-round right, nor my obligation.”

Oh, Normal Night!
O normal night! The stars, of course, are shining,
It is a night just the same as the last.
Late home from work, again you’re TV dining,
You wash your plate, and the night’s almost passed.
You plan some time for rest and relaxation
Then spend it scrolling through your Facebook feed
Fall into bed! And dream about your workday!
O night just fine, o night, like nights before.
O night benign! O night, o normal night.

We Wish You A Pleasant Weekend
We wish you a pleasant weekend
We wish you a pleasant weekend
We wish you a pleasant weekend
Now the weekdays are through

How was your weekend?
Yes ours were good too
We wish you a pleasant weekend
Now the weekdays are through

On Monday we will be asking
On Monday we will be asking
On Monday we will be asking
How was your weekend?

Oh tell us about your weekend
Oh tell us about your weekend
Oh tell us about your weekend
Was it good? Ours were too.

Santa Claus is (Clinically) Down
The sky is pitch black
It’s bitterly cold
He’s looking all of twelve hundred years old
Santa Claus is feeling run down
He’s working all night
But nobody cares
The children have all forgotten he’s there
Santa Claus is wearing a frown

He’s crying for no reason
He stays in bed till four
His back is stuffed from making toys
But he needs a billion more

He’s over tin horns
And little toy men
He’s turned to self-medicating again
Santa Claus is (clinically) down

The 353 Days of Rest-Of-The-Year
The world’s most beloved Christmas carol is also the world’s most beloved Rest-Of-The Year carol, and in keeping with the Rest-Of-The-Year spirit, your true love gives you... nothing. (Except on Valentine’s Day, where you get some cheap flowers and box of chocolates.)

The duration of this song is given by


Duration(i = 1)  7 seconds + 5 seconds (“On the first day of Rest-Of-The-Year my true love gave to me” + “a nothing in a nothing”)
Duration(i > 1)  Duration(i–1) + 5 seconds (if i %10 = 5 and i%100 != 15) (“five golden nothings”)
Duration(i–1) + 2 seconds (all other cases)

Assuming you don’t lose your place, this yields a total running time of 1 day, 16 hours, 16 minutes and 59 seconds — which fits conveniently on 33 audio CDs!