...any shop playing a traditional Christmas carol.
For my sins I've spent several hours over recent days in central Birmingham doing my Christmas shopping and we thought it would be fun to play "I spy (/hear)" and win a point for every Christmas carol we heard being played, whether live or recorded as we mooched around the stores. I didn't consider songs about giving my heart last Christmas or Santa Claus coming to town to be Christmas carols though I only heard each of these once, and am astonished to report that our running carol total to date is therefore - zero.
It struck me a few years ago how musically illiterate our children are growing up to be, when I set up a miniature orchestra for our church's talented young string, brass and woodwind players to accompany the Nine Lessons and Carols service. They complained could I give them something easier to play as they didn't know "songs" like O little town of Bethlehem. On reflection, I shouldn't be surprised - if our carol heritage is no longer heard anywhere at Christmas, except perhaps in church on Christmas morning, why should we expect future generations to recognise them? And is it only Birmingham where Christmas is a totally carol free zone, or is this complete absence of festive music noted elsewhere too?