Remember the days when you bundled up in your warmest winter wear, huddled with friends and went caroling door-to-door to spread some off-key but well-intentioned holiday cheer?

You may not have that kind of time anymore, and it does raise a question: Do you know your neighbors well enough to show up on their doorstep, belting out "Frosty the Snowman"?

Fortunately, if you don't have the time or the Christmas spirit, students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will come to the rescue. Now through Dec. 16, anyone can call the Dial-a-Carol hotline at (217) 332-1882 and request a holiday tune. Students at Snyder Hall, a university residence hall, answer the phones 24/7, taking requests for Christmas favorites including "Rudolph," "Jingle Bells" (traditional or rock version) and dozens more. They also keep a "Mariah-o-Meter" for the number of requests they get for her glitzy, "All I Want for Christmas Is You."

This year, the phones have been ringing off the hook! According to their Facebook page, the singers have already surpassed last year's request record, with several days to go. (For you procrastinators, the service is available through 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday.)

Dial-A-Carol was created in December 1960 by an office secretary and residents of Snyder Hall who wanted to spread holiday cheer around campus. The program is held for seven days during finals week each December. Last year, students sang more than 6,800 carols to callers from around the world.

If you request some little-known carol that the students don't know, you'll still get your wish. Thanks to the magic of the Internet, they'll just look it up and play it for you.

Mary Jo DiLonardo covers a wide range of topics focused on nature, health, science and anything that helps make the world a better place.

Shake off the bah-humbugs with Dial-a-Carol
Need holiday cheer? Call Dial-a-Carol 24/7 for a festive boost.