It is Dec. 24, and for the fifth year, Boston rock radio icon Oedipus will be hosting his annual Christmas Eve special on WGBH, starting at 6 p.m. Oedipus is the former program director of WBCN and he's also in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He spoke with WGBH Radio's Judie Yuill ahead of this year's special. This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Judie Yuill: Hanukkah and Christmas overlap this year. Will you be playing any songs that sort of combine the elements of both holidays?

Oedipus: Oh, absolutely. I'm so happy that Hanukkah is happening. It'll be the third night tonight, and I have all these wonderful Hanukkah songs that I can only play once in a while when both the holidays coalesce. The type of songs you'll hear this evening are the type of songs you don't hear anywhere else.

There's nothing wrong with the great classics, but they're played over and over and over again. And what I try to do is play songs that you will not hear in the mall, that you will only hear once a year, right here on WGBH.

Tonight, you're going to hear every type of music. You're going to hear in hip hop. You're going to hear rock, folk, ethereal, country, a bit of jazz. And at midnight, we go right into the Nutcracker Suite. What could be better?

Yuill: Well, that actually leads me to my next question. What would you tell someone who sort of wants to step away from the old chestnuts and just explore something different musically for the holidays?

Oedipus: Well, it's the holiday about light. It's a holiday that originated with the winter solstice. We are here at the darkest time of year and people needed light. We have the menorah. We have the tree that's aglow. In preindustrialized society, there was no electricity. It got dark. So what did people do? They celebrated the return of the light.

For six hours, I have songs that feel like Christmas, that sound like Christmas, feel like Hanukkah. That's what we're getting to. We're trying to get to the feeling of the holiday. I love Boston this time of year because people are friendlier, they smile. They let you cut in unless, of course, they're in a rush to get to the mall.

Yuill: You've been doing Christmas Eve with Oedipus for five years on WGBH, but your tradition goes back much longer than that. You've done it on Radio BDC, before that on WFNX and of course, on WBCN. And so how has this experience evolved creatively for you?

Oedipus: When I first started at WBCN, there weren't enough Christmas songs. Now I've been collecting them over the years, and now I get to select from all the greats. And some of the songs I've played in the past, like for instance, "Christmas Wrapping" by The Waitresses, I played that 1981. A great song, but it's so overplayed now I can't play it. But in '81, when I played it on white vinyl, no one had heard it. It evolves because I find new songs every year and I'll keep playing these great new songs until they become part of the genre and then they're played in the mall and then I can't play them anymore.

Yuill: What sort of feedback do you get from listeners?

Oedipus: Well, there's a number of people that always make suggestions. They make requests ahead of time. And there's some listeners that have been doing this for so long, like there's this woman who reads her Charles Dickens every Christmas Eve to the show. There's other friends who are driving down to the Cape, and that's that's what they do, they just blast the radio all the way down to the Cape.

And it's for people who are dancing around the tree, wrapping presents near the tree, or holding someone close under the tree. That's what Christmas is all about. And it's what Hanukkah is all about. Hanukkah is about light. Hanukkah is the miracle. So we can celebrate them both this evening. And I can't wait to get on the air.