Monday, 9 December 2013

Daze of Christmas (Day 1): Sufjan

"Look at my picture of Santa," says my six year-old holding up a smartly scarlet-suited, jolly St. Nicholas sketched out on a scrap of rectangular card.

I take a look.

"It's great," I say, releasing a smile that transfers from my face to his.

He wanders off as my daughter strikes up "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" on the piano, in preparation for tomorrow's lesson. It's hard not to sing, but I know it puts her timing off and I refrain from my refrain and hold it in.

The tree is up, tinsel and all, presents are being bought pushing up the January credit card bill and I'm wondering, perhaps more than ever, what this festival is all about.

The temptation within me is to endure the season. But, as this is my 40th Christmas, I'm keen to do some further exploration this year. In the next week or so, I'm going to try to post some of these thoughts.

I'll kick off with this.

The Christmas music of Sufjan Stevens has become the soundtrack to all things festive for me in the past few years. His work contains all the elements of kitsch, naff and sacred that mesh themselves together at this time of year. The juxtaposition of these elements create a beauty that manages to still exist in spite of the bizarre background of Christmas and all that it means.  His songs linger over the landfill landscape of stuff that no one needs or (secretly) wants setting us up for a darker new year. He sprinkles mischief, mingling with and poking fun at the meaning we have attributed to Christmas.

 In short, I like Sufjan. He's bonkers and Christmas is too.

Sufjan Stevens

Put the Lights on the Tree

Joy to the World


  1. i am intrigued....following the links to his music...
    i try to find the joy in the rubish during this season of gluttony

    ha the cartoon one is

  2. Early gifts ... Put The Lights On The Tree is delightful. I agree, Christmas can get a bit bonkers!!!

  3. I always like finding a new Christmas artist - thank you for sharing!


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