Get Behind Me, Santa! CHRISTMAS

Get Behind Me, Santa! CHRISTMAS
Photo: Denny Renshaw
The Christmas album is a ubiquitous holiday tradition, and most are like stocking stuffers: forgettable petroleum-product wastes forgotten before mid-January. But Sufjan Stevens’ yuletide offerings ⎯ he’s done an annual EP since 2001, now collected in the beautiful five-disc box Songs For Christmas ⎯ turn out to be the exception. Approaching Christmas with the same eye to authenticity and detail that he might, say, the state of Rhode Island, Stevens offers well-researched traditionals (taking carols back to their centuries-old roots) and a bunch of enthusiastic, catchy and delightful originals, like "Did I Make You Cry On Christmas Day? (Well, You Deserved It!)” Add in a sing-along book (with chord changes), short stories and stickers and it’s a delightful package perfect for that lovely but difficult to buy for person on your list. For that relative you really dislike, try Twisted Sister’s pointless and execrable Twisted Christmas.