If you haven’t yet discovered the world of Sufjan Stevens at Christmastime, welcome my friend. As it turns out, the indie-folk multi-instrumentalist is quite the Christmas enthusiast, having released one EP every year from 2001 to 2011, culminating in 100 songs shared on the albums Songs for Christmas and Silver and Gold.
These covers and original songs that total around 4.5 hours of music led to the creation of the blog A Very Sufjan Christmas, which features a fan write up for each of Sufjan’s Christmas songs, in an advent calendar style lead up to the big day. According to the blog’s creators Taylor and Kyle:
“Much like we all celebrate the holiday season in our special way, every listener has a unique connection with Sufjan’s extensive body of Christmas-based work. Maybe they’ll talk about their experience with Sufjan, or their memories attached to that one song. Maybe they’ll just write about the music itself. These songs are a window into the traditions and lives of the writer. There are few albums that have opened this many spiritual doors for this many people, and that’s why these songs must be celebrated. These are the soundtracks to Christmases past and the inner lives of music fans the world over.”
This year I had the honor of writing for Sufjan’s instrumental “Mysteries of the Christmas Mist.” You can check it out on the blog here, and read a sample below. Merry Christmas!
If Silver & Gold is the treasured Christmas party at my parent’s house, “Mysteries of the Christmas Mist” is a brief interruption from the party, stepping outside on the back porch to grab a beer for an uncle. Standing in my Mom’s gardening shoes, one size too small but the first thing in the closet, the snow on the porch nips at my heels hanging over the backs. The music and laughter inside mute when I close the door. I wouldn’t close the door at my apartment for such a short trip, but house rules don’t seem to age. It’s a simple sign of respect for the beloved brick and mortar that my childhood witnessed. The freezing air shocks my system, a sharp divergence from the rosemary and garlic brewing inside. I inhale the clean, glacial air that the winter pulls down from the Arctic, and tonight it carries fresh, white flurries and the scent of chimney smoke and Christmas dinners throughout the neighborhood. A simple string of white Christmas lights wraps the apple tree in the backyard, an ode to my mother’s minimalist design and its unobtrusive nature. The waves of cold air have already begun to build on my skin, yet I dig in the iceless cooler to grab a beer for myself, even if I don’t yet need it. Voiceless and brief, a moment of reflection, my shivering resolves as I return to the warmth, more grateful with each Christmas.