In some ways, the mission of recording a Christmas EP every year is almost as conceptually audacious as Stevens' Fifty States Project, given how few seasonal songs are worthy of interpretation. Thus, Songs for Christmas contains a lot of repetition, another method by which to chart the progress of Sufjan as performer and arranger. For instance, you won't be surprised to find the melancholy "O Come O Come Emmanuel" appearing three times in this box, but each version at least attempts variety: A recorder and banjo Ren-fair take, and two solo piano versions (separated by three years) that are testimony to Stevens' development as a producer. Similarly, "Once in Royal David's City", obscure enough to be a hymnal B-side, is transformed from a fireside jam session on the first disc into a gorgeous reverb-laden music-box variation on the fifth. -Pitchfork Magazine

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