As you may or may not know by now, it's nearly Jesus' 25,000th birthday and to celebrate lots of mediocre singers are booking studio time to hurt us aurally for sinning this past year. Everyone from The Killers, to Peter Kay, to Terry bloody Wogan are queuing up to massacre some old shit or come up with their own brand of Christmas cheer. Plus, you've got old favourites like that Mariah Carey one or the one by those drunks that's mildly amusing when you too are drunk. A more recent phenomenon has resulted in the 'race for Christmas number 1' now being contested by just one person, and this year it's the turn of Alexandra Burke who came out on top last Saturday via lots of tears and a roof-raising, ear-splitting, sugar-overdose-inducing duet with Beyonce. Her version of that song from Shrek, 'Hallelujah', is a dead cert for number 1 on Sunday, but what else is about for those seeking something less, well, 'polished'?

Sufjan Stevens has released a rather lovely 5-disc boxset of Christmas songs, which features covers of old standards as well as brand new recordings. It's probably only about a tenner these days and that's pretty good value for about 40 songs, even if you will only listen to it for a few days each year (that's more then that copy of Leftism that everyone said was a classic but you've never really got).

Here's a lovely sad song called 'That Was The Worst Christmas Ever!':

And another heartbreakingly lovely one called 'Sister Winter':

Not to be outdone, Bright Eyes has also taken a slice of the yuletide cheer with his Christmas album. Here's a skeletal, nay anorexic, version of 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas':

God, who knew Christmas was so depressing? Here's something to cheer us all up...

Aw, shucks Dad.