A message From Sufjan Stevens, followed by the winning entry and by a message from the AK Elves:
"Having received over 600 Christmas song entries, it became a daunting task to pick just one. I fell in love with them all. Even the songs with expletives, the songs with Christmas clichés, the many songs about ex-girlfriends, nativity scenes, snow globes and apple cider. Rummaging through these songs was an arduous and fascinating sociological project! They were all glorious, gorgeous, intimate, whimsical musical meditations on the holiday that never ceases to capture our imagination, year in and year out. A hundred million thanks to all of you who labored over these gifts of song! A hundred million holiday thanks! Oh how I wish I could choose them all! . . .
(Click more to continue reading, and on the akradio link at the top of this page to to listen to some of our favorite submissions, or here to read the category winners)
There were songs with banjos and ukuleles, songs with synthesizer strings, songs with Casio beats, techno beats, beat boxing, sugary shaker sounds and tambourines. There were songs in Latin, songs in Danish, songs in multiple key signatures, songs with vocoders, songs with Rhodes pianos, toy pianos, multiple xylophones, precious songs with Midwestern accents, sardonic songs with English accents, whistling songs, songs with wrapping paper as metaphor for an overbearing lover, songs as advice columns to Santa, as advice columns to ex-lovers, songs with reed organs and mouth organs and pipe organs. Songs with references to Henry James, in-laws, more ex-girlfriends, abstract ambient songs with twinkling bells and silver glitter, no-nonsense songs with the curmudgeon-y sneer of a Grinch, songs about innocence and forgiveness, songs about spite and regret, songs with great big bear hugs and songs with wintry gazes, songs with reminiscent, sentimental choruses, songs with the names of soccer players and American tycoons, songs with sleigh bells and happy rapping, songs with the thumping back beats of reindeer hooves, screaming children, bumbling boo hoos, bah-humbugs, songs with the beating hearts of all mankind. These were the generous songs of many creative voices participating in the convoluted mysteries of the Christmas tube sock! Yes!
Well, it was an impossible task to chose a winner, but in the end I fell most in love with one particular song because of it’s happy simplicity: Alec Duffy’s “Every Day Is Christmas.” It feels, at once, like a classic show tune, the perfect parlor song, a lackadaisical bar ballad, and a church hymn. It is unencumbered with the pejoratives and prophetic exclamations of Christmas, the most complicated of holidays. Oh sure, I continue to indulge in the Christmas blues, the heavy winter dread, the melancholy expectations of the season. And I still marvel at the sacrilege, the subversive satire, and the silly nonsense of Christmas as commodity, patterned with the cartoon characters of Charlie Brown, Santa Claus, and Rudolf. For me, the entertainment of these bi-polar fantasies will never quite fade away; they are fundamental to the mysteries of Christmas. But when it came down to it, I just wanted the simple relief of ordinary, every day love, the love between two people, the kind of love that doesn’t obligate itself to the trumpet fanfares and jingle bells of a holiday spectacle. Alec Duffy’s unfettered song “Every Day Is Christmas” summarizes this simple phenomenon with the most effortless of words and melodies, somehow making perfect sense out of a senseless holiday. Thanks, Alec, for this great gift. And Happy Christmas to you and yours!"
Alec Duffy, "Every Day is Christmas"
From the AK Staff (aka the AK Elves):
While Sufjan made the final decision, we all had the honor of listening to each submission. Though there were many (over 600 songs), we listened to each and every one with care. Not only that, but the sheer number of the songs meant that we listened to them while driving, cooking dinner, decorating Christmas trees, playing with our children, and settling in for the night. And it was an honor. These songs helped usher in Christmas in a very special way this year.
With over 40 hours of listening, we can’t even begin to tabulate the number of hours and love that went into these songs. Thank you to all who submitted.
If we could, we’d stream all of them for you. But time is a precious commodity during the holiday season, and so instead we worked with Sufjan to select the songs that were especially dear to us, quirked our interest or sense of humor, or represented a portion of the broad spectrum of songs we received. We hope you’ll enjoy listening to Alec Duffy’s superb holiday song, and find new Christmas favorites among these 36 others.