If you haven't heard of Sufjan Stevens yet, you should get on your horse... but if you have, you'll understand why I haven't stopped listening to his Christmas CD box set since 1 December. I would give him credit for being the most influential and best singer/songwriter of the 00's. I'd also say his album Illinoise is the most influential of the 00's. Big call, but I'll stick by it.
Over the last few years he has recorded very low-fi christmas albums for his friends, and last year he put them all out as a box set. It is an amazing, charming and suitably cathartic collection of songs. Just perfect with a glass of fizzy red soda on Christmas eve.
Go to you tube and look him up. For some christmas cheer, listen to "Put the Lights on the Tree" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYQFeZFLyM4), and for a beautiful arrangement, "O Come thou Font of Every Blessing" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1bSlS6OWTs)
photo: Sufjan promo shot