Sufjan Stevens - I Am Santa's Helper

Next month, Sufjan Stevens will release Silver & Gold: Songs For Christmas, another massive box set of Christmas-music EPs that seems like a joke but probably actually isn’t. We’ve already heard his massive, absurd 12-minute epic “Christmas Unicorn,” and now we’ve got another of the songs from the set. This one is called “Ding-a-ling-a-ring-a-ling,” and it’s a ramshackle and seasick blues-rock lope that is probably not destined to become a holiday standard. Download it below.

Silver & Gold: Songs For Christmas
is out 11/13 on Asthmatic Kitty.

Comments (19)
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  2. I’m going to go ahead and not listen to this and just assume based on the title that this is penis-themed. Hearing the actual song would ruin the hilarious song about penises I fancifully imagine this to be.

  3. ” seems like a joke but probably actually isn’t ” : my thoughts exactly.

  4. I don’t really think he’s “jumping the shark”. The past Christmas records have all had little rambling 1-take tunes like this. Maybe the song doesn’t warrant a post, but it’s another listen from a goofyfun set of new songs.

    • exactly. When you listen to the christmas albums you can’t expect to hear Illinois or Age of Adz.

      • ya, that’s what I was thinking….until I heard christmas unicorn.

        “christmas unicorn” is an epic song! Ha, it probably got me toooo psyched for this set. I was like: no way, electronic elements from age of adz and year of the rabit bleeding through to his new set of christmas songs?!

        and now ring-a-ling brought me back to reality. Still stoked, just not as crazy as I was after the reveal of Christmas Unicorn.

  5. As soon as I heard the line “Baby Jesus is the king-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling,” I realized what all Christmas pageants are missing.

  6. I like it. But I don’t know about the name change to Sufjam.

  7. Most of the problem with this track is that it is (or seems) totally unrehearsed. However, despite the sloppy one-off production, there’s a cute little song buried in there somewhere. I’m sure with a hundred hours of massaging, this could be very “Sujan.”

  8. Yes, it’s fun. Not world shattering, but Christmas music isn’t supposed to be. Christmas is about family. It’s about relationships. Christmas music is for singing along with in your living room while making cider and decorating the house, not playing in an opera house for hundreds of static listeners. Keep in mind that even though Sufjan is launching a Christmas Tour in a month or so, it’s being advertised as an audience participation required standing room sing-a-long concert. If Christmas music is not fun or inviting, then it’s not filling it’s purpose. If it’s taken too seriously, then the entire structure collapses.

    Note that these Christmas albums have never been produced for the general public. For better or for worse they are a project between Sufjan and his close friends that only ever see the light of public scrutiny because Sufjan isn’t a jerk that withholds things like this from his fans. But he gives no pretense that they are anything more than just a collection of annual Christmas cards between friends. There are inside jokes in here that we will never get, and a collection that we will always miss because our perspective of the songs are so far removed from the intended view (IE these are bedroom recordings of thrown together jam sessions, recorded to tape and mailed to friends and family.)

    That said, this is of course not the only other song that Sufjan has presented from the Christmas box set. He has several songs posted on his tumblr page ( that have what appear to be various songs from the set. You should all be watching that page. It’s great. In fact, the most recent entry on the page is a remix of this “Ding a Ling” song, with Busdriver rapping over it about Santa Claus. Seriously. Busdriver. This is what my family is going to listen to while we decorate our tree this year.

  9. I don’t know what you guys are talking about, I couldn’t help but smile throughout the entire song, and if that doesn’t make it awesome I don’t know what does.

  10. “Jesus is the king-a-ling-a-ling-a-ling.”

  11. Why the fuck is he wasting his time on this instead of making Impossible Soul II?

  12. I’m pretty sure at the end of the song he says: “Got it, let’s do a real song.” That might summarize what he was thinking when he laid this one down.

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