News And Notes
Dec 23

Justin Moore, Carrie Underwood: Christmas Time’s A-Comin’

Justin Moore photo by Kristin Barlowe, courtesy of The Valory Music Co.

Wrapping gifts. Spending time with the kids. Baking cookies. Eating cookies.

If you’re doing any of that today, then you’re spending the holiday season much like some of your favorite stars. Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Justin Moore, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood — they’ve all got their traditions, just like you. Whether it means breaking open the eggnog or hiding presents, here’s what some of country music’s artists are thinking, planning or remembering at Christmas:

Taylor Swift: “I’m sort of obsessed with Christmas. I love Christmas. I wish it were all year-round, just for the feeling everybody has. Everybody‘s buying gifts for each other, and there‘s a feeling about it. But I think the fact that I love it so much is probably because I grew up on a Christmas tree farm.”

Justin Moore: “I’d rather give somebody [a gift]. I’m not good at getting stuff. Honestly, as crazy as it sounds, I really don’t like being the center of attention, unless I’m on stage.”

Brad Paisley: “I’m pretty last-minute [at shopping]. Most guys are, I think, like me. You just don’t invest enough, you don’t think ahead and plan it. I really do end up somewhere like the mall or something on the 24th. It’s a shame. It’s really a waste of what should be a fun day, ‘cause you know, here I am scrambling around going, ‘Oh, I think they’ll like that.’ They may have never heard of it, and I don’t know what it is necessarily, but let’s buy it! And I could give it to somebody. You end up buying all these things, and it’s just a waste.”

Carrie Underwood: “One thing you learn in my family is that my mother is a blabbermouth. And ever since I was little, I have known every single Christmas present I have ever gotten. Ever. I’m not one for surprises, and yeah, I’ve always known my presents before Christmas. But I didn’t have to, like, sneak around and find out what they were, ‘cause Mom told me.”

Blake Shelton: “I love baked goods at Christmas. I like all baked goods from pies to muffins. In a pinch, Pop Tarts work. With sprinkles.”

Josh Thompson: “My big on-tap for Christmas this year is I’m gonna get some sleep. That’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna go up north and, you know, I’m gonna get some home-cooked meals and maybe do a little ice fishin’, but mainly I’m going to relax — if I can. Not sure I remember how to do that, but I’m gonna give it my best shot.”

Chuck Wicks: “My new holiday tradition is sleeping in. As a kid, I always was the first one to wake up. I was tryin’ to wake my mom and dad up. I’m like, ‘Come on! Santa came, I saw the tree, it’s full of Christmas presents…everything!’ And now I know why my mom and dad always slept in, because they, you know, were doing things, getting ready for Santa, as well.”

Brett Eldredge: “[I’m] heading back to my hometown of Paris, Ill. I plan on grabbing a sled and an ice-fishing pole and relaxing with friends and family. And maybe test out the eggnog!”

Tom Gossin, of Gloriana: “I’m giving clothes. I like to pretend that I’m my family’s stylist, so I buy everyone clothes that I think they should wear. Hopefully it doesn‘t blow up in my face!”

Susie Brown, of the JaneDear girls: “If I could have anything I wanted for Christmas this year, I would ask Santa for my dream car: the Dodge Challenger in cherry red. My current car is breaking down, and I don’t have the money to get a new one, so if Santa could bring me a brand new car with a big ribbon on it, I would be most grateful!”

• GAC’s Nan Kelley, as told to The Boot: “We’re always home, and we like it like that. I’m from the South and [Charlie is] from the East Coast, so we bring different traditions. On Christmas Eve, it starts with my grandmother’s seafood gumbo … It is our tradition that we always have this yummy, yummy seafood gumbo, and then we’ll go to church.”

Craig Morgan: “In 1989, we invaded Panama, and I mean, if you remember the ousting of Manuel Antonio Noriega, I was in Panama for that, so …on Christmas Day, I was in the presidential palace. We had just assumed control — my team — of the palace, so it wasn’t until, I don’t know, probably a week after Christmas that my wife knew I was alive.”

Alan Jackson: “[We] always try to remember Jesus’ birthday and just the whole thing, and have a wonderful, big meal, almost like Thanksgiving four weeks later. We have the same, pretty much — turkey, dressing, all the same kind of things. Sometimes we have family members in Tennessee, and sometimes just us or friends, and we always go home to Georgia prior to that, you know. Pretty standard, lovely Christmas.”

Chris Young: “Holidays are actually a really, really big time around our house. Christmas is huge. For the longest time, we actually brought gifts and then we realized that was getting too expensive. Now we just kind of show up, and it’s funny because it’s always like a very set pattern of what happens. Everybody shows up about 11, and then I show up really late — about 11:30 — because it’s my bad habit. And then we all sit down for lunch, which my grandmother spent, like, two days cooking. It usually breaks up after that to the girls and the guys. The girls go hang out with my grandmother in the sewing room and just chat. The guys will usually go outside and go to my grandfather’s shop. He’s actually got a metal shop and a wood shop out behind his house. He does tool and dye work. We’ll go out there and tell jokes with him or, like, go out back and shoot guns.”

Joanna Smith: “[We] always [have] a real tree. You gotta be able to smell it, you gotta have the fire hazard, and you gotta hear Daddy cuss when he is puttin’ it up and it’s not goin’ up correctly. You gotta have instances where, like when I was two years old, I pulled the whole thing down. Real tree’s definitely the way to go.”

Danny Gokey: “There were Christmas traditions when we were younger. Now, you know, we’re older, it’s not about us; it’s about my nieces and nephews, and I have 15 of ‘em, so now the whole thing revolves around tradition around them. Traditions have changed for our family, so now it’s all about the kids, and it’s all about the adults stuffin’ their faces.”

Kenny Chesney: “Growin’ up in the South, every Christmas, you heard Alabama. You heard Randy Owen singing ‘Christmas In Dixie.’ And it was just one of those songs that my hometown radio station played every year. And I just always remember lovin’ that song, and then I got into the music business and was able to get to know Randy and Mark [Herndon], Teddy [Gentry] and Jeff [Cook]. They just mean so much to me.”

Sara Evans: “My whole life growing up, we would have a huge Christmas celebration. ‘Cause my family’s huge, and we would spend Christmas Eve at my Granny and Paw-Paw’s house, and then we would go home, and it was the only night out of the whole year that we were actually okay with leaving and going home because we knew that Santa was coming. And then we’d have a huge Christmas breakfast at my mom’s.”

Frankie Ballard: “My greatest Christmas memory is the time I spent it in Florida. It was 80 [degrees] and sunny, and my dad drove a neighbor’s kid’s brand new remote-control car down the storm drain on Christmas Day!”

Leigh Cappillino, of Point Of Grace: “One of my favorite traditions as a child was the stocking. Mom and Dad took pride in the little things that went inside, from nail polish to Mr. Goodbar’s — my favorite candy bar at that time. You never knew what the next thing would be, you just knew it was going to be great. One year in particular, me and my two sisters got these really thick socks. At first we were a bit confused, then we read the note attached saying, ‘You will need these thick socks because Santa brought you a trampoline!’ It was the best Christmas ever as a child!! Now my little girl loves this tradition. Who knows, maybe this will be the year she needs some thick socks!”


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