Favorite Christmas traditions
Brett Eldredge: This year one of my cousins is trying to convince everybody to wear onesies — I have like 40 family members in one house at Christmas. So my aunts, uncles and everything are going to have onesies on, that’s going to be a new tradition. I’ve seen some pictures, I said just surprise me — as long as there’s as many candy canes and crazy things on it, I’ll be happy.
Old traditions, we go to Christmas Eve service and sing and light the candles and then we go ride around the park and have Christmas in the park. I put a sign up thanking everybody in my little town for supporting me, and we drive by that spot now, it’s just cool to experience that. It’s literally right next to a little shed where I’d sing Christmas songs as a little kid, it’s pretty cool.
Dustin Lynch: My granddad started this tradition, we always watch Christmas Vacation together and then he got the bright idea that each year Cousin Eddy would deliver a gift and we’d all open them simultaneously. It’s always some weird something from a line in the movie or an object that was in a scene and then we have to figure out what scene it was.
Kelsea Ballerini: Growing up, just that feeling when you wake up at like 6 am and run into your parent’s room. There’s just a magic on it, it’s unexplainable.
Hillary Scott (Lady Antebellum): One of my favorite Christmas memories was when my grandparents would come over because they lived in Nashville for a majority of my childhood, and my grandfather would always walk in the front door — he had this big booming voice, and he’s always say, “Santa Claus come!” and he had this big bag of all of the gifts he’d gotten for me and my little sister and my parents. That’s a memory I’ll always have.
Dave Haywood (Lady Antebellum): We always decorate the day after Thanksgiving, so I’ve always loved shopping for a tree, decorating, putting the music on the day after the Thanksgiving.
Charles Kelley (Lady Antebellum): I thought I was being original at the time, but I proposed to my wife on Christmas morning. I thought it was so original, and then I was like, “Oh, apparently everybody does this.” That was back in ’08.
Favorite holiday memories
Luke Bryan: Probably my funniest memory is Santa Claus brought me a little motorcycle, I was probably 9 years old and I got a little Honda 50. I was able to crank it up and go show my buddy next door and I ran into his swing set. That was my first official wreck on my 50 — hero to zero.
Best gift they’ve ever given or received
Chris Young: My first guitar was actually a Christmas gift, so that one was always really important to me — beyond the fact that obviously I’m a musician and it’s cool to get a guitar for Christmas — something like that that I also stuck with and it’s such a big part of my life after getting it at Christmas, I think that’s why I’m so excited to give gifts.
Last year I crushed it a little bit — I’m always really, really excited when I feel like I really nailed a gift. I got all of my family a trip to Disney World. We had everybody in the family there — my niece’s first trip there, it was awesome.
Lynch: Probably a motorcycle. One year I got a little gig Kawasaki and I’ll never forget this, my sister got on it I think first because I was probably scared to get on it, and she got whiskey throttled and ran into a fence. It was awesome. Now, it’s about celebrating a great year with my band and crew and giving them a couple weeks off, how about that? [Laughs]
Ballerini: When I first moved to Nashville when I was 15, my mom got me my first nice guitar that had a plug-in and stuff. I could go play rounds with it and stuff, it was the guitar that allowed me to play my first writer’s nights.
I used to make scrapbooks a lot for my mom — I did some by hand and some by Shutterfly. Me and my mom used to give “gifts of the heart,” not really a thing it’s something that we put time into. That was my go-to for that.
Scott: I kind of went a lot overboard with my daughter two Christmases ago and learned my lesson that less is more because she got so overwhelmed. That year she got a small trampoline that goes in her playroom and then she got one of those fun play kitchens, she loved it and she still plays with it. So that was a proud mom moment.
Haywood: We got our childhood dog when I was probably 6, which is just a great memory. We got a little silky terrier and it was in the box with holes cut out. It was special.
Kelley: From childhood, I did get a bike one time, and literally on Christmas morning it was raining and the bike slid out from under me — the handle bar hit me in the eye. It was like my favorite gift! Last year, my wife gave me a vintage Gibson guitar from the ‘40s that Dave helped pick out and I’ve written a lot of songs on it, so I thought that was pretty cool.
Dan Smyers (Dan + Shay): Getting a Nintendo 64 as a kid. It was the hot commodity and my parent’s were like “We were trying to get it for you, but it was sold out everywhere. Sorry, you’re not going to get it.” And I’m like, “Mom, really? I’m gonna be the only kid on the street who doesn’t have an N64!” But they came through — apparently they had to drive to Ohio, I’m from Pennsylvania. We still do have a Nintendo 64 on the bus. It’s rocking, it’s the original, it’s got Goldeneye! You have to shake the game, it doesn’t really work any more.
Shay Mooney (Dan + Shay): I feel like every parent in the country did that to their kid when they gave them a Nintendo 64. My parents did that to me, too, they said “I’m sorry, they’re sold out everywhere, we tried our best.” And then they were like, “By the way, there’s one more present in the bedroom if you could go grab it for me” and I went in there and it was a Nintendo 64.