Country Stars Talk Holiday Traditions
This time of year, tour buses aren't logging a whole lot of miles. Country stars are off the road and settled at home with their families for the holidays, even if it's just for a couple of days. The Boot caught up with some of our favorite Nashville newcomers (and a veteran or two) to find out how they will be spending the most wonderful time of the year.
Josh Thompson: "The family goes to church Christmas Eve, and then we have our Christmas. We all go get dressed and go drive to everybody else's place. I'm hoping this year that everybody can just stay in, so I can eat and sleep all day and don't have to go anywhere, because I'm sick of going places. [laughs] I'd like to stay in some jogging pants and lay down. If anybody says, 'This is where we have to go,' I'm going to be like, 'I'm an adult; I'm going to stay right here. You guys can go, but I'm going to stay right here. Tell everybody I said Merry Christmas, and bring my presents back.' [laughs] The only thing I want for Christmas this year is just some time with my family. That's all I care about. I love giving people things and all that, but really what matters most to me is getting home and spending some time with my mom and sister and my nieces."
Sunny Sweeney: "This is the first year that I've actually decorated a tree. Isn't that weird? My mom always did one, but since I've been on my own, this has been the first time. Me and my boyfriend bought so much Christmas stuff. We even bought those plants with the red flowers on them. Maybe I'm starting to have [traditions] this year, but you're going to have to check with me next year to see if I carried it out or not! [laughs] I'm not really sure ... all these Christmas songs are already on my nerves right now. So we've decorated a tree, and we went to a Christmas party, and I made some food that other people ate. I'm branching out. I'm domesticating myself ... one little sliver at a time! [laughs]"
Jaron and the Long Road to Love: "Every year around Christmas time, I try to force myself to be alone for the holidays and write sad 'woe is me' songs. I don't usually write all year round, so most of what I create for the coming year will be created between December and January."
Chris Young: "We always make sure every year that we put up the Christmas tree together. My family always does that. Doing all that stuff is really exciting every year. Then we always go and look at lights together."
Frankie Ballard: "I have two sisters. When we were little, every Christmas Eve we would open one present after having a big dinner. Every year it was always pajamas and a book. When you're little and it's Christmas Eve, you get these pajamas and you go put them on. They were always Christmas pajamas. You wear them and then you wake up and you open presents. It made sense when you were little. We're all grown now and are adults, but for some reason, I don't know if my mom is sentimental and she's trying to hold onto the past, but she still every Christmas gives us pajamas and a book. We are forced now to put them on! They're like reindeer and candy cane pajamas. [laughs] It's like, 'Oh ... Merry Christmas!' [laughs] The kids now buy my mom and dad pajamas and a book now, too."
Joanna Smith: "We have a gag-gift that we pass around, never knowing who's gonna end up with it. It's the Veg-O-Matic. It's been going around since before I was born, and it's still hilarious when somebody opens it!"
Brantley Gilbert: "I always go to my mom's house for Christmas. This will actually be my first Christmas without her and my dad being together because they just got divorced, so I reckon it will be me, my brother, Coby, and Mom. We go over to her house, and she always buys us pajamas. I don't understand it, but she always buys us matching pajamas. We feel like dorks! [laughs] She makes Christmas so memorable every year. She stays up, waits until we fall asleep, and still pulls the whole Santa thing. She's a sweetheart. She's my angel."
Trent Willmon: "For three years in a row, my unintended Christmas tradition was to spend Christmas day stranded in the Chicago O'Hare Airport. Now my tradition is not booking my flight through Chicago during the holidays!"
BlackHawk's Henry Paul: "I'm giving a $10,000 check to the Vanderbilt Women's Cancer Research Center in the name of [former BlackHawk member] Van Stephenson [who passed away in 2001 from skin cancer]. It's something [myself and Dave Robbins] do each year around the holidays." [Read the story about BlackHawk's donation here.]