Christmas is right around the corner—a time in the music industry when artists slow down and take some time off to be with their families and friends. We talked to some of your favorite artists before they departed for home to find out just what they may be doing during their Christmas break this year. See what Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Kelsea Ballerini and others had to say.
We at NCD want to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!
We’ll do the traditional Christmas stuff around the house and hopefully get Santa Claus to come on down the chimney and be good to the boys.
I’ll be home for Christmas, which I’m excited about. I’ll go to Knoxville to see dad, here [Nashville] to see mom and then the day after I’m going to Australia for a couple of weeks.
We are touring through December. Carrie Underwood and I are going down to Australia and tour all the way up until Christmas and then we’re back here and I’m doing a New Year’s Eve show here in Nashville. Ringing in the New Year right here.
We will be playing at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii right in the middle of December, so we are going to take a few days and hang there. That will be different for us. But we always spend it with family. With the girls in Oklahoma, my family in Georgia and family in Nashville, it’s not always on the day. It’s just when we can get together. Sometime over the holidays we’ll all get together—we’ll make a trip to Oklahoma and make a trip to Georgia.
Gary: We’ll be here [Nashville], I’ll be home. I’ll be home for Christmas [laughs]. I’m going to stay in town. It’s great for the kids, It’s great to be home.
Joe Don: Tennessee Christmas for us this year. Back in Oklahoma we had a crazy tradition on Christmas Eve we would have Mexican food. I had a huge family. Everybody brought over a Mexican fiesta dish. I’m trying to get my family to kind of go in that direction. Keep the old traditions alive.
Jay: I usually like to start drinking the day before Christmas [laughs]. No, we are going to start new traditions because we usually have spent Christmas Eve at Ali’s grandmother’s house but she passed away earlier this year. She made it to 92, that’s a good run. We are going to start our own traditions now and we’re really excited about that. It’s going to be fun.
What I’m going to do for the holidays is I’m going to go up and visit my family in southern Illinois at my brother’s house. He has a daughter, my niece, Eve, that we’re going to hang out with. My mom’s up there and her husband.
I work until probably December 20. Then, I’ll be off for probably a week or so, which is great. A week off, I start getting the itch to leave again. It’s nice when it’s the holidays. I’ll probably be off for New Year’s. I don’t think we have a show this year. Yeah, I’ll be off for New Year’s, too.
Since I do have a little money right now, I’m going to try to get my family members something nice for Christmas. I got my first gold record, so I ordered a plaque—a couple plaques for my family to get them for Christmas. We just have 40 to 50 people that go to my Grandmother’s house, and we eat, hang out and swap presents.
I’m in Hawaii for the last show. I’ll probably be gone for a few months maybe. Something like that. I don’t know. It’s a play it, feel it out kind of thing. Wherever I am, there’s going to be writers around and we’re going to be writing songs and going through songs that they wrote. Just looking for the perfect tune to fill album number seven.
Kiefer: We’re going to avoid family at all cost [laughs].
Shawna: It’s going to be pretty epic with decorations this year because it’s Cooper’s first Christmas.
Kiefer: We are going Griswald with the house—total Griswald. We’re gonna blow it out this year. Last year we cooked for like 15 people, we had the whole family over to the house and we did the whole thing. I’ll never do that again [laughs]. It looks good on paper—Christmas with the family.
We’re having a new granddaughter in November. They are out in Sacramento so that may dictate we’re we all go. Either that or they’ll try and keep us from heading to Sacramento (laughs).
Maddie & Tae
Maddie: We get to go back home, that will be exciting. We really lay low. We’re going to be cutting the record a week before Christmas but it will be so exciting getting to end the year having new music and getting to celebrate with family and have that good family time. That’s kind of what keeps us grounded. It keeps our head on earth. We don’t get crazy because our families will snap us out of it real quick.
We always try to have a big meal that day of some sort. Obviously, gifts and everything. We take some time out during the day to kind of reflect and read about the reason for the season—why we actually celebrate Christmas. I feel like we get so caught up in the secular aspect of it, where we are just giving gifts and there are decorations and Santa Claus and all this kind of stuff and we lose sight of why we’re actually celebrating it. It kind of brings you back to a good place and makes everything else around you a little more important.
I’m going to spend some time with my family. I’m going to go hunting probably—sorry if that offends anybody out there. These days you offend everybody. I’ll probably go deer hunting or bird hunting and just get out in the outdoors and decompress away from technology and touring. That way when January comes again, I’ll be ready to hit the road.
My father is coming to Nashville for the first time and I haven’t spent Christmas morning with my dad in a long time so we are looking forward to it. Of course we’ll probably be working on something, we’ll have a lot of fun. The new tradition is having everybody come to my house because I’m gone so much. My family understands that the last thing I want to do is travel all the way back to California after I just get time off to stay at my house, so everybody is starting to come to me. I have a nice farm with some acreage and it’s really cool and everybody’s embracing it, so it’s kind of nice.
Ham and football, maybe not in that order. I haven’t seen the schedule yet [laughs]. No, really more and more family is so important. As we get older some of our matriarchs and patriarchs of our family start to die off and it just shows you how much more important holidays really are. As a kid, it’s for the presents and stuff. But as an adult, you realize the importance of the religious aspect and also the family orientation is just really special to me.
This year I’m looking forward to making some new traditions. I’m really excited. This year is about new things for me so I’m like ‘all right let’s go forward make some new traditions too.’ It is one of the few times during the year where I have enough time off, which is rare, to go down to Louisiana and spend time with my friends and family that I miss throughout the year and that I don’t get to see as much as I wish I could. It’s always chill quality time hanging out on the couch and just catching up.
Family, family, family. To me, Christmas can really get bogged down by all the events, the presents and all the traditions. For me, it’s all about getting quality time with my family because I don’t ever get that. It’s always a text or a phone call or a Facetime or something. We are going to be in Texas trying to enjoy some warmth, because we are Michiganders and we’re tired of the snow, so for me it’s about food and family.
Always being with family. The older you get, you’re missing people at the holiday. Somebody was here last year that isn’t here this year. The older I get I just enjoy time with my family. I took so much from “You Should Be Here” [Cole’s No. 1 hit song], thinking of people that should be here and now it’s got a whole new meaning. We still have people that are here and you better take every chance to spend that time with them on Christmas, Thanksgiving and all the holidays. I’m working hard but I can’t wait to take a break and get some good food and some good hugs. It’s going to be good.
I’m going to go back home to Kernersville, North Carolina, where I’m from and where my parents still live. We have a very large family. We all do a big Christmas Eve dinner. I’ll get to spend time with the family I haven’t seen in quite some time and I’m excited for that. I’ll get a little bit of down time. December 18 is my last show of the year and I’ll head on back right after that.
I’m going to [have Christmas in Nashville]. I always have to travel. My brother has a baby now. I have a niece. She’s going to be 1 tomorrow. They said this is the last year they’ll travel and then after this they are going to do their Christmas at home, so they are going to come to me. It’s going to be pretty awesome.
We’re going to stay home in Nashville for the first time in a long time. My wife and I just bought a new house so we are going to break it in that way. We got family coming. My little nephew is three, he’s going to come and do presents with us at hour new house. I’m really excited about that.
Rascal Flatts by Sheryl Nields / BMLG; Trisha Yearwood by Ray Kachatorian/The Food Network; Kelsea Ballerina, Luke Bryan, Cole Swindell, Keith Urban, Lauren Alaina and Gretchen Wilson by Jason Simanek