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Christmas Favorites :

Christian Artists Share Theirs!

by Tracy Darlington & Nashville Publicity Group


Do you have a favorite thing you do at Christmas? Maybe it's your parents ringing a bell to wake you up on Christmas morning or the smell of bacon and eggs coming out the kitchen to your bedroom. Or maybe it’s you and your youth group going door to door singing carols to your neighbors. You and your family might just enjoy the tradition of opening a gift on Christmas Eve. Want to know what some of your favorite top artists' holiday traditions, movies, songs and memories are? Here are some of their Christmas vignettes:



FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONG

“Holly Jolly Christmas” by Burl Ives – KEVIN MAX

“The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” – ELIOT SLOAN (Blessid Union of Souls)

“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” – KEVIN LEVAR

“O Holy Night/This Christmas” – ALACHE

"Wonderful Christmastime" by Paul McCartney & Wings – AARON GREER (of Aaron Greer Band)

“Ode to the Bells.” I fell in love with this song after watching "Home Alone" a million and one times. – LYRYCYST

“O Holy Night” – KIM GRAVEL (Beloved)

“Silent Night” – DENISE CLARK (Beloved)

“What Child is This?” – YATES (After Edmund)

Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” – MITCH PARKS (After Edmund)

“Carol of the Bells” – MATT McFADDEN (After Edmund)

“Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree” – NOAH (Mission Six)

“Carol of the Bells” – ANTHONY (Mission Six)

“The Little Drummer Boy” – MICHAEL (Mission Six)

Relient K’s “The 12 Days of Christmas” – DAVID (Mission Six)

“Feliz Navidad” – ISAAC (Mission Six)

Decemberadio"Little Saint Nick" by Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem – JOSH REEDY (DecembeRadio)

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” – ERIC MIKER (DecembeRadio)

“Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” – BRIAN BUNN (DecembeRadio)

“Silent Night” or “Mary Did You Know” – BOONE DAUGHDRILL (DecembeRadio)



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FAVORITE CHRISTMAS TRADITION

Rebecca St. JamesWhen we go around the room and share about what God’s done in our lives over the year. That’s the most powerful part for me, hearing from everyone in the family and closer friends who are with us over Christmas is really moving to celebrate what God has done and to look back and thank him as a family for what He’s done in our individual lives. We have a tradition to do that every year. I really look forward to it. –REBECCA ST. JAMES

I’m a big fan of stockings. They’re kinda like the bonus features on a DVD. You mainly just want to watch the movie (i.e. open presents) but hey, why don’t you see if there are any bloopers or extra footage. O look! A director commentary. To me, this is what a stocking is like. O look! A toothbrush. That’s pretty cool. Now on to the gifts. – JIMMY NEEDHAM

Family, hot drinks, food and games. MICHAEL WATSON (Above the Golden State)

Singing round the piano – KEVIN MAX

Egg Nog – ELIOT SLOAN (Blessid Union of Souls)

Family gathering together, seeing folks you only see once a year is always nice – KEVIN LEVAR

When my family goes shopping for new ornaments, we always go together. Then we come home to cook or order Jimmy Needhampizza, put on some Christmas music and decorate the house.... Tell stories, have a good time, and the best rule, no one is allowed a bad attitude. – ALACHE

“I used to like going to my grandma's house every Christmas Eve. My uncle always gave me money in a card...actually, he gave me and my brother more than the other nephews because he liked us more :) Haha! – AARON GREER (of Aaron Greer Band)

Going to my great-grandmothers house. We would eat tons of food, spend time with family we rarely get to see, and watch football with my great-grandfather. My family is dysfunctional to say the least, so getting us all together once a year was always full of surprises and good times. – LYRYCYST

Christmas Eve Service – KIM GRAVEL (Beloved)

My dad reading the Christmas story from the Bible and my mom reading "Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus" every year on Christmas Eve – AMY GOINS (Beloved)

Silly String fight with my parent's family – YATES (After Edmund)

Playing tunes with my dad on piano – MITCH PARKS (After Edmund)

Above the Golden StateFamily Christmas Lunch – MATT McFADDEN (After Edmund)

Every year for Christmas I always help put up a tree and put lights on it while listening to Christmas music – NOAH (Mission Six)

In our family we have many Christmas traditions, but the one that is my favorite is where my sister and I open one present on Christmas Eve – MICHAEL (Mission Six)

Going to my grandparents’ house to open gifts and put up their tree – JOSH REEDY (DecembeRadio)

Being with family. I go to my mother’s parents on Christmas Eve with all my Italian relatives, eat seafood and open gifts. Then, on Christmas Day, I go to my father’s parents for more traditional American Christmas foods (ham, turkey, yams), and usually we do some type of hunting (squirrel, rabbit, quail or deer). – ERIC MIKER (DecembeRadio)

Opening one present on Christmas Eve – BRIAN BUNN (DecembeRadio)

The family gettin’ together and eating way too much. I love to hang out with the family ‘cause I don't get to go home too often, so that is a very special time for me. – BOONE DAUGHDRILL (DecembeRadio)

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FAVORITE CHRISTMAS ALBUM A Christmas Album by Amy Grant

Band Aid’s “Do They Know its Christmas?” – KEVIN MAX

Anything by Bing Crosby – ELIOT SLOAN (Blessid Union of Souls)

Kirk Franklin & the Family Christmas – KEVIN LEVAR

Celine Dion's “These are the Special Times” – ALACHE

“Charlie Brown Christmas” - I get such a great feeling when listening to it – AARON GREER (of Aaron Greer Band)

Any Manheim Steamroller album – LYRYCYST

Amy Grant's “Tennessee Christmas” – KIM GRAVEL (Beloved)

Mitch Miller and the Gang Holiday Sing Along – AMY GOINS (Beloved)

4Him's “Christmas the Season of Love” – YATES (After Edmund)

Let It Snow Baby Let It Rain DeerAnything by David Phelps – MITCH PARKS (After Edmund)

Jars of Clay’s “Little Drummer Boy” – MATT McFADDEN (After Edmund)

Relient K’s “Let it Snow, Baby... Let it Reindeer” – NOAH (Mission Six)

“X Christmas” – ANTHONY (Mission Six)

The Almost’s “No Gift to Bring” – MICHAEL (Mission Six)

Relient K’s “Let it Snow, Baby... Let it Reindeer” – DAVID (Mission Six)

BarlowGirl’s “Home for Christmas” – ISAAC (Mission Six)

John Denver and The Muppets’ “A Christmas Together” – JOSH REEDY (DecembeRadio)

I have great memories of Christmas Eve at the Belcastro's (my grandparents’ house) listening to Christmas music from Tony Bennett – ERIC MIKER (DecembeRadio)

Point of Grace’s “Winter Wonderland” – BRIAN BUNN (DecembeRadio)

Believe it or not, I don’t own a Christmas album (but I do love Christmas!). – BOONE DAUGHDRILL (DecembeRadio)

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FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MOVIE

“A Christmas Carol” (w/ George C. Scott) – KEVIN MAX

“It’s a Wonderful Life” – ELIOT SLOAN (Blessid Union of Souls)

“Home Alone” – KEVIN LEVAR

“Miracle on 34th Street” – ALACHE

“The Polar Express” – AARON GREER (of Aaron Greer Band)

I absolutely love "Scrooged" with Bill Murray. Not your typical Christmas movie, I know, but it makes up for it with an ending that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside :) – LYRYCYST

It's a Wonderful Life“White Christmas” – KIM GRAVEL (Beloved)

“It's A Wonderful Life” – DENISE CLARK (Beloved)

“It's A Wonderful Life” – AMY GOINS (Beloved)

“It's a Wonderful Life” – YATES (After Edmund)

“The Santa Clause” – MITCH PARKS (After Edmund)

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” – MATT McFADDEN (After Edmund)

“Home Alone” – NOAH (Mission Six)

“The Muppets Christmas Carol” – ANTHONY (Mission Six)

“A Christmas Story” – MICHAEL (Mission Six)

“Elf” – DAVID (Mission Six)

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” – ISAAC (Mission Six)

“A Christmas Story” – JOSH REEDY (DecembeRadio)

“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” – ERIC MIKER (DecembeRadio)

“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” – BRIAN BUNN (DecembeRadio)

“A Christmas Story” – BOONE DAUGHDRILL (DecembeRadio)

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FAVORITE CHRISTMAS GIFT RECEIVED

My daughter Londan Ava Kay Max – KEVIN MAXKevin Max

A microphone – ELIOT SLOAN (Blessid Union of Souls)

My Barbie set with her whole house and clothes and an outfit I saw at the mall. My dad said no but it all miraculously appeared on Christmas day. – ALACHE

When I was 9 years old, my mom bought me a drum kit. – AARON GREER (of Aaron Greer Band)

My wife and I saw a watch on our honeymoon in Hawaii that I really liked. It was made of bamboo and only available in that area. We had zero dollars to our name at the time and knew we couldn't afford to spend money on it. Two years later my wife surprised me with the same watch on Christmas morning. She had searched all over the internet to find it, and worked overtime to afford it. Now every time I wear it, I think of our honeymoon. – LYRYCYST

Easy Bake oven when I was 10 – KIM GRAVEL (Beloved)

Whatever I get this year – YATES (After Edmund)

A Cardigan sweater – MITCH PARKS (After Edmund)

A kid's drum set (when I was young) – MATT McFADDEN (After Edmund)

Mission SixXbox 360 – NOAH (Mission Six)

I have received a lot of great gifts, but I think the ultimate Christmas gift is celebrating the birth of Jesus with my family. – ANTHONY (Mission Six)

My snowboard! – MICHAEL (Mission Six)

A big racecar track with remote controlled cars – DAVID (Mission Six)

My iPod – ISAAC (Mission Six)

Electric guitar – JOSH REEDY (DecembeRadio)

Jesus (at least that's what I say when I'm in Sunday school :) ) – ERIC MIKER (DecembeRadio)

First acoustic guitar – BRIAN BUNN (DecembeRadio)

My first drum set – BOONE DAUGHDRILL (DecembeRadio)

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FAVORITE CHRISTMAS GIFT GIVEN

A vacation overseas for the wife – KEVIN MAX

A CD player I gave to my nephew when he was 12 – ELIOT SLOAN (Blessid Union of Souls)

An original song written for a woman I loved – KEVIN LEVAR

“The engagement ring I bought my wife and the handmade card I gave her beforehand.” – AARON GREER (of Aaron Greer Band)

When I was fourteen I worked for the first time during the Holidays to save up and buy my family gifts. In the end, the gifts consisted of a video game, clothing and a basketball sweatband. But it made me feel good to GIVE that Christmas instead of always RECEIVING. Now I'm pretty much hooked on it :) – LYRYCYSTBeloved

Pearl Earrings to my mother – KIM GRAVEL (Beloved)

Love – YATES (After Edmund)

A Cardigan sweater – MITCH PARKS (After Edmund)

A kid's drum set (this year to my son!!!) – MATT McFADDEN (After Edmund)

I gave my fiance, now my wife, an armoire to match the furniture in our new house. – JOSH REEDY (DecembeRadio)

I was able to sponsor a child's entire wardrobe and toys for Christmas with a charity Christmas concert my praise band played in high school. With proceeds we made from the show, each of us was able to take a kid and sponsor them through Angel Tree at the church. Even though we butchered “Silent Night” a cappella, it still turned out great. – ERIC MIKER (DecembeRadio)

Engagement ring – BRIAN BUNN (DecembeRadio)

A tractor set to my dad because he loves tractors – BOONE DAUGHDRILL (DecembeRadio)

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FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MEMORY

Aaron GreerOpening all of the presents with my brother and then taping them back with ultimate precision – KEVIN MAX

Our white Christmas tree – ELIOT SLOAN (Blessid Union of Souls)

When I was young, my grandparents would come over to the house every Christmas and watch my brother and I open up gifts and play with them. Then we would eat breakfast and spend the whole day together. Those mornings were filled with so much love. I miss those days, but I look forward to recreating them when I have children of my own. – KEVIN LEVAR

That will have to be years ago back in Africa with my cousins, aunts, parents, siblings, a whole set of musicians in the family, and we would set up our equipment, have a concert..... Kids running around, adults relaxing, tons of food, just good times..... – ALACHE

I think my favorite memories of Christmas were the way my mom would deck out our house every year for it. I just loved being there surrounded by all these great decorations and the super-duper tree she’d put up each year. The house always looked so bland and drab afterwards. HA! – AARON GREER (of Aaron Greer Band)

My favorite Christmas memory happened when my great-grandfather surprised my great-grandmother with a diamond necklace. We were all finished opening gifts, and my 80+ year-old grandparents had been married for just over 50 years that year. Watching him surprise her with the necklace let me see a couple that was just as in love then, as they were 50 years ago. I think about it every Christmas when I look at my wife. – LYRYCYST

Seeing my son’s face when he saw a decorated Christmas tree for the first time – KIM GRAVEL (Beloved)

Cooking pancakes Christmas morning – DENISE CLARK (Beloved)

Family Christmas at my Grandparent’s house 1984-1992 – YATES (After Edmund)After Edmund

Playing the mule in my church’s Christmas play two years ago – MITCH PARKS (After Edmund)

Christmas in a Log Cabin with just me and my wife – MATT McFADDEN (After Edmund)

I was a little kid, my family and I would go out to this golf course with huge hills and sled for hours – DAVID (Mission Six)

My best Christmas memory is when we got two feet of snow (which is unusual for southern Indiana). My dad formed it to make a luge – then we would pour water over it at night, so that it would freeze overnight. The next day we would sled down it doing time trials and stuff like that – ISAAC (Mission Six)

The night I heard Santa playing my new drums that he brought me… seriously!!! He had some good grooves goin’ on. It woke me up, but he was gone by the time I got to the living room. – BOONE DAUGHDRILL (DecembeRadio)

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Tracy DarlingtonTracy Darlington is a freelance writer, and her work has appeared in Brio, Breakaway, YS, CCM Magazine, Insight, Susie Magazine, and other publications. She has interviewed countless Christian musicians including Rebecca St. James, Delirious, Newsboys, Leigh Nash, Barlowgirl, Krystal Meyers, Joy Williams, Pillar, Michelle Tumes, and many others. In her spare time she can be found riding horses or listening to music and sipping a Venti 3-shot sugar-free vanilla latte. Visit her online at her blog where she talks about Music, God, dogs and coffee. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.