For LeAnn Rimes, Christmas Was About the Catalog

Talking Traditions and Today Is Christmas

Yes, the holidays are all about family and friends, togetherness and tradition, and hopefully, a belief in something bigger than any of us.

But sometimes, it’s just about the J.C. Penney catalog.

When LeAnn Rimes and I got to talk about the holidays when we were in Nashville during CMA Awards week, we talked about one of her greatest gifts of all as a kid: a heavy catalog and a pen.

“We always had Christmas at my godparent’s house,” Rimes told me, “because my mom and dad worked really hard, but we never had a lot of money. My godparents did, though, so my whole family got spoiled by them at Christmas. My godfather used to give me the J.C. Penney catalog, which was huge, and he’d say, ‘Circle what you want.’ I’d circle basically the whole book. That was his thing.”

Another gift those godparents gave Rimes was a lesson in how to decorate your home for the holidays.

“It was like Santa threw up on the house. Every inch was decorated,” she laughed. “I do that now, too.”

LeAnn Rimes

Rimes’ new album Today Is Christmas is here just in time to start getting ready for the holidays. She said she put together a mix of original songs and classic holiday favorites.

“I like to find things that are a little more obscure, that people haven’t covered over and over and over and over again,” she said.

And yet one of the best tracks on the album, “Joy,” is a medley of songs that have been covered over and over. But when Rimes sings these three songs – “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Angels We Have Heard On High,” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” – they feel brand new all over again.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.