By Vernell Hackett
NASHVILLE (Reuters) - When it comes to the holidays, country singers often turn their thoughts to home and traditions -- spending time with family, memories of special gifts, visiting friends and catching up on news.
In recent weeks, Reuters has interviewed several country music stars and asked them to share some of their thoughts about this time of year. Here is what they had to say:
Kenny Chesney may be a star now, but as a chile in a Christmas play he was much more shy: "I think one time I held the star, you know, and did it behind everyone. Never did show my face. I was holding the star going through the night. That's all I did. But all my other buddies played Joseph and Mary and all that stuff. I never did, really, get out on stage that much. Never really did sing in the Christmas play. No, I was pretty scared to get up there!"
Miranda Lambert says the holidays are a time when can let her feminine side come out: "It's my time to really be a girl. And I grew up, you know, with all the decorations and cookin', and I get really domestic during holidays. It's kind of weird 'cause it's so opposite of who I am on stage. But I love to bake cookies and cook dinner for the whole family, and I have every decoration you can think of. I like to have a tree in every room ... That's my time to just get ultra-girly, and I love holidays. And also it's my time off usually, because there's not really a lot going on during holidays, and so I really get to spend time with people I really care about."
Brad Paisley remembers trying to get the goods on Santa: "One year I tried to figure out -- it was third or fourth grade -- I was startin' to get the hint that maybe there wasn't a Santa Claus, which there is, by the way. But I wanted to prove it once and for all, so I stuck a tape recorder, pressed record, stuck it behind the Christmas tree, and left it on hoping that I would hear whoever was gonna place those presents there...and I forgot to plug it in."
Carrie Underwood remembers a family tradition that brought joy to others: "We would all go to my grandmother's house on Christmas Eve, and we would go to local nursing home, and sing Christmas carols up and down the halls and pass out little bags with goodies in 'em. We would sing carols like 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing' and 'Silent Night.' We sang all those songs that everybody knows, and it was just a really cool thing that we did. I wish we still did it. We quit when my grandma got sick, but it was just one of those things I'll never forget.
Lee Brice: "I'll spend Christmas with my son, Takoda, then me and three buddies will go camping north of Myrtle Beach around Waccamaw Lake. That's a tradition we have done for several years now. It gets us out in the woods and gives us a chance to clear our heads for the New Year."
"American Idol" winner Scott McCreery says spending time with family in the holidays is special to him. "It's tough being on the road and not seeing the family as much during the year. The holidays are when you can get together as a family and reflect on the year and spend some quality time together."
Sara Evans recollects traditions from when she was a little girl. "My whole life growing up, we would have a huge Christmas celebration 'cause my family's huge. We would spend Christmas Eve at my Granny and Pa-Pa's house, and then we would go home, and it was the only night out of the whole year that we were actually okay with leaving and going home because we knew that Santa was coming. And then we'd have a huge Christmas breakfast at my mom's."
(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)