Christmas in America (12/24/02)

Martie Maguire
Emily Strayer
Natalie Maines
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This is an American Country Countdown celebration of Christmas. The season's finest music and memories of country's brightest stars are wrapped up together in this 6 hour special. Included in this special is the Chicks' reading of "Twas The Night Before Christmas" and soundbites from the Chicks.
Host: Bob Kingsley
Airdate: December 19-25, 2002
BOB KINGSLEY: Gifts that we get at Christmas can last us a lifetime. Depends on what we do with them. Obviously, Dixie Chicks' Emily Robison has made the most of one childhood Christmas present.
EMILY: Christmas was always a huge deal in our family. My parents were school teachers so we didn't have a lot of money to spend necessarily but they always tried to do it up really big at Christmas and there were three of us at the house at that time when we were younger. My parents were still married and so their rules - you couldn't go wake them up before a certain time in the morning - but you could get your stocking and run in the bedroom and sit on the bed and we would open stockings on their bed. So that was kind of neat. And then you'd go in the kitchen. You'd have breakfast and, you know, impatiently wait but I do specifically remember the Christmas when I was 10. My dad and mom gave me my first banjo and they told me that I was going to get banjo lessons as well so that was really neat. We played instruments from the time we were very young. Five and six years old but this was like the first thing that I really asked for. My mom wanted me to play violin so I played violin when I was really little but what I wanted was the banjo so it was kind of neat to finally get it.
BOB KINGSLEY: Songs are a big part of the season's spirit. Do you have a favorite holiday song? I recently put that question to the Dixie Chicks and here's what Natalie Maines and Martie Maguire had to say on the subject.
NATALIE: Me and my sister would just make up dances to Christmas songs. (Starts singing Carol of the Bells). We just danced around like maniacs. Do gymnastics. And my mom would never let us play one single Christmas song until the day after Thanksgiving. That was another strict tradition in our house.
MARTIE: Gosh, to pick one Christmas song is really hard but I think I remember hearing Christmas songs more in church more than hearing them played at home. I loved hearing choirs sing and when we were in school we were in choir and singing Christmas tunes. But I remember every midnight mass Christmas Eve we'd end with Silent Night and everybody would light candles and I remember even as a child just that feeling. They'd dim the lights and all the candles lit and everybody singing. And some of the churches we went to later on in life everybody would hold hands or hold one hand - hold a candle with the other - and it was just...I remember that being a real great family kind of bonding time.

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