If you’re looking for a great gift to tie in someone’s love for Christmas and country music, look no further than the book Country Faith Christmas.
Written by Deborah Evans Price, the book features Christmas memories from 37 country artists, including Alan Jackson, Reba, Florida Georgia Line and more. The foreword of Country Faith Christmas was written by Little Big Town’s Kimberly Schlapman.
We caught up with Price for an exclusive Q&A to find out her inspiration behind the book and what she learned about the featured country artists along the way…
SLN: What inspired you to write Country Faith Christmas?
DEP: Two years ago, I had a book published titled Country Faith, which featured 56 artists talking about their favorite Bible verses. It was such a special project to me and I’ve gotten such positive response. The publisher who had the idea for Country Faith is a guy in Nashville named Bob DeMoss and when he suggested keeping it going with Country Faith Christmas, I couldn’t wait to get started. It was a labor of love. I love Christmas and I love these artists who took time to be in this book.
SLN: You have 37 artists featured in the book – do you have a favorite story that sticks out to you?
DEP: There are so many great stories in this book. I loved hearing about how each artist celebrates Christmas. I love the story of Charlie Daniels surprising his wife, Hazel, with a bowling ball one Christmas early in their marriage. They were young and didn’t have much money and she was on a bowling team. Charlie worked hard to surprise her with that ball. I also love Eric Paslay sharing the way he would always look out the car window as they were traveling to his grandparents looking for the Star of Bethlehem. He says he was six before he realized the star only appeared when Jesus was born.
SLN: Is there a story that surprised you?
DEP: The story that surprised me is Jimmy Wayne’s story about spending Christmas Eve in prison — as a guard, that is! He traded shifts and worked Christmas Eve so another guard could spend time with his family and he shares the story of an inmate they called Jellyroll singing “Silent Night” and his voice booming through that prison. Grown men were so moved they were weeping. Jimmy said he switched shifts to bless the other guard and give him the night off and he himself was the one who received an amazing blessing when Jellyroll broke the silence of that night.
SLN: Did you learn something you weren’t expecting about any of the artists?
DEP: I was surprised at how many people love chili at Christmas. Both Canaan Smith and Luke Bryan shared their mother’s chili recipes in the book an talk about how that tasty dish is part of their holiday tradition. And Neal McCoy shares his mom’s recipe for a traditional dish from her native Philippines called Pancit.
SLN: What do you think it says about the country music industry to have these artists open up and share their personal traditions and holiday memories?
DEP: Country artists are always so kind to share their lives with their fans and the memories, recipes and wonderful old family photos in this book are just further testament to how open country acts are with their audience and what a great community this is.
SLN: What is your favorite Christmas memory?
DEP: I’m blessed with a wonderful family and have so many great memories, and many of them revolve chopping down our own Christmas tree. A few years ago, we had gone to cut one down and my husband Gary accidentally cut his knee with a chainsaw. It had gotten dark by then and we were scrambling around in the woods in the dark with our son, niece, nephews and a bunch of kids and one flashlight. It was chaos. It scared me and I panicked, but Gary just wrapped it in a towel and wanted to go to Sonic for a burger. He’s a tough guy and nothing rattles him. I still thank God that situation didn’t turn out worse. The kicker is when we got the tree home and looked at it in the light, it was so ugly! But we kept it anyway because of all we’d gone through to get it and whenever someone would look at it and shake their head as if to say “Why did you get THAT tree?” We had a great story!
Pick up your copy of Country Faith Christmas HERE.
If you’d like to add to your Country Faith collection, pick up a copy of the Country Faith Christmas album, which features Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley and others singing Christmas songs. Country Faith also has its own line of jewelry. Check out the full Country Faith line at countryfaith.com.