Every family who celebrates Christmas seems to have a special tradition — but some are a little stranger than others. Count Joe Don Rooney of Rascal Flatts in that category, as the Kansas-born guitar shredder used to welcome the big day with a big pile of guacamole!
“I don’t know how it happened, but I was the youngest of four kids and every Christmas Eve we’d have Mexican food,” Rooney tells Sounds Like Nashville. “Everybody would bring a dish and it’s a pretty big family — especially my mom had nine kids in her family, so lots of aunts and uncles — and it was lots of food. Every Christmas Eve, Mexican food. So a lot of Christmas mornings we were all sick.”
“Yeah, you can find them on the toilet over at the Rooney house,” Flatts’ Jay DeMarcus added with a laugh. “We eat pizza on Christmas Eve and everybody opens one gift. And that’s kind of been our tradition since I was a kid.”
Meanwhile, the Flatts gang will be celebrating 20 years since their debut single in 2020, so what would the guys tell themselves if they could go back in time?
“You’re going to be a tired ass 48 year old,” Rooney joked.
“Yeah, Christmas can’t come soon enough,” lead singer Gary LeVox agreed.
“In all seriousness, one of the things that I think all three of us would like to tell ourselves is that you need to slow down and enjoy the ride a little bit more,” DeMarcus said. “It all happens in a blur and it goes by so quickly … I probably didn’t soak it up enough and I wish that I could go back and tell myself, ‘This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and once-in-a-lifetime ride that you’re on, enjoy every single second that you get to live this extraordinary life.'”