Christmas 2023: Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan + More Share Their Traditions

Country artists spend a lot of time on the road, and away from their family and loved ones. But Christmas is a time to spend with those closest to them, celebrating the season. We found out how some of country music’s biggest stars, including Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan and more are celebrating Christmas this year.

Keith Urban:

“We still love going to the beach at Christmas time, as long as we’re in Australia, because it’s like the Fourth of July,” Urban told UMG Nashville. “It’s huge. Everybody’s out. It feels very celebratory. It’s in the 90s. It’s crazy, but having grown up with that, it feels very natural to me. Albeit, we still had all of the same Christmas songs, so we’re in like 90-degree heat with shorts and tank tops singing ‘Walking in a Winter Wonderland.’ I remember getting Christmas cards of Santa on a surfboard, so that probably explains a lot.”

Carrie Underwood:

“For the past few years, we all get matching PJs,” Underwood revealed. “Either we get them or somebody else gifts them to us, and we all match – my husband, myself, my sons and our dogs. And getting my German Shepherd into a Christmas sweater is no easy feat, I will tell you that.”

Luke Bryan:

“I think as the kids get older — we used to load them up on the tour bus and we used to take them to Georgia, and it was a lot to travel with kids,” Bryan said.  “I’m sure there’s a lot of people doing the same. And so, now that we’re in Nashville, we’ve had a lot of Christmases here, the kids are getting a little older, but they still get excited about running down the stairs Christmas morning. In our hallway, we tape up a bunch of wrapping paper, and they run through the wrapping paper like a football team to see all the presents and stuff, so it’s fun.

“We still have a lot of the family come up,” he adds, “[and] try to plan a few hunting trips the day before Christmas, and have a big Christmas Eve and let some kids open the presents. But it’s still great to be with my family during the holidays. The kids just get a little older, but we cherish every holiday season together.”

Trisha Yearwood:

“My Christmases are always — they’ve changed over the years,” Yearwood said. “When my folks were here, my sister and I, no matter where we are in the world, we went to Georgia for Christmas, and we woke up Christmas morning at our house that we grew up in. And then once our parents passed, that tradition changed a little bit. My sister had children, and so Christmas was at her house. Now, my sister and I are the last standing Yearwood women, and so we celebrate together, our families. Everybody’s busy.

“My mom and dad were always like, ‘It doesn’t have to be on the day, as long as we’re together.,’” she continued. “And so that’s kind of how we approach it. And really, it’s just about that. It’s about being with the people that you love. That’s my favorite part about it.”

Trace Adkins:

“All of the Christmas food, the baking, and the ham and the dressing,” Adkins recently told Everything Nash, sharing his favorite part of Christmas. “All the stuff that goes with it. The candy, the kids, the gifts, music. All of it. I love it all.

Dierks Bentley:

“Christmas didn’t lose any of its real meaning, as far as its religious meaning with Jesus’ birthday. But as far as the whole tree and all of the Christmas spirit stuff, the secular stuff, it just kind of goes away to be honest,” Bentley told his record label, sharing how much the holiday changed for him after he became a father.

“But then you have a family, and all of a sudden, it’s like I’m all Clark Griswold out there decorating the tree, putting lights up around the house,” he continued. “So, all of those things that you did as a kid and appreciated as a kid, you get a chance to do over again when you have kids, because you kinda become one again.”

Blake Shelton:

“The whole family, we really get into the holidays,” Shelton said on The Jennifer Hudson Show. “The only tradition that I think we have is, me and the kids, they all watch TikTok and all the stuff, and so they see people making these weird turkeys. So, like a couple of years ago we had to make a Flamin’ Hot Cheetos turkey. You like grind up the Cheetos and you put it on the turkey and then you make the turkey. There’s really no point to it.”

Reba McEntire:

“Shelby and I, we used to always watch Christmas Vacation on Christmas Eve night. Now, we watch Elf and Nacho Libre,” McEntire told The Boot. “If you’ve never seen Nacho Libre, you’re probably thinking, ‘What on Earth?! That’s not a Christmas movie,’ but it’s a lot of fun! We laugh a lot.”

Wynonna Judd:

“Cooking and wearing the Nonnie apron,” Judd told Everything Nash of the best part of Christmas, referring to the name given to her by her grandchild. “I wear a Nonnie apron ’cause that’s what my grandbaby calls me. And I love to give that perfect meal to my family because I work all year, and I cruise really fast. I shut it all down. I wear my pajamas, and I just cook and I stand around and I listen. I listen to my children tell me things, and it’s just a time of reflection as well as celebration for me. ’cause I work all year.”

Brenda Lee:

“My girls always say, ‘Mom, what are we doing for Christmas? Please don’t cook.’ And they don’t mean it kindly. They mean, ‘Mom, please don’t,'” Brenda Lee joked. “I’m not your greatest cook in the world, but we all get together and we sing, and we talk about our prior Christmases. We talk about people that we’ve lost and loved, and we wished that they were here, and we give thanks to our Lord.

“It’s a wonderful time,” she remarked. “The gifts are secondary. It’s the getting together, and even though you get together the rest of the year, something magic happens at Christmas. And it’s just like, I don’t know what it is because I can’t explain magic, but I can tell you it is magic.”

Jordan Davis:

“We have our kids and my brother [Jacob] has his kids, and we’re kind of moving on from the traditions that we had growing up to now we’re kind of creating our own,” Davis said. “For us, we do Christmas morning at separate houses. My brother does his at his, we do ours at ours, and then we come together in the afternoon.

“We have a big lunch, and all the kids play in the backyard or play with the new toys, and then we sit around and cook and watch football and just hang out,” he continued. “So, the afternoon of Christmas day and then the day after when the family is still in town, and there’s not much going on and you’re just really getting to spend some time with family is becoming really special.”

Mitchell Tenpenny:

“We don’t have many Christmas traditions. Honestly, it’s really just getting family together in whatever shape or form we can,” said Tenpenny. “Especially now that we are all older and grown up, it’s harder to get everything one in the same place. So, anytime we can get the family together that’s pretty much our tradition. For my Mom, I guess, we always open presents the night before Christmas. That started, I don’t know, about ten years ago and we’ve just been kind of doing it that way for whatever reason and it’s been great.

“I enjoy it because it gives me and my brother enough time with our Mom before we all leave and then we all have breakfast Christmas morning,” he added.

Darius Rucker:

“I’m a big food guy, as you can tell by looking at me,” Rucker quipped. “I like food a lot. But my favorite thing is my sister’s sweet potato pie. I love sweet potato pie so much, and I don’t get it very often. And my sisters always make sure I get a couple during Thanksgiving and Christmas, so that’s my favorite thing – sweet potato pie.”

Elle King:

“The only Christmas traditions that my family has ever had is eat, then go back and eat more,” King said. I miss my grandmother very much, she always had my favorite sugar cookies out and iced perfectly. So that’s something I hope I can pass down through my family.”