“We have a big family reunion on Christmas afternoon—sometimes 40 or 50 people. We put a tree up on a wagon, roll it into the barn and put the gifts all around it,”—TOBY KEITH, at his ranch in Norman, Okla., with son Stelen, now 3, in 1998.
“I have a huge collection of cookie cutters, so every year we make sugar cookies from scratch and take them to my mom’s house.”—LEE ANN WOMACK, at home in Nashville in 1999 with daughter Aubrie, now 9.
“I love Christmas so much that one year my parents took me and my brother Colin to Santa’s Village in New Hampshire so we could meet him in August On Christmas we get together at our house or my grandmother’s. I make the muffins, but I burn them.” —BILLY GlLMAN, with brother Colin (left) at Santa’s Village in Jackson, N.H., in 1996.
“Christmas is a time to give to other people, so when I heard Casie Kraus, a teenager from Arkansas who suffers from a liver disorder, had asked to meet me through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, we invited her over and decorated a tree. She turned 16 the day she was here so we had cake and got her presents.”—JO DEE MESSINA at home near Nashville in 1999 with (from far left) mother Mary Messina, pal Lisa Wahnish, Grace Kraus, Sarah Kraus, Casie Kraus, Jo Dee, her aunt Theresa Philbrick friend Debbie Randle, Debbie Kraus.
“We get together some time in December for our Mandrell family Christmas. To make sure we can all fit it into our schedules, we’ve celebrated as early as the first week of the month.”—BARBARA MANDRELL (bottom row, right), at sister Louise Mandrell’s home in Ashland City, Tenn., in 1999, with (clockwise from Mandrell) daughter Jaime; sister-in-law Leigh Ann Dudney; sister Irlene Mandrell, holding daughter Christina; Irlene’s two other children Deric and Vanessa Boyer; Louise Mandrell, her daughter Nicole and husband John Haywood; Barbara’s husband, Ken Dudney, their sons Nathaniel and Matthew Dudney; mother and father Mary and Irby Mandrell.
“I work for a living, so if I’m lucky I can be with my family around the table with a home-cooked bird But my favorite part of Christmas is the giving. I love having something to give that’s a surprise.” —BILLY RAY CYRUS, at home, near Nashville, in 1999 with wife Tish and children (from top left) Brandi 13 Braison Chance, 6, Trace, 11, Destiny Hope, 8