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Elaine Aradillas
October 16, 2008 12:00 PM

Christmas came early for Dancing With the Stars‘s Julianne Hough.

Five months after breaking onto the country music scene, the professional dancer is releasing The Julianne Hough Holiday Collection, a Christmas CD available exclusively at Target.

“I picked all my favorites – the ones that I want to wrap Christmas presents to, or listen to at a big party,” Hough, 20, told PEOPLE after announcing this year’s crop of American Music Award nominees in Beverly Hills on Tuesday.

The album includes familiar hits such as “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Santa Baby,” and “It Wasn’t His Child/Mary Did You Know,” a duet with Phil Vassar.

Hough’s not the only country crooner with a new holiday CD – Sheryl Crow released a Southern-tinged CD through Hallmark Gold Crown stores, and Faith Hill recently debuted her first seasonal album, Joy to the World.

But Hough says there’s enough holiday cheer to go around. “It’s so timeless,” she says. “You can do these classics and put your own twist on it.”

Since she had to record her album in the summer months, Hough filled the recording studio with Christmas decorations and wore a Santa hat to help her get in the spirit.

When the holidays arrive, she’ll be heading home to her family’s home in Utah where she’ll continue their tradition of lounging in pajamas and sipping hot chocolate.

“We usually go to Utah because of the snow,” said Hough, the youngest of five siblings who grew up near Salt Lake City. “Snowboarding, skiing, sledding, snowmobiling – it’s pretty dangerous, but we’re all daredevils.”

Reporting by Marisa Laudadio

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