For Big & Rich’s Big Kenny, the best Christmas gift he’s ever received is a simple piece of paper with very potent words written on it. His father gave him a letter full of memories and advice a few years back that Big Kenny cherishes.
“He spoke of all of his memories of my life through my ups and downs,” Big Kenny said. “He told me he was proud and loved me through it all and his greatest words come in the last paragraph, ‘…be at Peace with yourself, be at Peace with everyone around you and most important be at Peace with God.’”
Fruit cake isn’t usually a favorite when it comes to Christmas desserts, but Big Kenny is the exception to the rule. His grandmother’s fruit cake was one of his favorites, if for no other reason than the memories it holds. “My grandmother would always make homemade Fruit Cakes,” he said. “They were as dense as an energy bar and chewy as beef jerky. I miss my Grandmas and Christmas always brings their tremendous strong spirits back so close to my heart.”
The father of two young boys, ages 6 and 2, Big Kenny has a Christmas tradition from his childhood that he plans to pass down to them. “I will never forget being about the age of my boys now and sitting on my Daddy’s lap and watching Burl Ives’ version of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer,” he said. “And I’m gonna love on my kids as much as I can and watch it with them again this year.”
For new country band The Farm, their favorite childhood Christmas memories are all centered around family and music.
“Some of my favorite holiday memories are playing music around the piano at my grandparents’ house on Christmas Day after everyone has opened presents and gotten fat off of my Grandma’s cooking,” Nick Hoffman said. “When I was younger, I would need a little prodding to get my fiddle out, but once it was out, I wouldn’t put it away! My Grandma would sit at the piano, my Grandpa would play stand-up bass, and we would play old Scandinavian tunes and Christmas songs for hours. When I was younger, I didn’t realize how special those moments were, but I definitely cherish those memories now.”
Some of my best memories as a child around the Christmas Holiday was singing in church!” Damien Horne said. “We would put together Christmas plays and friends and families would be there as we recreated the birth story of Jesus. I remember playing various parts like a star, a goat and even a wise man. We would drink eggnog after church and my family would all be together. Great times.”
Christmas is a little bittersweet for The Farm’s Krista Marie. “It reminds me of my father, how much I miss him and how wonderful he and my mother always made Christmas,” she said. “I miss the sound of his accordion and the smell of our family-owned meat market smoking Christmas hams.”
One of her favorite memories with her father around the holidays was selecting the family Christmas tree on their own land. “I was eight-years old, give or take, and Dad decided we’d go out back on our land and I could pick out our tree,” she said. “He patiently cruised for well over an hour until I had found the perfect one. To this day, I still pick out my own tree and smile, knowing dad is with me.”