The second annual Christmas country music extravaganza, "CMA Country Christmas," featured top stars of the genre performing Christmas carols for a live audience. Some of the performers talked with ABC, which aired the program Thursday night, about their perspective on the holiday and how faith plays a part.
Hosted by Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles, the two-hour holiday special attracted such country personalities as "American Idol" runner-up Lauren Alaina, Amy Grant, Faith Hill, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, "American Idol" winner Scotty McCreery, Kellie Pickler, Rascal Flatts, Darius Rucker, Sugarland, Keith Urban, and Vince Gill, who sang a special duet with Miss Piggy.
Here is what some of the stars had to say about Christmas and their Christian faith in video interviews produced especially for the network.
"American Idol" runner-up Alaina shared her thoughts on the tradition of Christmas in her family, and the importance of the faith element in celebrating.
"Christmas has always been a really big deal in our house," she said in an interview for ABC. "We go all out on Christmas, it's just been very important to us. Christmas is all about the birth of Jesus and how important that is. And I feel that a lot of times people forget that, but it really is all about him and it’s a time to go together and celebrate with your family, and know that you have them and how blessed you are to have the things you have in life and just to be thankful for everything."
Alaina's debut studio album, Wildflower, was released in October 2011.
Little Big Town
Family is the value that all the band members mentioned in unison as priority when asked about associations with Christmas.
"Being close and connecting with your loved ones is what matters" in this "special time of the year," band member Phillip Sweet added.
The musicians also shared their memories of favorite Christmases of the past, including acting in a nativity scene at a local church as a child.
Christmas has been a special, faith-based time in McCreery's family, he said.
"There's nothing wrong with Santa, but it's more about the true meaning of the holiday. You know, Christ's birth," said the artist who captured the hearts of millions of Americans and won the tenth season of American Idol on May 25.
The country-duo Sugarland’s singer Jennifer Nettles was hosting the show, wearing a dazzling and Christmas-themed outfit.
"I was thrilled when they invited me to come back and host again," Nettles said about the experience of putting the show together on stage.
The singer quietly married her longtime beau, entrepreneur Justin Miller, in a small ceremony in Tennessee last weekend.
Miss Piggy, however, did not have much to say about faith, but she did share a little about her plans for the holidays with Kermit the Frog.
The "CMA Country Christmas" 2011 program, produced annually by the Country Music Association, will air again on Saturday, Dec. 17, on ABC from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. EDT.