Lots of Food and Loud, Cackling Laughter — That’s What Jennifer Nettles Says Georgia Christmases Are Made Of

ABC/Heidi Gutman

For Georgia native Jennifer Nettles, Christmas very often means a trip to the Peach State to reunite with her nearest and dearest.

“I have a big Southern family, so we are always centered around food, and there’s always lots of loud, cackling laughter,” she says fondly. “We don’t have anything specific beyond that, just trying to make the point with everyone in their busy lives to get together when we can, you know.”

Professionally, the Sugarland front-woman has certainly cultivated at least one yuletide tradition: hosting the annual CMA Country Christmas special on ABC. This year marks her seventh time at the helm.

“In the moment, the show is a bit of a blur, to be honest,” she confesses, “because I’m just so like ‘Go! Go! Go! Put me here! Put me there! Talk! Stand here!’ you know. But I do enjoy that live show vibe and rhythm and element and pacing.”

This holiday season, Jennifer also released her first solo yuletide set, titled To Celebrate Christmas. She’ll recreate her collaborations on the record with Broadway star Idina Menzel and R&B phenomenon Andra Day on Christmas Eve, when CMA Country Christmas re-airs at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

For the second year in a row, Jennifer also stars as Dolly Parton’s mother Avie Lee in a made-for-TV movie based on the icon’s life. You can check out Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love when it re-airs Friday night at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.

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