The holiday season brings with it its share of traditions – from what we eat when we sit down for dinner, to what we want the tree to look like when we walk into the room to the music we listen to when everything else is quiet and at peace.

And it’s within that music that memories are often made. Sometimes all it takes is to hear a Christmas song performed in a whole new way.

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Thanks to the talent and incredible vocal stylings of country artist Kelleigh Bannen, two such holiday classics have gotten an update for the 2017 season. From her delightful version of “Deck the Halls” to her absolutely captivating makeover of the classic “O Holy Night,” Kelleigh is the perfect artist to create new memories this holiday season with music and accompanying videos that will have fans hearing these songs in a whole new way.

Christmas is a special time for the Nashville native, whose current EP, the critically acclaimed “Cheap Sunglasses,” showed off her immense songwriting talents. In fact, some of her favorite holiday traditions sound awfully similar to those we all share.

“We always open Christmas pajamas on Christmas Eve, and everyone pretends they have no idea what’s gonna be in the box when we open them,” Kelleigh tells Rare Country, when asked for her top 5 Christmas morning must-haves. “It is then mandatory that everyone wears their Christmas PJs on Christmas morning. In my family, my mom and I are always up first, and we sit by the fire first thing Christmas morning and sip our coffee and open our stockings together.”

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Indeed, coffee is another requirement in the Bannen household, especially on Christmas morning. “In this way, Christmas morning is just like every other morning,” says Kelleigh. “Coffee first, then everything else.”

“Everything else” includes another Christmas morning beverage staple — mimosas!

“[Make sure it’s] light on the orange juice,” Kelleigh jokes. “Cheers!”

As much as Kelleigh loves the holiday season, she also adores her furry friends that keep her company throughout the entire year.

“All the dogs in our house are decked out in a big Christmas bow, which they hate, but they tolerate because they all know there are dog treats in our stockings,” Kelleigh says of her family’s Christmas morning tradition.

Of course, once the holiday season is through, Kelleigh will be back to work continuing to carve out a career in country music that was propelled in 2017 not only via her music, but also the success of her “This Nashville Life” podcast. The podcast, hosted by Kelleigh and featuring music industry guests such as promoters, radio execs and fellow songwriters, gives Kelleigh a place to share her advice with countless aspiring country hopefuls looking to find their way in Music City.

Tricia Despres is a senior correspondent for Rare Country, based out of Chicago. Join the conversation on Twitter at @RareCountry. We would love to see y’all there.
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