Dolly Parton Explains Heartwarming Story Behind Always Having a Live Tree for Christmas

by Taylor Cunningham
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(Photo by: Miller Mobley/NBC via Getty Images)

Dolly Parton agrees that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.

As it is for many people, the holiday season is filled with warm childhood memories for Dolly. So she carried traditions from her days growing up in Tennesse’s Smoky Mountains into her adulthood.

One of those traditions is decking her halls each year on the day after Thanksgiving. And the festivities begin when she searches for the perfect live Christmas tree, something she used to do with her entire family.

“I always want a live tree because Daddy would take us to chop a tree down,” she told Today. ” He’d look at all the trees and make us pick out the perfect one.”

“And we’d all want to hold the axe, but he wouldn’t let us because we’d have probably chopped each other to pieces,” Dolly joked.

Dolly Parton’s Parents Knew How to Add a Touch of Christmas Magic

Dolly Parton is one of 12 children. And while her family didn’t have much, Christmas was always a time of wonder because her parents made it their mission to add as much magic as possible.

“Momma was creative, and she understood that she had to tell the right stories,” Dolly continued. ” And she had to make it exciting. She could cook anything, and it would taste good because she would talk about the magic she put in it. She could get you there. Like, she mentally got you there.”

In the current day, the singer has expanded upon her yuletide trimmings. She and her husband of 56 years fill their Nashville, TN, mansion with more than a single tree. They cover the exterior with thousands of lights, and they hang wreaths from the windows and doors. Dolly also has a private chapel on her property, and she tops that with a special cross.

But she tries to her tree true to her Christmas trees from decades past.

“We didn’t even have electricity for lights on the tree,” she continued. “We had popcorn garland. That’s one of the things I have to have today. I never got over being country.”

Dolly Parton has always enjoyed bringing the Christmas spirit into her personal and professional life. But this year, she’s particularly ready for the season and has added even more holiday-themed projects to her list.

In 2022, she’ll celebrate a new, star-studded made-for-TV movie called Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas, which drops on Dec. 1st. That feat mixed with her many other holiday ventures earned her the title of “the new queen of Christmas.”

However, the 76-year-old humbly refuses the accolade.

“Now, don’t you say that! I’m not going to compete with Mariah (Carey),” she laughed. “I love her. You think of Christmas, you think of Mariah. I’m happy to be second in line to her.” 

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