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Dolly Parton Recalls the Year She Got a Baby Brother for Christmas

The Story Behind the Sibling's Collaboration on “You Are My Christmas"
by Alison Bonaguro 10h ago

This is a break you’re definitely going to want to take. As part of Instagram’s #TakeABreak series, Dolly Parton is sharing some of her best Christmas memories and stories from her childhood.

Like the one year when she got a baby brother for Christmas.

She recalls getting a catalog in the mail that she considered the family’s Wish Book. “And in the toy section, they had a walking talking doll. You could feed it water, and it would pee and cry tears. We wanted one of those dolls so bad,” Parton says. “So my brother Randy was a December baby, so my mama said, ’Y’all wanted a walking talking doll that did all the stuff, come over here to see your new walking talking doll: we had our own baby that year.”

And now you can hear Parton and Randy sing together on “You Are My Christmas,” off her new album A Holly Dolly Christmas.

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Then there was the year that her dad bought her mom a wedding band, after years of not being able to afford one. He hid it on an ornament on the family’s Christmas tree, and told all the kids that whoever found it would get the only present that year. Parton and her brother Denver both found it together, and their gift was a big box of chocolates that everyone ultimately had to share.

Because she claims she is older than Christmas trees, Parton’s holiday memories go way, way, way back. “Actually I grew up back in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee in a big family, and of course we didn’t have all the things that money could buy back then. So we kind of had to improvise to make Christmas everything that it needed to be. And of course my dad was very creative, and he would always go out with my brothers and cut down a Christmas tree from our own property and drag it in. And of course mama was so creative and she would always make things for the tree like these little ginger breads,” she shares. “We did everything that we could to make it special. And what was so great about it is that we all got to do it together.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.
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