Christmas Q&A With Brenda Cay

What is your current single and/or album? Drunk On Country Songs

What was a typical Thanksgiving meal look like for your family? A typical Thanksgiving meal looks like chaos, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Football is on TV while traditional food including turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, candied sweet potatoes, green beans, and rolls are cooking. My husband and I look forward to it because it’s rare for us to be able to eat dinner with our kids and their families these days. It’s not just our stomachs that are full – there’s a lot of love and laughter to fill our souls!

What were your Thanksgiving traditions when you were younger? Growing up, we always had a big Thanksgiving dinner with my grandmother and all my aunts, uncles, and cousins. After dinner, we would exchange Christmas presents which was great because when you’re a kid, you can never have too much Christmas!

How has your Thanksgiving celebration changed since you have become an adult? Thanksgiving has gotten a lot smaller. I grew up in Maryland and most of my family live in the Maryland/Delaware area so I don’t see them much now that I’m in Tennessee. My husband’s family is spread out, and none of them live nearby so we spend Thanksgiving day calling and face-timing everyone to catch up.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving Day memory? My favorite memory was the first Thanksgiving that I spent with my husband’s family. They drove down from New York to Maryland and we cooked dinner for everyone. I always make pumpkin pie and I remember my husband’s grandmother saying how much she liked my pumpkin pie. She was a great cook and always made huge meals when we went to visit so it’s special to me that she liked something that I made.

What are you most thankful for this year? I am most thankful for all of the people in my life. I have received so much love and support not just in my music, but in life, and I never want to take that for granted. I hope that I give that back as well. There is a line in Tim McGraw’s song, “Live Like You Were Dying” that always strikes me – “I became a friend a friend would like to have.” That’s who I want to be and I appreciate those relationships now more than ever!

Do you prefer artificial Christmas trees or real trees? I love the look and smell of real trees, but haven’t had a real Christmas tree in many years. Artificial trees are more convenient and can be left up longer.

When do you decorate your Christmas tree? I usually start putting up Christmas decorations around Thanksgiving, but this year I had my decorations up early in November.

What is your favorite Christmas song? What makes it your favorite? “The Little Drummer Boy” has long been one of my favorite Christmas songs. When my kids were little, I would sing them a song every night at bedtime and my daughter would often request “The Little Drummer Boy” which she referred to as the “Pum-Pum” song. We sang it all year – it didn’t matter if it was the middle of July!

What is your go-to holiday drink? I don’t really have a go-to drink, but if I were going to start a holiday traditional drink, I think it would be a chocolate martini. A friend of mine made me one at his New Year’s Eve party a couple of years ago, and it was amazing!

What is your favorite Christmas present that you have ever received? One of my favorite Christmas presents is an origami flower that my son made when he was in high school. He took the time to make it and then decorated a box and put the flower in it. I have it on my desk and can look at it when I’m missing him.

What were your Christmas traditions when you were younger? When I was younger, we always had a live tree and I enjoyed decorating it with my mom and brothers. The lights were my favorite and still are. On Christmas day, we’d wake up very early and open presents and then watch Christmas parades while my mom cooked dinner.

How have your Christmas celebrations changed since becoming an adult? I think as an adult I am much more focused on giving! I love watching my husband and kids open gifts that I know will make them happy. We still celebrate in much the same way as when I was a kid; although I don’t think my kids got up as early as I did.

What is your favorite Christmas memory? One Christmas when I was about eight years old, my mom told us not to wake her up at 5 a.m. to open presents. What all four of us kids heard was “not to wake mom up.” We all went out that morning and quietly opened our presents. She was very upset when she came out and we had already opened everything. Turns out she really meant for us to stay in bed so she could sleep later. She never did believe that we misunderstood!

How do you spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day? The week between Christmas and New Year’s is a time when my husband and I try to relax and unwind. We might go to a movie or just hang out with family and good friends.How do you spend New Year’s Eve?Most years we spend New Year’s Eve at home. When I was a kid, my mom would always have a big tray with finger foods and snacks and that is a tradition that I have kept with my husband and kids. We snack and play games and watch the countdown on TV.

What do you typically eat on New Year’s Day? We don’t have any New Year’s day traditional foods. I think we’re usually still eating leftovers from Christmas!

Do you have a New Year’s Resolution for 2022? I have never been one to make New Year’s resolutions. I can say that I plan on writing lots of new music in the coming year and sharing it. I’m looking forward to 2022 and all it has to offer.