Why Chocolate Covered Cherries Have Always Been Part of Dolly Parton’s Christmas Traditions

We love this sweet ritual.

If ever there was a year where we needed Dolly Parton, and we needed her in big doses, it would be this year. Thankfully, the Smoky Mountain Songbird has been very busy despite the challenges the coronavirus pandemic has given all of us. Now, we will get to reap the benefits of all of her hard work because this holiday season, Parton is giving us oh so many gifts. Her brand-new book, Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics, in bookstores November 17, a new Netflix Christmas movie, Dolly Parton’s Christmas on the Square premieres November 22, and if that wasn’t enough, Parton is bringing us her first holiday album in 30 years, A Holly Jolly Christmas.

Dolly Parton Christmas Album
Vimeo/Official Dolly Parton

Parton recently checked in on Southern Living’s podcast, Biscuits and Jam, chatting with us all about her new projects and sharing her own Christmas memories. “Christmas was just a special time,” she told SL’s Editor in Chief, Sid Evans. “And of course, Mama would always tell the story of Christmas and it was just a joyful time… She read the Bible a lot, so we knew the real story. So, she made that all come to life with us.”

Parton also reflected warmly about how no matter their circumstance or what they could afford for gifts, she and her siblings never lost the joy of the season. “We believed in Santa Claus. ​We lived far back in the mountains. He never found us. We believed in him. We figured he was going to find us one day. But in the meantime, ​we made a lot of things for each other, homemade toys, Mom and Dad made for us. And so, it was just a special time. It just felt different. ​And it just felt, you know, like there was some kind of magic,” she said.

Parton also recalled the simple but sweet gifts her parents always exchanged. “We didn't have the money to buy gifts, but Mama would always buy Daddy​ a pack of handkerchiefs and a box of chocolate covered cherries and daddy would always buy her a box of chocolate covered cherries and then they just swapped the box of candy, of course we all ate it, but it was just their tradition. And to this day, my husband and I do the same thing. I buy him a box of chocolate covered cherries and, and he buys me some.”

Be sure to listen to the whole episode of Biscuits and Jam here to learn more about Parton’s holiday traditions, her favorite Christmas songs, her friendship with Debbie Allen, and more. It will surely be a real treat.

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