Dolly Parton Shares the Sweet Childhood Story That Inspired Her New Christmas Duet with Brother Randy
The singer wrote "You Are My Christmas” for little brother Randy: the Parton family’s “Christmas baby.”
The holidays have always been a special time of year for Dolly Parton, whose traditions still reflect the Christmases she used to share with her parents and 11 siblings in a tiny cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Dolly’s newest album, A Holly Dolly Christmas, is jam-packed with personal touches, but one track in particular shares an extra-special connection to her childhood.
On "You Are My Christmas," Dolly duets with one of her younger brothers, Randy, whose daughter Heidi provides the harmony.
"Randy was our Christmas baby," the singer explained in a video shared on her website, revealing that she actually wrote the song for Randy.
"We used to cry for one of those walking, talking dolls, when we were kids, that we'd see in the catalog. Or some of our relatives that had a little more than we did, they'd get one," Dolly recalled. "So, I remember the year that Randy was born around Christmas, Mama said, 'Hey, come here, look. We've got your own walking, talking doll. He actually cries real tears, he pees real pee, and he's like your walking, talking doll!'"
“You Are My Christmas” isn’t the only time Dolly, 77, and Randy, 66, have collaborated. He was also featured on her 1980 version of "Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You."
“I thought, well, we sing great together and this is a special time,” the country icon explained.
WATCH: Dolly Parton Shares Behind-the-Scenes Photo of Recording A Holly Dolly Christmas
With Randy on board, Dolly roped in her niece Heidi, and the nostalgic track became a full family affair. Both Randy and his daughter Heidi also happen work at the singer’s Tennessee theme park, Dollywood.
"So, I thought, 'Wouldn't it be great to have her sing that third part harmony on it?' So, I was real proud to have Randy and Heidi on the same record."
Heidi discussed the experience in another video shared to Dolly’s website.
“Family is just fun. Especially if you get along real well,” the music legend’s niece explained. “And when you have the talent that Dolly does, it’s always humbling.”
“Even just getting to be the most minute little portion of it is really exciting.”
A Holly Dolly Christmas, Dolly’s first Christmas album in 30 years, is available now.