Update: On Nov. 23, the CMA revealed the songs that each artist will perform on the show: Kelsea Ballerini (“Santa Baby”), Gabby Barrett (“The First Noel”), Lady A (“Wonderful Christmastime” and “Little Saint Nick”), Little Big Town (“Christmas Time Is Here”), Tim McGraw (“It Wasn’t His Child”), Darius Rucker with Lindsey Stirling ("What Child Is This?”), Dan + Shay (“Christmas Isn’t Christmas”), Florida Georgia Line (“Lit This Year”), and Thomas Rhett (“Christmas in the Country”).
CMA Country Christmas is in its 11th year. “The idea for this year's show was to do a throwback [to] the great Christmas specials of the 1960s and 1970s,” says Robert Deaton, the show’s executive producer and writer.
“Andy Williams, Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra all had classic Christmas specials where the viewer was invited into the homes of the host to celebrate the holiday like a best friend coming to visit. That was what we wanted to create for this year's show. Instead of a big flashy production, we took a page from those iconic specials to say, ‘Come relax, and let’s celebrate the holidays together.’”
Paul Miller directed the special, which was filmed in September—without a live audience for the first time. CMA Country Christmas is a production of the Country Music Association.