What a gift we received this year when the Pistol Annies put out a Christmas album. Hell of a Holiday was released on Oct. 22, and it sounds like it might have been a bit unexpected to the artists, too.

Speaking to People, Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley say that they were interested in a holiday project, but Miranda Lambert was not. The country star was feeling burnt out on traditional Christmas music, and she had no desire to record the same songs everyone else had.

Her Annies bandmates continued to bring up the idea, but it wasn't until Lambert heard Sia's Christmas album Everyday Is Christmas that something changed in Lambert's heart.

"It was like, 'Oh, fresh and originals,'" she reveals. "That got me loving Christmas music again because it was fresh. It opened my heart."

Much to the delight of the other two Pistol Annies members, that's when the holiday switch flipped. "We should thank Sia big time that this record happened," Monroe jokes.

On top of that, Lambert was the one who suggested the title Hell of a Holiday.

The Christmas project features 10 original songs, including the title track. And despite being sick of the same old holiday songs, the trio ended up recording three classics: "Sleigh Ride," "Auld Lang Syne" and Merle Haggard's "If We Make it Through December" all made the cut.

The Annies say it was the covers that threw them a bit of a curveball, because it wasn't easy putting their country spin on such popular songs. But according to Lambert, it was important for them make the album their way.

"We weren't going to force it," she explains. "We never force it. But we got in the spirit big time."

The Annies got together at Lambert's house in the fall of 2020. It was around Halloween time, but Lambert already had the Christmas tree set up, so the girls put on Christmas sweaters and made hot toddies, and it was game on.

"Happy Birthday" was the first song they wrote for the project, and it became their guiding light. "I don't think it really even started as a, 'We're gonna write a Christmas song,'" Presley says. "That song, to me, is just like an Annie song that occurs at Christmas time. That set the tone for the record."

Monroe reveals that they put a lot of thought into the album and considered the impact it would have on those listening. "We took into account how serious it is to come into everyone's home and everyone's life and everyone's memories every year," she says. "We respected that we would hopefully make memories with our fans and their families every year because Christmas music is so powerful when it hits you."

The first single off the album, "Snow Globe," was written while Pistol Annies were recording the album. It was Lambert who suggested a song with that name, and they wrote it in 15 minutes during a lunch break.

As for their favorite song? You'll want track No. 9, "Believing."

"It sparks that childlike feeling, at least for me and other people that I've played it for," Presley confesses. "The innocence just resonates with me. I have like a hundred nieces and nephews, and that's the one they all responded to the most. In fact, my little cousin Charlie shed a tear, and he's on a naughty list just about every year."

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