She was born on Christmas Day, so it's amazing that Annie Lennox hasn't made a Christmas album before. But this holiday season saw the arrival of her very first: "A Christmas Cornucopia."
It's a collection of traditional holiday carols that Lennox sang as a child growing up in Scotland. In addition to well-known songs such as "Silent Night," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "The First Noel," the album features songs that are not well known in America but popular in Europe, such as "Angels from the Realms of Glory" and "The Cherry Tree Carol."
"I just had the best time recording this album," Lennox told ABC News Radio. "It's just beautiful. The songs I've sang since I was a little kid have lasted with me all my life. And I just knew, one time, [I needed to] put them down for posterity."
Lennox says she's not religious, but what appeals to her about these Christmas songs is the fact that, she says, "they've been going through the decades, and whole centuries, really, and still, to this day, they are fresh and beautiful and powerful."
The most important track on the album to Lennox, though, is "Universal Child," an original song she wrote after being inspired by the plight of mothers and children with HIV/AIDS in Africa. As for why it fits on a Christmas album, Annie explains, "The story of the Nativity is about the birth of a baby, and as an HIV/AIDS campaigner, I see how children are affected by poverty and the pandemic." She adds, "[The song] takes [the album] into today and it sums it up. After you've heard all the carols, you hear 'Universal Child,' and that is the theme of the Cornucopia."
All her proceeds from the song will go to support The Annie Lennox Foundation, which works to bring awareness to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
As a child, Lennox says that she was always fortunate enough to receive both a Christmas present and a birthday present on December 25. However, she says gifts back then were very different than they are now: "I used to hang a stocking up. This is where you get really sad, folks. I would just get a tangerine and some nuts and some of those gold pennies with chocolate inside. And that was great!"
Mariah Carey: Queen of Christmas 2010?
If there's any celebrity who deserves the title of Queen of Christmas 2010, it's got to be Mariah Carey. In the last few months, she released a new Christmas album and scored a bona fide, chart-topping Christmas hit with "Oh Santa."
The festive diva also starred in her own ABC Christmas special and sang on NBC's Christmas in Rockefeller Center special. On top of that, she performed for President Obama and his family on the annual TNT special Christmas in Washington.
Oh, and her song "All I Want for Christmas Is You" continues to be one of the most popular holiday tunes ever, topping Billboard's chart of the 100 Most Popular Seasonal Songs.
Carey said that she believes "All I Want for Christmas Is You," which first came out in 1994, continues to be so popular, year after year, because its sound truly is timeless.
"It didn't really seem like, 'OK, this is done in the 1990s,'" she said. "It almost felt like an older song, like from the fifties or sixties. And to me, part of the success of the song is because I wasn't trying to be current. I was trying to do sort of a retro thing."
In past years, Carey has celebrated Christmas by taking hubby Nick Cannon and a bunch of friends to Aspen, Colo., where they enjoy sleigh rides, jumping into hot tubs and literally rolling in the snow. That won't be happening this year, though, since Carey is pregnant with twins.
But she says that's not her favorite Christmas activity anyway. "One of the things we really like to do is go to church on Christmas and have, like, a candlelight moment," Carey told ABC News Radio. " That's been a really kind of intimate, real Christmas tradition that we have, as well as all the other silly stuff that I do."
There's one tradition she will definitely miss this year due to her pregnancy, though -- drinking hot chocolate with butterscotch schnapps.