The singer recorded the songs for It Must Be Christmas with his grandma in mind, because she was such a big part of past holidays, but she died recently.

And he's particularly upset she died before he could play her a copy of a festive tune he recorded with pal Brad Paisley.

"The First Noel just turned out so beautifully on this record," he told Taste of Country. "I couldn't have asked more from a collaboration with Brad."

This will be Young's first Christmas without his grandmother.

"I think that all those memories that she gave me and my sister and my family... are just special," he added. "She'll be missed, but she'll be remembered."

Young released his new album of festive favourites in October (16). As well as his duet with Brad, Chris also teamed up with Boyz II Men and Alan Jackson in the studio, and he admits he had a blast recording some beloved holiday hits - in his own style.

"When you start digging into something like The Christmas Song, how do you kinda let it have its own space but also make it your own?" he said. "I think the biggest thing with me is this is a country Christmas record. When I start singing on something it's gonna lean country immediately."