Christina Perri: ‘I’m Such a Giant Christmas Freak’

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Was Christina Perri Santa Claus in a former life? The singer, probably best known for her hit song "A Thousand Years" from "Twilight: Breaking Dawn — Part 1," is so Christmas-obsessed, she has more than 300 holiday songs on her iTunes. So it would make sense that she recently released an album of her favorite tracks, A Very Merry Perri Christmas. Although she initially thought the hardest part would be selecting which ones to record — "because I'm such a giant Christmas freak" — once Perri made a list of her top five songs, it was easier than washing down a plate of cookies with milk.

The final product is a six-song collection, including "Please Come Home For Christmas," "Ave Maria," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," and an original she wrote with her professional guitarist brother Nick, "Something About December." Recording a holiday album "was on my list of things to do," Perri, 26, tells omg!. "Having been a Christmas fan my whole life, I kind of always imagined I'd do something like this. I just didn't know if anyone would ever hear it."

Perri was able to make her dream a reality during a very small window of down time between beginning work on her second album (her first, lovestrong, debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard charts) and getting ready for a tour. "We had a week off in July — well, not really off, we had to make a week in July to get it done — which is why unfortunately it had to be an EP," explains the "Jar of Hearts" singer. "God, I could have done several albums! They're my favorites and we had a week to do it, so that's what came out of it, and I'm unbelievably proud of it."

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So is it hard to get into the Christmas spirit in the middle of July, in perennially sunny Los Angeles no less? "Let me tell you, it's not hard for me to get into the Christmas spirit ever!" exclaims Perri, laughing at the ridiculousness of the question ... and her die-hard dedication to all things yuletide. "I always have it in me. It was easiest for me to get into the Christmas spirit, but as far as my band and crew and producers, I filled the studio up with Christmas decorations. I had snow, Christmas lights everywhere, a Christmas tree, and everybody was super, super into it. I even made everyone wear Santa hats when we were tracking. It was hilarious."

As for penning her own Christmas song, it was a daunting task for such a fan of the genre, especially since there's a very fine line between classics like "Silver Bells" and, say, "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." But with her brother's help, Perri was able to recall her favorite family holidays, spearheaded by their "crazy Christmas fan" mother, for the lyrics to "Something About December."

"I was a little bit afraid of doing that, but like I said I have so much Christmas spirit in me, I just needed to," says Perri. "[My brother] and I both travel so much that the theme of it that came to me when I was in Singapore and really far away from home and really missing my family and being super homesick, and it was April and I put on Christmas music in my hotel room, and I thought, 'Am I a total weirdo?' Then I realized, no, Christmas is just something that reminds me of home, which is what made me feel better. But I kind of think Christmas lives in all of us no matter where we are, and this is where the idea came to me. A lot of us can't go home for Christmas and we spend time being sad that we can't have a Christmas, when really Christmas is in us and our hearts."

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