Rascal Flatts are big fans of the holiday season. In 2016, they proved it by putting out their first holiday album, The Greatest Gift of All, on which the country trio blends tradition and fun, braiding a love for the sacred elements of the season with their signature goofball sense of humor.

That multifaceted appreciation of the Christmas spirit is nothing new to Rascal Flatts, however: Jay DeMarcus, Gary LeVox and Joe Don Rooney have a history of putting their own quirky spin on the special day. In fact, for guitarist and harmony singer Rooney, unique holiday traditions date back to his childhood.

"You know, growing up -- I don't know how it happened. I was the youngest of four kids, and every Christmas Eve, we would have Mexican food," Rooney told The Boot and other outlets backstage at the taping of the 2019 CMA Country Christmas television special. "Everybody'd bring a dish.

"We had a big family, especially my mom," he continues. "There were nine kids in her family, so there were lots of aunts and uncles, and lots of food every Christmas Eve, lots of Mexican food."

Though Rooney has lots of warm memories of this particular holiday tradition, he admits that he's also got some painful memories of the morning after those Christmas Eve Mexican feasts. "I had a lot of Christmas mornings where we were all sick!" he admits with a laugh.

"Yeah, you could find him on the toilet over at the Rooney house," jokes bassist DeMarcus, who adds that his family also had an unconventional Christmas dinner of choice during his childhood.

"We eat pizza on Christmas, and everybody opens one gift," he says, explaining that he carries on this ritual with his kids today. "That's kind of been our tradition, ever since I was a kid: Everybody gets one gift."

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