Full Recap Of “CMT Presents: A Cody Johnson Christmas”


On December 13, 2023  CMT aired a one-of-a-kind Christmas special from Cody Johnson that was sure to get y’all in the holiday spirit.

CMT Presents: A Cody Johnson Christmas was announced on December 1st. The announcement read, “Johnson and his family invite viewers into their family traditions, share their favorite holiday memories and Johnson performs an assortment of timeless Christmas songs.”

Johnson opened the show by turning on his record player – which he references later – and playing a vinyl of his version of Willie Nelson’s “Pretty Paper.” He had his band playing with him as well as a few background singers, and they sounded heavenly!

Next, Johnson spoke about his record player that they keep in the kitchen. He explained that they have a huge stack on just Christmas vinyls next to it, and it is his way of giving his daughters a “sneak attack at a country music education.”

“The truth is, music is the biggest tradition that we have,” he told the cameras.

Introducing the next song, Johnson said, “This song is about doing something all year long that we do once a year. Evry time we get around to Christmas, we treat people better, we tell them we love them, we buy them things, we do for other people before ourselves, and that’s what inspired this next song.”

He dove into his original song “Christmas All Year Long,” which was written by one of his best friends and mentor, Trent Willmon.

After he finished that song, Johnson took some time to speak about the next song, which had a very special meaning to him.

He said, “One year, right after [Brandi and I] got married, we were broke. Like broke, broke. Like ramen noodles was a luxury kind of broke,” Johnson told the audience. “We went to my mom and dad’s house and I took $20, I didn’t know this at the time, but it was the last $20 for the rest of the month.”

As they drove home, Merle Haggard’s “If We Make It Through December” came on the radio and the newlyweds cried as they wondered how they were, in fact, going to make it through the month. When they arrived home, Brandi unpacked leftovers Cody’s mom had sent with them, while Cody checked the mail.

In the mail were two unexpected songwriting checks from ASCAP, the first of many Cody would receive over the next several years.

“They were $2500 a piece. I walked in the house and we cried again. And then we pushed the couch up close to the tv and we heated up the leftovers and we watched It’s a Wonderful Life. And then we cried again,” Cody said. “So that is why I’m playing you this song tonight. Merle, thank you for writing this song.”

Brandi was seen wiping tears from her eyes as Cody told the story.

Cody spoke about his non-country influences, like Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Elvis Presley before diving into a rendition of Presley’s “Santa Claus Is Back In Town.”

While he did not shake his hips as much as The King did, he did give the song a little more attitude than we are used to seeing from him!

After the next commercial break, Johnson changed into a classy white tuxedo so he could “dress like Dean [Martin], sing like Frank [Sinatra], and include the big band.”

He dove into “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” after revealing he was going to “class it up a bit” for the next couple songs.

He followed up that classic with “White Christmas,” while still in his white tuxedo. The special then transitioned over to Cody talking about how he and his daughters, Cori and Clara, bond over singing before diving into a short performance of “Silent Night” with his girls.

Johnson changed back into his original outfit before introducing “Hat Made Of Mistletoe,” a song he calls “cheeky!” But, he said he had so much fun writing it with his good friend and loved that it took on a new life when it got an Internet dance made for it!

While he did not perform the dance, he did perform the song!

Johnson’s parents, Sheila and Carl, joined him for the next song, “Away In A Manger.” Cody and Sheila stood around a grand piano, while Carl sang and accompanied them on it.

Cody ramped it up for the finale number, “Feliz Navidad!” He was joined by his friends, who he referred to as “brothers,” Kevin Fowler and Roger Creager, the trio brought a little “Tex Mex” to the audience!

To watch CMT Presents: A Cody Johnson Christmas in its entirety, click here

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