It’s the greatest gift of all.  The gift of life.  And that gift takes on added significance when it happens on the biggest gift day of the year, Christmas!  And quite a few country music celebrities celebrate their birthdays on Christmas Day.

On this side of the border, the beautiful Leah Daniels, of Uxbridge, Ontario, celebrates her birthday on the big day.  And considered to be “one to watch” back in the early 1980’s, multi-instrumentalist Chris Krienke turns 51 this year.  The Thunder Bay musician specialized in playing the banjo and fiddle.

Among the country music pioneers who shared birthdays on Christmas Day were bluegrass musician Curly Seckler and Alton Delmore.  Born in 1919, Seckler was part of Flatt & Scruggs’ Foggy Mountain Boys, while Alton was half of the Delmore Brothers, whose harmonies influenced such legends as Bob Dylan and The Everly Brothers.  Curly died last year two days after his 98th birthday and Alton passed away in 1964 at the age of 55.

Actress Sissy Spacek is also a Christmas baby.  Having won an Academy award for her portrayal of Loretta Lynn in the film “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Sissy also appeared in the movie “Four Christmases” ten years ago.

Alabama singer and actress Alecia Elliott, who was discovered by Lorrie Morgan, turns 36.  “Margaritaville” singer Jimmy Buffett celebrates his 72nd birthday on Christmas.  Jimmy’s done two Christmas albums in his career:  1996’s “Christmas Island” and “Tis the Season” two years ago.

Barbara Mandrell is probably the most famous of the country Christmas babies.  Born in 1948, the Country Music Hall of Fame member and two-time Country Music Association (CMA) Entertainer of the Year released her well-received “Christmas at Our House” album in 1984.  “It Must Have Been the Mistletoe” is my favourite holiday song of hers.

But Steve Wariner has an extra-special holiday connection.  He once said, “I love Christmas music, maybe because I was born on Christmas Day.  I guess that makes me a sucker for Christmas music.”  It’s not the two Christmas albums Steve has recorded (“Christmas Memories” in 1990 and “Guitar Christmas” in 2010) or his great version of the song “Tennessee Christmas” that’s extra-special.  It’s his middle name.  His parents, obviously moved by his arrival on Christmas, decided on the middle name of Noel.

Merry Christmas…and Happy Birthday!