Dolly Parton Gets Emotional Remembering One Christmas When Her Mother Got No Gifts


Dolly Parton grew up in the mountains of East Tennessee with her 11 siblings, and even though they were dirt poor, love was abundant in Dolly’s childhood. On her Holly Dolly Christmas Special in 2020, she recalled one of the most memorable Christmas holidays from her younger days.

The church had put money together so families like hers could get gifts. “‘Cause we had services, and everybody around our parts were very poor, so everybody was gonna get a little Christmas present. Even the grown-ups, the women, and you know, especially the kids,” she explained.


Everyone’s a child at Christmas

With Dolly’s mom, Avie Lee, having so many kids, they had run out of presents at her turn. “They were giving all the presents out to all Mama’s kids, so Mama didn’t get one,” Dolly said. The “Jolene” singer was heartbroken, even though Avie claimed it was alright.


RELATED: Dolly Parton’s Newest Record ‘Rockstar’ Becomes Her Highest-Charting Album

She recounted some lady asking her mother, “Well, Avie Lee, you won’t mind, will you? You have so many of the kids, they got so many presents.”

“I remember momma saying, ‘No, no, no. I understand. I understand that.’ I saw Mama over there sittin’ on the bench crying,” the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer painfully recalled.

CHRISTMAS ON THE SQUARE, (aka DOLLY PARTON’S CHRISTMAS ON THE SQUARE), Dolly Parton, 2020. © Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

Dolly offered her present

Little Dolly walked over and offered her present to Avie, who refused to take it but commended her kindness. “She didn’t make any noise, but I went over, and I said, ‘Mama, you can have mine!’ She said, ‘No, no, honey, I don’t want yours. But I love you because of your good heart,” Dolly said. “So because of Mama, I’ve always tried to have a good heart.”

CHRISTMAS ON THE SQUARE, (aka DOLLY PARTONS CHRISTMAS ON THE SQUARE), Dolly Parton, 2020. © Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

Besides her music, Dolly has continued to carry her “good heart,” which people love her for. During her 75th birthday, she called on her fans to spread kindness, saying, “Love is more contagious than a virus. So let your best self shine in a glorious light, and others will be inspired by you.”

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