“I’ve got 10 days, and I still haven’t written this,” Michael Bublé told me in a late October phone conversation about his new NBC holiday program, Michael Buble’s 3rd Annual Christmas Special. But given that the famed singer has done two of these before, and especially given the infectious Christmas spirit he displayed during our talk, there’s no doubt that he will come through in a big way once again for his fans.
Although he didn’t have too many details about the one-hour special when we talked, Bublé did say that it would feature guest stars Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige and Cookie Monster (Bublé worked with Elmo on last year’s Christmas special).
“There’s something for everybody,” Bublé said. “What I’m aiming for is to have a place that families can come and sit together and watch a really fun and entertaining show and sing along.”
This desire perhaps springs from his own fond Christmas memories of his childhood.
“My parents made Christmas a really great time for us,” he said. “They just gave us a lot of love. Because of that, it’s something that I really look forward to giving back to other families.”
During our chat, Bublé recalled a family Christmas memory that stays with him.
“Every year my dad would take me and my two little sisters into the garage, and we had an attic up there. I remember it being cold and he would let us go up there, climb up the ladder, and we would help take down the Christmas tree and all the decorations. That was kind of our start of Christmas. And it still makes me sentimental to think about it, it really does. I remember everything about [it] – how it smelled, how cold it was and that kind of musty smell of the attic. And just how exciting it was to put up that tree together.”
With a family of his own now, Bublé is anticipating the season even more.
“When it gets close to this time I start to get excited. It’s a real cynical world and cynical people, and I’m glad that I feel the way that I do about [Christmas]. Especially now that I have a little boy, it’s even more exciting for me. I can’t wait until he’s old enough to really process what’s going on.”
Both Bublé’s and other families out there will likely have many more of the singer’s holiday specials to process over the years, if Bublé realizes his dream of continuing these annual events.
“This is not me doing a one-off Christmas special,” said Bublé. “When I started talking to my manager and my production company about making these specials, when we talked about it being an annual thing, I felt it was really important for me to be a great host. That it’s not all about me singing all the songs. … I get to actually sit back and, with pride, bring my friends onto the show and let them [also] show off what they do.”
Bublé referenced his 2012 Christmas special, which opened with him walking throughout his hometown of Vancouver, Canada, and even featured him being digitally inserted into Bing Crosby’s 1971 Christmas special, as examples of the other sorts of things he’s interested in doing this year, and in years to come. He said he wants his specials to “be really interactive and wonderful and fresh and fun and sentimental and modern.”
“I know that music is a big part of [Christmas specials],” he added, “but I feel like I’m a young guy, and I think I have a pretty short attention span, and I’m going to guess that a lot of my audience does, too. … I get a little bit bored when I watch one of these specials and it’s just song after song after song after song.”
But, of course, there will be songs, and trying to get Bublé to name his favorite Christmas song is challenging, given his love of the holiday. He cited “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “White Christmas” and “Here Comes Santa Claus” as being among the holiday tunes he enjoys, before laughing and admitting: “Pretty much any freakin’ Christmas song!”
While he loves singing these songs, Bublé told me that he has no plans on following up his smash 2011 album Christmas with any more holiday records.
“I’ll never do another Christmas album,” he said. “When I made that Michael Bublé Christmas album, I set out to make a quintessential Christmas record. I wanted to make one of the greatest Christmas albums ever. I won’t do it again.”
Michael Buble’s 3rd Annual Christmas Special premieres Dec. 18 at 10pm ET/PT on NBC.