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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This week and next, we'll be listening to Christmas music, from Cajun to gospel, some new holiday songs and some new takes on classics. Today, we start with pop music and a singer, songwriter whose career was launched a few years ago thanks to the website MySpace. After that, came a record deal and Colbie Caillat's debut single "Bubbly" was an instant hit.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BUBBLY")

COLBIE CAILLAT: (Singing) It starts in my toes, and I crinkle nose. Wherever it goes, I always know that you make me smile. Please stay for a while now. Just take your time wherever you go.

MONTAGNE: Colbie Caillat is a California native, which explains the title of her latest album, "Christmas in the Sand." Perfect for those of us in the Sun Belt, where there's not much of a chance of a white Christmas. The title track conjures up a memorable image - Santa in his bathing suit trying to catch a wave.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CHRISTMAS IN THE SAND")

CAILLAT: (Singing) But I saw Santa in his bathing suit, trying to catch a wave, but he tried to soon. He laughed so hard that he could barely breathe and washed up next to me.

I wanted to show people that Christmas isn't always about being cold, bundled up and in the snow. Other people live in warm, tropical places and decorate twinkle lights on their palm trees and spend Christmas in the sand.

MONTAGNE: One of the standards that you chose to sing actually has everything to do with the ice and the snow, which is "Baby, It's Cold Outside."

CAILLAT: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BABY, IT'S COLD OUTSIDE")

CAILLAT: (Singing) I really can't stay.

GAVIN DEGRAW: (Singing) But, Baby, it's cold outside.

CAILLAT: (Singing) I've got to go away.

DEGRAW: (Singing) Baby, it's cold outside.

CAILLAT: (Singing) This evening has been...

DEGRAW: (Singing) Been hoping that you'd drop in.

CAILLAT: (Singing) ...so very nice.

DEGRAW: (Singing) I'll hold your hands. They're just like ice.

MONTAGNE: That one is such a classic from such an earlier era. Did you worry at all about singing it?

CAILLAT: No, I love singing that song. You know, you hear the different versions all the time, and they put them in movies. And I love every rendition. I wanted to do one of my own.

MONTAGNE: The classic, I mean, the real standard Christmas song, "White Christmas," is not on this album. Did you even consider it?

CAILLAT: I did consider it. You know, once it came to recording, you know, I had to choose the ones that reminded me the most of my childhood and that I thought I could really add something special to.

MONTAGNE: Well, did "Baby, It's Cold Outside" remind you of your childhood?

CAILLAT: Of course. And, you know, I love the version in the movie "Elf." I love it when Zooey Deschanel's singing it in the shower and Will Ferrell comes in and is just so excited and doesn't realize how wrong it is that he's in there with her.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ELF")

WILL FERRELL: (Singing) What's the sense of hurting my pride?

ZOOEY DESCHANEL: (Singing) I really can't stay. I'll bet outside.

FERRELL: (Singing) Baby, it's cold outside.

DESCHANEL: Get out. Don't look at me. Get out.

MONTAGNE: That is actually really funny, because it reminds you of your childhood but your childhood is actually "Elf."

CAILLAT: Well, yeah, I mean, that was like 10 years ago, right.

(LAUGHTER)

MONTAGNE: Yeah. You know, the songs have a way of going over the generations and changing for each - there's other generations that would remember that song obviously from 1955.

CAILLAT: Exactly. Yeah.

MONTAGNE: What about this year? How are you going to celebrate Christmas?

CAILLAT: Well, we're spending Christmas at home in southern California this year. And my cousins and aunts and uncles, everyone's going to come over and cook family dinners and sit by the fire. And, you know, if it's sunny, then we'll maybe go lay out in our bathing suits by the pool. Who knows?

MONTAGNE: Colbie Caillat, thank you very much for talking with us.

CAILLAT: You're welcome.

MONTAGNE: Merry Christmas.

CAILLAT: Merry Christmas to you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CHRISTMAS IN THE SAND")

CAILLAT: (Singing) I love Christmas in the snow, but Christmas in the sand don't end. I tell you that's where it's at. Hawaiian Tropic on my skin...

MONTAGNE: This is NPR News.

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