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For She & Him, music is an essential part of the holiday season

Bandmates Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, who recently released a 10th anniversary edition of their first Christmas album, talk holiday music and more in an interview with TODAY.
/ Source: TODAY

She & Him bandmates Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward are celebrating a very special anniversary this holiday season.

The pop duo recently marked the 10th anniversary of their first Christmas album, “A Very She & Him Christmas,” with a deluxe rerelease. In addition to holiday classics like “Sleigh Ride” and “Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree,” the new version of the album includes covers of “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” Madonna’s “Holiday” and the Wham! song “Last Christmas.”

“A Very She & Him Christmas” is an album that holds special meaning for both Deschanel and Ward.

“So many people have told us that they take that record out every year and play it, so we figured it would be nice to commemorate the 10th anniversary, add a few new songs,” Deschanel told TODAY in a joint interview on Zoom with Ward. “And, you know, it's been a tough year and a half, as we all know, so we wanted to do something nice that made people happy.”

“A Very She & Him Christmas” was originally released in October 2011.Merge Records

Also part of the group’s plan to make people happy: a brief tour that launched Dec. 2 in Santa Barbara, California. Ward cites the first She & Him Christmas tour as a favorite holiday musical memory of his.

“It’s just a beautiful thing to see people getting together, whether it be family or friends or strangers, in the holidays. And I think music plays such an important role in that, and just going to a concert and playing a concert and hearing people sing along, everybody knowing the words, it seems very almost like a Pete Seeger sort of extended family kind of an experience,” he said.

Singing has long been a holiday tradition for Deschanel.

“I would always just look forward to whenever I could get together in a group and sing harmonies, and whether that was with my choir growing up or, you know, I grew up going to church on Christmas and singing in church. And then also sometimes I would go caroling with some family friends or go to a caroling party,” she recalled. “All that singing over Christmas was just so magical and wonderful to me, and I love the feeling of being together with a group and expressing that joy and togetherness through song.”

She & Him will be on tour through Dec. 12.Eliot Lee Hazel

Aside from the tour, Ward, 48, is looking forward to seeing family for the first time in a long time this holiday season. Deschanel said she’s excited to bake, buy presents for people and spend time with her family, her two children and her boyfriend, “Property Brothers” star Jonathan Scott.

Deschanel said Scott, whom she met in 2019, loves Christmas as much as she does.

“It’s great because we both just really enjoy pretty much all the Christmas stuff and, you know, baking and eating Christmas food. And he likes singing too. I mean, we have so many (holiday traditions) because we both just enjoy Christmas a lot,” she shared.

Deschanel recalled how she was able to incorporate her love for singing when she filmed a Christmas classic, the 2003 movie “Elf” starring Will Ferrell. She said the role was “kind of tailored” for her in that regard.

“The director, Jon Favreau, knew that I could sing and he kind of put that part in there,” she explained. “And he knew I was a fan of Leon Redbone, who was doing a lot of the music for the movie. … So that was just extremely fortunate. So, I’m lucky.”

Deschanel remembered laughing out loud when she read the script for "Elf." The movie quickly became a holiday favorite following its release in 2003.Alamy Stock Photo

Deschanel, 41, said fans tell her a couple of times a week how much they love the movie.

“It's incredible what a life that movie has had,” she said, noting that she was in her early 20s when she filmed “Elf.”

“I remember reading that script and thinking how funny it was and how good Will would be, and I thought to myself, ‘Wow, you know, if this is really good, then people might watch it every year,’” she added.

“It’s funny thinking back on it now. I'm kind of proud of myself being so young and actually having that thought because I was, you know, it feels like a long time ago, which it was (laughs).”

Ward named “Elf” as one of his favorite holiday movies (and insisted it had nothing to do with the fact that Deschanel was on the Zoom call). Deschanel’s favorite holiday flick? The 1944 Judy Garland movie “Meet Me in St. Louis.”

For more holiday favorites from Deschanel and Ward, watch the video above.