Just days after she performed as part of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Carrie Underwood was back for another Big Apple holiday tradition: Christmas in Rockefeller Center.

The singer performed as part of the annual tree lighting ceremony, which took place at New York City's iconic Rockefeller Center on Wednesday (Dec. 1) and aired as a televised special on NBC. Underwood was one of several artists to bring festive holiday cheer to the event, along with Brad Paisley, Mickey Guyton and a host of other artists from an array of genres.

For her performance, Underwood kept things traditional with a rendition of the holiday standard "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," a song that dates back to the mid-1940s and was first performed by Judy Garland in the musical Meet Me in St. Louis. Frank Sinatra famously recorded a version, and it's since been covered by artists of all stripes, including Ella Fitzgerald, James Taylor and Tori Amos. Underwood herself included it on the tracklist of her 2020 holiday album, My Gift.

Underwood's live rendition was a tender, faithful take on the holiday ballad, emphasizing the special power Christmas holds to bring families and loved ones together. The singer wore a shimmering green-blue gown with dangling earrings to match, and performed in front of a backdrop of a roaring fire, lit candles, twinkling wreaths and Christmas trees. She was joined onstage by acoustic guitarists, a violin player and more musicians who added rich layers to her performance.

My Gift was Underwood's first Christmas album, and it focused heavily on seasonal classics. She chose to cut holiday favorites including "Silent Night," "O Holy Night" and "Away in a Manger," though the collection also includes a couple of originals, including a duet with John Legend called "Hallelujah."

In 2021, Underwood has continued to spread holiday cheer with the release of her "Stretchy Pants," a more light-hearted original number that offers a different perspective on the holiday season. The singer also made an appearance on this year's CMA Country Christmas special.

Top Country Songs of 2021, Ranked

You'll find much more than just the Top 10 Country Songs of 2021 on this list. Enjoy the 21 best country songs of the year, based on Taste of Country staff and country music fan opinion, plus commercial data (sales, streaming, airplay).

To be considered, the song must have been released in 2021 or have actively charted for a portion of the year (see "Wine, Beer, Whiskey"). New artists including Lainey Wilson, Larry Fleet and Morgan Wade crack the top songs list, while hitmakers including Thomas Rhett, Jason Aldean and Luke Combs make the Top 10.

Let us know your favorite song of 2021 on Twitter, or email us at staff@tasteofcountry.com.

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