Recording a holiday album was always on Gwen Stefani’s “bucket list,” but she never thought she’d get her own Christmas special.
ET’s Nancy O’Dell sat down with the 48-year-old singer as she filmed Gwen Stefani’s You Make It Feel Like Christmas for NBC, where she opened up about what a dream it was to tape — and which performance made her mom, Patti Flynn, cry.
“I wrote this song on the new album called ‘When I Was a Little Girl.’ I was fantasizing about how when I was little, I can remember laying in my bed at 8 or 9 [years old], dreaming about who I’m going to love when I grow up,” Stefani said. “Who’s that person going to be? I’m going to have babies…just all those fantasies… I remember that moment, praying to God, going, ‘Who am I going to love?'”
“It’s interesting because you really don’t realize what love can do and how dangerous it can be, and how it can break you…and save you at the same time. I feel like it’s very Christmassy, because Christmas is about being saved, really,” she continued, seemingly referencing her boyfriend, Blake Shelton. “I think that when you’re a mom, all you really care about [is your kids’] happiness, right? Nothing really else really matters, and I think that’s probably what she still feels.”
Stefani’s dad, Dennis, also helped set the emotional mood during her performance, as a compilation of home movies that he created for his daughter’s 40th birthday played in the background.
“My mom, she kept saying, ‘You’re going to do this Christmas special, I’m just excited for that!'” Stefani shared. “For us, it would be something no one would ever expect in my lifetime [that] I would get to do something like that. And for NBC. I’m so excited.”
“There’s some happy, joyful times happening,” she confessed. “I sometimes just feel like I’m in a dream. Especially when it comes to being able to fulfill some of my fantasies…Just the costumes alone in the special. Just to put on a star dress made out of beads this morning [was unbelievable].”
Stefani’s got her costumes and performances down, but she’s recruiting some help for other parts of the special. Shelton, Ken Jeong, Seth MacFarlane and NE-YO are all set to make appearances, but it’s Chelsea Handler’s cameo Stefani couldn’t help but gush about.
“It’s really hard when you’re busy doing your own career and projects to jump onto somebody else’s project, and Chelsea, my homie, I love you, she came out and did a skit with me,” she revealed. “She plays sort of her like herself, like a drunk Elf on the Shelf girl.”
“No, I’m not kidding,” Stefani insisted. “The thing about Chelsea that people don’t realize is she’s quite bold and outspoken and so smart and intimidating, [but] she has such a huge big heart, and she’s been such a cool friend to me, so I’m lucky she came down.”
“It’s really funny.” she added. “I love her.”
You Make It Feel Like Christmas is available now. Stefani’s holiday special airs Dec. 12 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
See more from ET’s interview with Stefani in the video below.