Carrie Underwood is gearing up to release her first-ever full-length Christmas album, and in a new interview with Circle All Access Minute that debuted Thursday morning (Sept. 24), she opens up about what a joy the process has been, admitting, "I needed it" after a year that has proven so challenging.

Underwood previously recorded "Do You Hear What I Hear," “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “The First Noel,” “What Child Is This” and “O Holy Night” for a special holiday edition of her Carnival Ride album, which she released as a Walmart exclusive in 2007. She'd also done some TV and live appearances performing Christmas music over the years, but My Gift, which is set for release Friday (Sept. 25), marks her first dedicated Christmas project.

As Underwood says, "This just seemed like the year."

"I had to call it," she adds, saying that she and her team had to carve out the time after finishing the touring cycle for her most recent album, 2018's Cry Pretty. She wrapped the tour for that project late in 2019, and "as soon as the tour wrapped, we jumped right in," she says.

"It was just such a blessing in so many ways to my life this year, because of all the challenges we faced recording and writing and just working," she states. "It was something that I got to pour myself into creatively."

"It's like, I needed it," Underwood muses. "So I really hope when people listen to it, they're like, 'Oh, I needed this.'"

My Gift consists of a mix of Christmas classics including "Oh Come All Ye Faithful," "Mary Did You Know," "Silent Night," "Away in a Manger" and more, as well as some brand-new songs Underwood recorded for the project.

Underwood's 5-year-old son Isaiah appears with her on "Little Drummer Boy," and she also collaborated with John Legend on a song he wrote titled "Hallelujah."

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