Mandisa: A Singer Waits For Signs That 'It's Christmas'

Gospel singer Mandisa was a finalist on American Idol in 2006. Since then, she has received three Grammy nominations and released four albums, including It's Christmas in 2008. This year, she's revamped that as It's Christmas (Christmas Angel Edition), a mix of original songs and modern interpretations of classic holiday tunes, including the singer's favorite, "The Little Drummer Boy."

" 'Little Drummer Boy' is often a very somber song. I think the meaning gets lost," Mandisa tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "The fact of the matter is that we all have gifts and talents, and God wants us to use those to really just worship him. And for this little boy ... he couldn't sing, he probably wasn't a great preacher, but he could play the mess out of some drums."

Mandisa says that for her, the holiday season has no official start date. It begins, she says, only when she feels fully in the Christmas spirit.

"Certain things just remind me of Christmas," she says. "I never feel like it's Christmas until I've seen A Christmas Carol, It's a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. I wanted to celebrate the things that make it Christmas for me."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit


From Trembling Teacher To Seasoned Mentor: How Tim Gunn Made It Work

Gunn, the mentor to young designers on Project Runway, has been a teacher and educator for decades. But he spent his childhood "absolutely hating, hating, hating, hating school," he says.

How Do We Get To Love At 'First Bite'?

It's the season of food, and British food writer Bee Wilson has a book on how our food tastes are formed. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with her about her new book, "First Bite: How We Learn to Eat."

Osceola At The 50-Yard Line

The Seminole Tribe of Florida works with Florida State University to ensure it that its football team accurately presents Seminole traditions and imagery.

What Is Li-Fi And When Will You Use It To Download Everything Faster?

Li-Fi is a lot like Wi-Fi, but it uses light to transmit data. NPR's Scott Simon speaks to the man who invented the faster alternative: Harald Haas.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.