Dolly Parton has admitted writing Christmas songs is more challenging than anything else she's done.

The 'Jolene' hitmaker released the festive album ‘A Holly Dolly Christmas’ along with the Netflix movie ‘Christmas on the Square’ this year, and she says it was quite a task writing songs that she hopes will become timeless Christmas classics.

Dolly told Music Week magazine: “I think every songwriter wants to write songs that can become Christmas classics.

“You always think that everything that you can write about Christmas has already been done, so it’s really different trying to write a good song, a commercial song, but also something that might stand the test of time. I really had to focus, more than I do when I just sit down to write whatever I feel, or if I’ve been commissioned to do a song for a movie or TV show. I’m hoping that I’ll have a few on this album that will play year-in, year-out, and as new recordings by other artists.”

The 74-year-old country music legend explained that she decided 2020 was the year to release a Xmas record because everyone's spirits need lifting amid the coronavirus pandemic.

She said: “One of the reasons is it's such a good time for it right now, because of all the lunacy that’s been going on [this year]. So it seemed like a really good time to lift people’s spirits, and lift my own as well, because I had such a good time doing it. And, also, I had a chance to work with so many wonderful artists and friends of mine.”

The 12-track LP features guest appearances from Dolly's goddaughter, Miley Cyrus, her father Billy Ray Cyrus, plus Michael Bublé, Jimmy Fallon and Willie Nelson.

And the '9 to 5' hitmaker admitted she had to get her "little fairy goddaughter" on the record, because it might be the only Christmas album she releases.

She said of getting the 'Midnight Sky' hitmaker on the track 'Christmas Is': “Of course! I wanted Miley and Billy Ray both to be on this album, I honestly think of Miley, Billy and the Cyrus’ as family. I figured I probably won't do another Christmas album – I’m not saying that I won’t, but usually you don't do that many through the years – so I really wanted the both of them on it. Singing with Miley is always great, she's very special to me. She's my little fairy goddaughter; I’ve known her since before she was born, and loved her.”