Mariah Carey is a queen, of that there is no doubt. She’ll also forever be associated with the holiday season. Carey, her fans, and Billboard have all dubbed her “The Queen of Christmas.” It’s a fun moniker and not a totally inaccurate one, as of course, starting sometime just after Halloween, everyone in America gets inundated with her song “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” Now, Carey and her team want to trademark the term for her. Is it a good idea or pure ego? I know how I feel.
Yes, She Is A Queen
I’m not going to fight the argument that Mariah Carey is the modern pop music “queen of Christmas.” “All I Want for Christmas Is You” has sold an obscene amount of copies over the years — upwards of 16 million, according to reliable sources. It was a slow burn. The song first appeared on Mariah Carey’s 1994 album Merry Christmas and it immediately got added to the holiday playlists of mall stores around the country.
It would take more than a decade for the song to go gold and more than two decades to go platinum. By 2019, however, it was a certified smash. It reached number one on the charts in the U.S. for the first time that year. It topped the UK charts for the first time a year later. Now, the song is not just heard in stores and restaurants, it’s on everyone’s holiday playlists at home too.
Is Mariah Carey The Only Queen Of Christmas, Though?
Given the impressive success of “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” Carey and her lawyers have filed an application for a trademark on the monikers “Queen of Christmas,” “Princess Christmas,” and “Princess of Christmas.” For me, this is pure ego. Never mind that it makes no sense to be both the queen and the princess of something. Or the fact that there are over two billion Christians in the world that see Christmas as one of the holiest days on the calendar. Or that even more people celebrate it as a secular holiday, especially when it comes to the music. The idea that one person, a pop star no less, could be the only “Queen of Christmas” is pretty obnoxious.
For starters, how would many Christians feel about Carey being more important than say, the Virgin Mary on Christmas? What about the 100 million plus Anglicans and Episcopalians around the world who view Queen Elizabeth as the head of their church? Sure, she’s a figurehead, but she’s also an actual queen. Tossing around the name “Queen of Christmas” is a pretty bold move in light of all that.
Then There’s Darlene Love
Long before “All I Want for Christmas Is You” started coming out of every speaker in America each December, there was Darlene Love. In 1963, Love recorded “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” for Phil Spector. The song’s success is remarkably similar to Carey’s tune. It wasn’t an instant hit, as it took years to build up. By the ’80s, however, it was huge, and it would only keep growing in popularity.
Love first sang the song on Late Night with David Letterman in 1986, and it became a yearly tradition for her to perform the song on the final episode of Letterman’s show before Christmas for the next 28 years. In 2008, Rolling Stone ranked it at the top of its “Greatest Rock and Roll Christmas Songs” list. It was even covered by Mariah Carey on Merry Christmas.
It seems Darlene Love has good reason to push back on the idea that Mariah Carey is the only “Queen of Christmas.” In a Facebook post, Love made clear what she thinks of the attempt to trademark the name, writing, “Is it true that Mariah Carey trade marked ‘Queen of Christmas’? 🤣 What does that mean that I can’t use that title? 🤔 David Letterman officially declared me the Queen of Christmas 29 years ago, a year before she released ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ and at 81 years of age I’m NOT changing anything. I’ve been in the business for 52 years, have earned it, and can still hit those notes! 🙏🏾 If Mariah has a problem call David or my lawyer!! 👎🏾👑🎄🎶❤️ — feeling confused.”
There’s Another Contender For The Throne, Elizabeth Chan
Elizabeth Chan has been calling herself the “Queen of Christmas” for years, though she hasn’t attempted to trademark it. She’s pushing back even harder than Love, filing an official rebuke with the patent and trademark office in an attempt to stop Carey. In a statement to Variety, Chan sums up how ridiculous it is that Carey should be the only person allowed to use the term, saying:
“Christmas has come way before any of us on Earth, and hopefully will be around way after any of us on Earth and I feel very strongly that no one person should hold onto anything around Christmas or monopolize it in the way that Mariah seeks to in perpetuity. That’s just not the right thing to do. Christmas is for everyone. It’s meant to be shared; it’s not meant to be owned and it’s not just about the music business. She’s trying to trademark this in every imaginable way — clothing, liquor products, masks, dog collars — it’s all over the map. If you knit a ‘Queen of Christmas’ sweater, you should be able to sell it on Etsy to somebody else so they can buy it for their grandma. It’s crazy — it would have that breadth of registration.”
Really, there is nothing more to be said, Chan calls it out for exactly what it is. Mariah Carey is an amazing singer and one of the biggest pop stars of the last 30 years, but she’s not the only queen on Christmas.