Mariah Carey is speaking out about how, despite her “messed-up” childhood, she found joy in Christmas.
In a new interview for the December cover of W Magazine, the 52-year-old singer discussed the origin story of her hit song “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” which has been on the Billboard Top 100 chart every holiday season since its release in 1994, and why Christmas is special to her.
Carey revealed that it was her record label that first suggested she release a Christmas album in the early days of her music career. While she initially thought it was “a little early” for her to release an album like this, she eventually agreed because “well, I love Christmas.”
She told the magazine:
“I had some very sad Christmases as a child, but I always try to find the bright light there.”
She wrote her 1994 hit while up late one night playing with a keyboard and walking around the house she once shared with ex-husband Tommy Mottola, according to the five-time Grammy winner.
“I didn’t want it to feel specific to any era, so we didn’t use sounds that were happening at that time. That way, it would feel classic and timeless. But I could never have imagined that it would become such a major part of my life.”
Carey was also asked if Moroccan and Monroe, her 11-year-old twins with ex-husband Nick Cannon, are aware that “their mom is more iconic than Santa Claus.”
“Christmas makes me happy. People think I had this princess-style life or whatever, a kind of fairy-tale existence where I just emerged, like, ‘Here I am!’ And that is not what it is. When you grow up with a messed-up life and then you’re able to have this transformation where you can make your life what you want it to be? That is joy for me. That’s why I want my kids to have everything they can have. I want them to be able to understand that they can be anything they want to be.”
Carey revealed that her difficult upbringing increased her appreciation for Christmas.
She told the magazine:
“It was an extremely dysfunctional childhood, to the point where it’s shocking that I made it out of that at all.”
The singer also revealed how she spends the holidays at home.
“I create my own Christmas moment. I mean, Santa Claus visits us. He comes with his reindeer. I am not exaggerating—this is the truth. By the way, before my kids were born, I did all the same types of things. That’s just how it is with me and Santa and the reindeer.”
Carey tried legally trademarking the title “Queen of Christmas,” but the US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board recently denied her request. The board also ruled that she could not trademark the terms “Queen of Christmas” or “Princess of Christmas.”
Because of the rejection, other artists can continue to use the regal holiday moniker.
The board’s decision pleased Elizabeth Chan, who bills herself as “the world’s only full-time pop Christmas recording artist.” She was one of the artists who objected to Carey’s trademark application.
An emotional Chan told Page Six earlier this month:
“I did this to protect and save Christmas. Christmas isn’t about one single person — it’s about everybody.”
In a statement to the outlet, the “A Christmas Song” singer added:
“Christmas is a season of giving, not the season of taking, and it is wrong for an individual to attempt to own and monopolize a nickname like Queen of Christmas for the purposes of abject materialism.”