If there is one thing in life that is certain, it’s that Mariah Carey is the Queen of Christmas.
It’s only mid-August, but I find myself fighting the temptation to blow right past the end of summer, Thanksgiving, and get straight to the best holiday of the year. And why am I so eager? Because as the months go on and the days get shorter, I can taste the first few seconds of "All I Want For Christmas Is You", that’s why.
I thought this was an uncontested fact – a universal truth, if you will. But Mariah’s attempt to trademark her rightful and well-deserved title of “Queen of Christmas” is being met with some resistance.
Last March, she filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The application was made public in July, and showed her requests to secure exclusive usage of the title along with “QOC”, “Princess of Christmas”, and “Christmas Princess”.
Her application argues she is tied to the name, and points to the fact that in 2021, Billboard crowned her “the undisputed Queen of Christmas”.
There are two singers pushing back against her – Elizabeth Chan and Darlene Love. While Darlene Love told us everything we needed to know by responding to Mariah’s trademark bid in a measly Facebook post, which I’ll get to in a second, Elizabeth Chan has actually formally challenged the application.
Chan, who released an album called The Queen of Christmas in 2021, explained her reasoning to Variety, arguing that Christmas transcends our time on earth. She went on to say, “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.”
But we can’t overlook the success of Mariah’s Christmas hit. Just to be clear, All I Want For Christmas Is You has topped the Billboard Hot 100 list several times and ranks as the most popular song of all time on the Billboard Holiday 100. Because of this song, she became the first artist to have a Hot 100 chart-topper in four different decades.
And it’s not like it was an overnight success either. When it was initially released in 1994, it didn’t even register on the Hot 100. She worked for it. The world, collectively, decided that this was a solid holiday bop and it gained momentum over time.
Now let’s get back to Darlene Love’s Facebook post. Bless her 81-year-old heart – and let’s make sure we’re giving her the respect she deserves. She’s been in the music industry for more than 50 years and she sang a bunch of songs on what Variety considers the best Christmas pop album of all time, A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector. And prior to David Letterman’s retirement, she appeared on his late show each year to sing "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" for nearly 30 years.
“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!” the post says.
Her fight is adorable and I truly admire her tenacity – but is this really the hill you want to die on?
In her statement to Variety, Chan points to the implications of the trademark, saying that “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.”
Mariah is a businesswoman. Her desire to trademark the moniker isn’t about recognition. She knows most of us already consider her the Queen of Christmas. For her, she’s doing this so she can make more money. (Sarah: This feels like the time Gene Simmons tried to trademark the money sign.)
Personally, I’d love to see all three of them together in an ensemble. Perhaps that would ease tensions and each party would get what they want out of it. Chan would be content that they’re sharing the stage, Love would feel like she’s proving to everyone she can still hit those high notes, and while I imagine Mariah would have a very hard time sharing the stage, if it’s what she needs to do to get her trademark secured, she just might.