The Story Behind the Most Popular Christmas Song of All Time

By Michael Vincent on December 7, 2022

Whether it’s playing in a store, an Uber, or on your holiday playlist, it’s difficult to go a day without hearing Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” during the holidays.

Along with perennial favourites “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Holly Jolly Christmas,” Carey’s song has become the go-to Christmas pop song.

The Queen of Christmas?

Initially released in 1994, the song first made the charts in 2004 and subsequently peaked every year for approximately 31 days before fizzling out in early January. In the 2010s, the song’s time on the charts increased to 40 days before reaching its peak at 78 days in 2019.

Search term: “All I Want for Christmas Is You” worldwide. (Source: Google Trends)

In a statement to NBC, Nate Sloan, an assistant professor of musicology at the University of Southern California. “It has very much to do with the emotional support we draw from this holiday.”

Since 2019, Mariah Carey’s song “All I Want For Christmas Is You” has debuted at No. 1. With more than 1.25 billion streams on Spotify alone, the seasonal smash is the most streamed Christmas song ever.

Since it was posted to YouTube in 2009, “All I Want for Christmas Is You” has received more than 738 million views.

From its success, the pop singer is making a lot of money.

According to an estimate by Yahoo News, the singer has received royalties from the song totalling more than $60 million.

Not so fast

Armed with the popularity of the song, Mariah Carey applied to trademark the phrase, Queen of Christmas. Her application was denied by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

“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,” said Elizabeth Chan, a composer who specialized in Christmas music, in an interview with Variety. “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.”

The trademark would have given her the legal rights to stop others from using the seasoned title on music, merch, and other holiday and non-holiday-themed products. Elizabeth Chan, a fellow festive singer, filed an opposition in August to block Carey from obtaining the registration.

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