We don’t want a lot for Christmas. There is just one thing we need.
And that’s a wish granted, because the Queen of Christmas is in overdrive this holiday season.
Mariah songs, Mariah merchandise, Mariah TV special, Mariah at McDonalds.
What’s that you say? If only you had a Mariah-themed fur-trimmed pet jacket so your pup could emulate her beloved Jack Russell terrier Cha Cha?
Or, as much as anyone with a pulse relishes Carey’s 27-year-old classic, “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” maybe it’s time for the Queen to drop a new holiday tune?
She’s got you covered with “Fall in Love at Christmas,” her new choir-filled ballad with Khalid and Kirk Franklin.
A sequel to last year’s delightful “Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special” on Apple TV+?
Yep, coming in December, “Mariah’s Christmas: The Magic Continues,” featuring Khalid and Franklin, will land on the streaming service.
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So is it just us, or does this year feel particularly chock-full of Carey?
“I go all out every year, darling,” she tells USA TODAY. “I love the holidays. It’s just my thing. I just have a special connection with Christmas.”
While Carey has shrewdly turned the everlasting success of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” – a romp deserving of unmitigated praise – into a seasonal stream of revenue, she isn’t exaggerating her affection for the holiday.
The downstairs of her Los Angeles home was decorated by early November, although she admits, “I walk past the room and I’m like, I can’t look at it yet.” By mid-December, she and her 10-year-old twins,Moroccan and Monroe, will make their annual pilgrimage to Aspen, Colorado, where the singer says three Christmas trees will be decorated and real reindeer will hang around in the snow.
The rest of us can experience a dash of Carey with the Mariah Carey Holiday Collection sold online as well as at Target and Walmart (blankets, socks, ornaments, a plush Carey and Cha Cha) or with a sip of her Black Irish liqueur (Carey suggests “treating it as dessert, after dinner”) while listening to Carey Christmas songs.
Carey, of course, has her own holiday favorites, which she (and pal Franklin) shared.
Q: Aside from your own songs, what is your favorite Christmas music?
Mariah Carey: I listen to a playlist of thousands of Christmas songs from so many different albums that not everyone may know. I love the “Jackson 5 Christmas Album,” always Nat King Cole and one of my favorites, Donny Hathaway. Even “The Chipmunk Song” is on the playlist! People who come stay with me, family and friends, it gets to be, like, Dec. 28 and they’re going, can we put (any other music) back on?
Q: Favorite Christmas movie?
Kirk Franklin: I love those (classic) animated ones like “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” even though the animation is dated.
Carey: Yes! Rudolph and “Frosty (The Snowman)” and “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.” There’s something nostalgic about it. I watch those every year with the kids. And you gotta love “Elf.”
Q: Are the twins still preparing for Santa?
Carey: Of course. Santa sees us every year.
Q: Do they leave him cookies?
A: I’m not trying to plug anything, but I do have Mariah’s cookies as well. And yes, (Santa) hangs out with us.
Q: Why did you decide to take the ballad route with “Fall in Love at Christmas”?
Carey: We were working in the Butterfly Lounge in Atlanta on a lot of different things, like a seven-minute version of “We Belong Together”… and it wasn’t about what type of song, it was about a musical place and a safe haven and we ended up with this. It’s not just a ballad. Once the choir comes in, it takes (the song) to a new place, a spiritually enhanced place. I can’t compete with “All I Want For Christmas,” but I love it.
Q: How did you come to collaborate with Kirk and Khalid?
Carey: We were in Atlanta after the holidays last year and my apartment was still being renovated. My music director Daniel Moore is based out of Atlanta, and lo and behold Tyler Perry texted me the exact day (I arrived) and I said, “I don’t know where to go,” and he found this house and we turned it into the Butterfly Lounge. Daniel and I started writing the song and Kirk came and we played around with some lyrics and ideas and he took it back to Houston and added the most incredible choir. I got the song back and it blew my mind.
Franklin: I was super honored for her to consider me. It’s no secret that some of the trailblazers have come from the church and the church community has always been a fan of Mariah and her style. She’s always been respected in the community of real singers.
Q: Your Apple TV+ special last year was so fun with Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson. What can we expect from the new one?
Carey: I don’t want to give anything away, but the gentleman on the phone with us (Franklin) will on there, as well as Khalid. And I’m doing another song that is a fan favorite that I didn’t perform in the first Christmas special. I really love what it looks like.