Annual defrosting of Mariah Carey impacts holiday music


Grace Hamilton (album cover used with permission from Virgin Records)

Christmas music brings cheer to many in December, but is it really reserved for the holidays? As Mariah Carey begins her annual defrosting, the singer’s influence shapes the spirit, media and lives of the community.

Ashlyn Tate and Galilea Birch

Pop singer Mariah Carey, often referred to as “The Queen of Christmas,” regularly acquires more than three times the number of searches on Google in November, according to Google Trends. The number of searches continues to increase throughout the holiday season.

However, once the holiday season comes to a close, holiday music enters a yearly recession as normal listening habits resume. So, this begs the question: is holiday music only good for bringing festive cheer, or does it, and Mariah, shape the community year-round?

Mariah Carey is well-known largely due to the success of her number-one hit song, “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” according to Official Charts. Her music reemerges year after year, more recently on social media platforms such as TikTok

Choral Director Dustin Francis said holiday music impacts his seasonal spirit and he appreciates the joy it brings into early winter. 

“It really helps set my mood for the season when it starts coming on,” Francis said. “I am of the mind that it can never start too early, so long as it makes me happy, and it does.”

I am of the mind that it can never start too early, so long as it makes me happy, and it does.”

— Choral Director Dustin Francis

According to an online survey conducted by The Standard Oct. 15-20 with 129 student responses, opinions regarding Carey vary, with 18% of respondents saying that they “want her to sign their foreheadand 3% indicating that she is “getting coal for Christmas.” Though, 46% of respondents believe she is “mid.”  

Isabella Gibson (’26) said she listens to holiday music throughout the entire year, with her favorite singer being Mariah Carey. 

“My fave is Mariah Carey, she’s just, like, an icon and my queen,” Gibson said. “She’s just the best.” 

Ninety-one percent of students indicated that they listen to holiday music during the festive season. Yet, 53.5% of respondents said they do not listen to holiday music outside the month of December.

Since he grew up in the U.S., Francis said his parents made sure they would avoid anything “Christmassy” until after celebrating Thanksgiving. But, Francis said music should also be a source of happiness and everyone is entitled to their own traditions.

“I think if it makes you happy to put it on in October or whatever, you should do it,” Francis said. “Just do what makes you feel good.”

Gus Bhatia (’25) said his listening habits are seasonally reversed as he chooses to listen to holiday music at unconventional times.

“It’s kind of funny, you know, I’m usually listening to holiday music in the summer and kind of when Christmas comes around, I tone it down a bit,” Bhatia said.

Bhatia said he is only drawn into the Christmas spirit during the summer, largely due to the collective lack of seasonal cheer in the summer months. 

“Man, the [sleigh bells] make me feel a different way, they really do, they really do,” Bhatia said.

Gibson said she continues to share her passion for her favorite holiday symbol. She said Mariah not only brings her regular happiness, but drives her to be a better person throughout the year. 

To me, Mariah doesn’t need to defrost, she was never frosty in the first place.”

— Isabella Gibson (’26)

“I aspire to be her, to be her is my goal in life… she’s just, like, the perfect human being,” Gibson said. “To me, Mariah doesn’t need to defrost, she was never frosty in the first place.”

Ultimately, Bhatia said Mariah Carey has had a profound impact on his musical career. When he learned to play the piano, drums and guitar for the first time, Bhatia said he learned “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” a Mariah Carey song.

“All I want for Christmas is Mariah Carey, and that is the truth,” Bhatia said. “I just, I really love this artist.”