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9 Reasons Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ Is the Best Holiday Song of All Time

by Chris Azzopardi 6:54 PM PST, November 25, 2014
Photo: Def Jam

The holidays aren’t here until Mariah Carey says so. But when you hear "All I Want For Christmas Is You" -- that’s it. It’s time.

That’s just the way it’s been since 1994, when the jolly diva dropped that musical gift under our tree. Now a ubiquitous modern-day classic, its tambourine-shaking, bell-ringing, high note-hitting joyfulness could turn even Grumpy Cat’s frown upside down.

VIDEO: Who Covered Carey's 'Christmas' Best?

Here are nine tributes to the original song that prove – even now, 20 years later – all we want for Christmas is Mariah:


1. Magic Mariah

Not even elves or jiving gingerbread men can upstage a diva (watch as she even throws them some shade). When Carey belted the tune in 2004 at the Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade, the magic wasn’t happening inside the kingdom – it was happening on that stage.


2. Holly, Jolly and Retro

The lesser-known music video for "All I Want for Christmas Is You" is sans ex-hubby Tommy Mottola dressed in a Santa suit. But who needs Mr. Claus anyway? With go-go dancers and background singers dressed like Christmas ornaments, this is Mariah in major girl-group mode, doing her trademark side sway and, thanks to those bangs, looking as characteristically ’90s as the song itself.


3. Love Actually

It ain’t easy covering Carey, but with two little lovebirds are sharing a Mariah moment to this song, it’s all over. Hearts swoon. Angels soar. When Sam (Thomas Sangster) and Joanna (Olivia Olson) got lovey-dovey to "All I Want for Christmas Is You" during 2003’s Love Actually, don’t pretend all that cuteness didn’t melt you quicker than Olaf.


4. Lip-syncing Sailors

Even Mariah couldn’t resist these sailors lipping her song in the shower, on the toilet, in a Geri Halliwell-style "Union Jack" dress. As this YouTube video featuring Britain’s Royal Navy hamming it up reached viral status, Carey herself tweeted, "This is the best thing I've ever seen, you guys just made my day!" A couple years later, the Chicago Gay Hockey Association got in on the festive fun – and sang! And did "Mariah Hand"!


5. Too Cool for School

We’ve never wanted to go back to school more than when Mariah and Jimmy Fallon, along with The Roots, lugged out the ol’ rainbow-colored xylophone and recorder (remember those?) for this fifth-grade jingle. You know, with just one of the biggest, best-selling female performers of all time taking lead. And also, with kids. And cleavage. 


6. It's Officially a Classic When...

Have you heard this holiday staple from a dog’s POV? How about CollegeHumor’s no-nonsense satire, "All I Want for Christmas Is Cash"? And what about the time drag queen legend Lady Bunny went all "bah, humbug!" on Carey’s carol, turning it into a NSFW affair – you’ve seen that, right?


7. Here Comes ... Justin Bieber?

"Extra Festive" just wasn’t festive enough, so The Elusive Chanteuse herself – during this "SuperFestive!"reissue from 2011 – was like, "Biebs, dahhhling, I’ll dress up like a MILF-y Mrs. Claus, and you’ll go shopping and not steal anything. Finally, we’ll look super cute in a sleigh, and I’ll add some of my signature whistle notes for all to hear at the North Pole."


8. Cartoon Carey

Jermaine Dupri to MC: "Yo, just use your magic wand." Because of course – why wouldn’t she? She’s the Almighty Mariah and, for this "So So Def" remix with Bow Wow released in 2000, an animated Carey channels David Copperfield – and not just on Christmas itself. Behold as she turns Frosty into Fabio as easily as nabbing another No. 1 single. 


9. Crazy for 'Christmas'

No one’s looking to remake Glitter anytime soon – but golly gee, is there someone who hasn’t remade Mariah’s modern standard? From Ariana Grande to Michael Bublé and Glee and Idina Menzel and your mom – and, most recently, this Fifth Harmony version – people just can’t help themselves. Mariah’s right: We don’t want a lot for Christmas. Just her song. Over and over.

What's your favorite version of the classic holiday song?


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