It’s no secret that several staff writers here at THE 97 are members of the Lambily. After all, Mariah Carey’s Butterfly album was an inspiration for our name. From November through December, Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is ubiquitous, but not everyone is aware that she’s written several other classic-worthy Christmas songs. So, this Christmas season (#MariahSZN), we decided to spotlight the ten other original Christmas compositions penned by Queen of Christmas herself. Since December 1st, we’ve been devoting a day to each song, and our staff voted to offer our definitive ranking of the ten other Mariah Carey Christmas originals.
You’ll find abbreviated write-ups about each song below, with full-length articles for each song linked in the headlines. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas II You!
All of Mariah Carey’s Christmas Originals, Ranked.
In 2017, Mariah Carey’s holiday anthem “All I Want For Christmas Is You” was brought to life by Universal Pictures in an animated film of the same name. The film was based on a book by the songstress about a little girl and her desired puppy. Its soundtrack produced one new track, “Lil Snowman,” a rock-and-roll number that samples Chuck Berry’s classic “Run Rudolph Run.” Although it might not be as snappy (or memorable) as the other hits in the Queen of Christmas’s garlanded vault, “Lil Snowman” still has just the right amount of cheer for all ages. –John A.
One of the three original songs on Merry Christmas is “Jesus Born on This Day.” Mariah wrote the song with Walter Afanasieff keeping in mind the traditional hymns about the birth of Christ. The opening chords immediately set the atmosphere and the lyrics tell us the story of salvation brought upon earth on Christmas Day. This song is definitely overlooked because it doesn’t pack the same punch as the joyful and uptempo “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” but its simplicity is what makes it special. “Jesus Born on This Day” is worth the listen, if only to appreciate a different nuance of Mariah Carey’s abilities in writing Christmas music. –Mario M.
Mariah Carey wrote her first Christmas song in 1994, and it went on to become the most successful Holiday song of all-time. So, no pressure, right? Adding yet another original song to her Christmas canon is surely not a responsibility that the reigning Queen of Christmas takes lightly. “Fall In Love at Christmas” is the eleventh, and proof that Mariah is Queen for a reason. Carey has not lost her touch. Akin yet unlike any of her previous originals, the duet packs a variety of Christmas-favorites; it’s got all the bells and whistles — literally, and figuratively; musically, and vocally. Khalid joins Mariah for the fireside, Latin-tinged groove that makes up the bulk of the song, before Kirk Franklin brings in the choir for a moment of “grace upon grace.” The song serves a lot in its five minutes, and is the perfect chill counterpart to the frenetically festive behemoth by which all other Mariah Carey Christmas originals are inherently overshadowed. In time, we can only hope that this and her other originals receive their fair share of the shine. —Vincent A.
The religious aspect of Christmas was covered on “One Child,” Mariah’s first collaboration with the famous score composer and producer Marc Shaiman. Mariah wrote the song from the point of view of a storyteller narrating the story of Jesus from conception to birth. “One Child” is an epic moment on the album. The music is meticulously crafted to give shine to the story and making Christmas all about Jesus and the story of salvation for mankind. Among the bells and whistles and festiveness it is nice to remember what the true spirit of Christmas is, and Mariah was able to make it simple and real with this beautiful song. –Mario M.
Little-known fact: “Where Are You Christmas?” was co-written by the Queen of Christmas herself, Miss Mariah Carey. Why isn’t she singing it, you ask? That’s a great question. Read the entire story in our full length article. “Where Are You Christmas?” perfectly encapsulates the story of the Grinch with emotional power and an irresistible melody. It had all the makings of a holiday smash. Be mindful: At this time 1994’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” was far from the ubiquitous holiday staple it is today. “Where Are You Christmas?” could have been Mariah’s first holiday smash. –Andrew M.
In 2017 Mariah Carey was called upon to write and sing the theme song for the animated movie The Star. The Queen of Christmas re-united with Marc Shaiman for this task and the two came up with an epic ballad bearing the same title as the movie. The song, just like the movie, is clearly aimed at its core audience, children. However, there’s always something magical about the pairing of Mariah and Christmas that captures listeners of all ages. –Mario M.
“Oh Santa!” is a sort of frantically festive bop that works perfectly as a Christmas song; it’s high-energy with no shortage of cheer. Literally, the chorus is supported by a “Hey Mickey” inspired cheer for Santa to “make him mine this Christmas.” On the verses, Mariah’s quick-tongued, layered vocal acrobatics are best described as Destiny’s Child meets The Supremes. Fittingly, Ariana Grande and Jennifer Hudson lended their superstar pipes to the soundtrack, joining Mariah to create a trio-version of “Oh Santa!” that took the vocal acrobatics to the next level. In fact, dare I say, the 2020 version is actually an improvement upon the original. Don’t get me wrong, the 2010 version is an entire bop all on its own, but the “girl group” arrangement of the 2020 version gives freshens up the song with vocal variety, and added acrobatics. –Vincent A.
First released on her second Christmas album, 2010’s Merry Christmas II You, “Christmas Time is in the Air Again” is simply perfection. Composed by a pair who are independently legendary, together, Mariah Carey and Marc Shaiman literally crafted up magic. The exquisitely orchestrated ballad is has that classic, timeless feel that one would expect to hear from a vintage Christmas song. Lyrically, Mariah expertly weaves ornaments of Christmas into a relatable love story. Melodically and vocally, Mariah delivers on both fronts with a melody that sticks and vocals that warms the soul. There is no reason this song should not be perched among the most beloved Christmas songs of all time. –Vincent A.
Taken from the hitmaker’s second holiday album, 2010’s Merry Christmas II You, “When Christmas Comes” was written and produced by Carey and James Poyser. The R&B track features Carey’s unmissable, velvet-coated voice, layered over a heavy dose of soul, trumpets, and live instrumentation. Unlike many, many modern-day Christmas songs, “When Christmas Comes” takes you right back in time to days of holidays past, thanks to its classical, big band ensemble. Though, a voice like Mariah Carey’s needs no assistance, singer-songwriter John Legend skated his way onto the track’s single release version. With two of the biggest voices in R&B coming together to spread some holiday cheer, it’s almost impossible to think of a better way to get into the Christmas spirit – especially after their short but sweet “Jingle Bells” addition right before the song’s climactic ending. –John A.
Despite not joining the ranks of becoming yet another holiday classic, Mariah Carey fans have continuously shown “Miss You Most” some much needed love with each passing Christmas. And, even though we’ve never gotten a full live performance of the song by the chanteuse herself (except for a tiny excerpt in 2018), the Christmas ballad has begun to trickle into musical memory in recent years, having been covered by singer-songwriter JoJo and even comedian Billy Eichner on “The Late Late Show” last year. But this isn’t enough for Carey’s army of #lambs, who await and pray that each coming holiday season will be the year that “Miss You Most” earns a spot in any of the star’s seasonal projects. Now, that would really make all of our wishes come true. –John A.