Mariah Carey’s “Christmas Time is In the Air Again” Through the Years

Vincent Anthony
3 Min Read

Mariah Carey’s honorary title as “Queen of Christmas” is attributed to the colossal success of her #1 hit single, 1994’s “All I Want For Christmas is You.” However, to be honest, that song isn’t even her best Christmas song. Nope. You didn’t read wrong. In my humble opinion, Mariah Carey’s best Christmas song is 2010’s “Christmas Time is in the Air Again.”

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. The song is structured into four verses, with no real hook — just the repetition of the song’s title. Really, each verse is like a hook itself, the way Mariah has skillfully structured it. Throughout the four verses, she mentions Christmas chimes and cheer, evergreens that “sparkle with lights,” falling “like the snow, so deep in love,” occupied mistletoe, and the memories that come along with it all. Even Christmas icons Mr. Grinch (who “can’t resist warming up”) and Ebenezer Scrooge (who “makes a Christmas wish for a honey to hold”) are mentioned.

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. To her credit, Ms. Carey has certainly done her due diligence in promoting the song throughout the years. Let’s go back in time, shall we (with the Ghost of Christmas Past)?

“Christmas Time is in the Air Again”
Live Through the Years

On her ABC Christmas special in 2010:

At the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting in 2012:

At Michael Buble’s Christmas Special in 2013:

At the Beacon Theatre “All I Want For Christmas is You” residency, 2014-18:

With Babyface, at Mariah Carey’s Merriest Christmas special, 2015:

On The Late Late Show, in 2019:

In Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas special, 2020:

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Vincent is the founder of the magazine and has had a strong passion for popular music since, well, 1997! If it's not obvious, his favorite artists include Destiny's Child, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, P!nk, and many more. Vincent lives in New York, where he is a high school English teacher, and currently he is pursuing a Master's in Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY.