Review: I do not want to listen to “All I Want for Christmas is You” before December [MUSE]

Lorna Ding

Lorna Ding

There is a song that has appeared on the iTunes Top 100 Chart in December every year since 2013. According to Spotify analytics, the song begins appearing in the charts as early as Nov. 1 and reaches a 2000% increase in global streams from Nov. 1 to the end of December. That song is called “All I Want For Christmas Is You” (“AIWFCIY”) released by singer Mariah Carey in 1994.

“AIWFCIY” is essentially a love song but with Christmas undertones. Carey sings about how she doesn’t “care about the presents underneath the Christmas tree”; all she wants for Christmas is her lover. In fact, Carey co-wrote the song in 15 minutes and the simplicity of the lyrics may be the reason for its popularity—”AIWFCIY” is the first Christmas song to hit #1 on the music charts since 1958.

With its catchy lyrics and jingle bells ringing in the background, “AIWFCIY” is arguably one of the most iconic Christmas songs at least in recent years. Hearing “AIWFCIY” immediately reminds me of ice skating with friends, vacation, hot chocolate and presents from Santa (my parents!). However, after listening to the song repeatedly in every retail store, grocery store, at the mall and on the radio every December, it gets irritating. 

I am not alone in feeling that “AIWFCIY” is overplayed. In a U.K. poll by Huawei, “AIWFCIY” was voted the most annoying Christmas song. A bar in Texas put up a sign stating that “AIWFCIY” would not be allowed to play before Dec. 1 and can only be played once each night after Dec. 1. This was not surprising to me, considering that the line “All I want for Christmas is you” appears nine times in the song and the verses and choruses are quite repetitive. Moreover, some researchers have found that constantly listening to holiday music can actually lead to stress as the brain becomes overwhelmed and produces a negative response.

And what about other Christmas pop songs like “Christmas Without You” by Ava Max or “Underneath the Tree” by Kelly Clarkson? “AIWFCIY” overshadows those songs which, I would argue, deserve more attention than the amount “AIWFCIY” gets every year. For example, “AIWFCIY”’s highest position on the United States iTunes Top 100 Chart was #1 while “Christmas Without You” only peaked at #85.

Despite all of this, I concede that there is a reason this song is overplayed. “AIWFCIY” is truly iconic. It is a whole generation’s classic Christmas song. This song will always evoke childhood memories, taking pictures with Santa, putting up my Christmas tree and the joyful holiday spirit. Although I do wish I didn’t have to hear “AIWFCIY” everywhere I go in November and December, it is hard for me to not enjoy listening to this song while baking holiday cookies over winter break or visiting Christkindlmarkt. Ultimately, you will find me belting the song on the car on Christmas Eve and of course, I will be playing this song as I open presents on Christmas morning—unlike Mariah Carey, I do care about the presents underneath the Christmas tree.

On this blog, members of the Carmel High School chapter of the Quill and Scroll International Honorary Society for High School Journalists (and the occasional guest writer) produce curations of all facets of popular culture, from TV shows to music to novels to technology. We hope our readers always leave with something new to muse over. Click here to read more from MUSE.