Here’s The Story Behind “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” One of The Biggest Holiday Hits

There are so many Chrismas songs; it’s hard to single out a favorite. However, the streams have spoken, and “All I Want For Chrismas Is You” continues to be one of the most popular Christmas songs of all time. It jumps in the charts every year and is now celebrating its 25th anniversary. In a recent interview, Mariah Carey gave some behind the scenes intel on the famous song. 

Mariah Carey on the red carpet at Variety's 2019 Power of Women.
Mariah Carey at Variety’s 2019 Power of Women: Los Angeles presented by Lifetime, October 11, 2019 | Amy Sussman/FilmMagic

It’s been 25 years since “All I Want For Christmas” was released

Rolling Stone wrote reported in 2018 that Carey’s Christmas song “boasts the biggest single-day audience in Spotify’s history,” which is a massive feat. It’s going on 25 years, and with that, Carey released a new album on Spotify with all her Christmas hits and covers, along with a Christmas announcement video. 

Her upbringing inspired the famous Christmas tune

It’s such a fun and bright song, but the lyrics are significant. Not only do they sound heartfelt, the story behind them is personal for Carey. “I really started with thinking, ‘What are all the things I think about at Christmas?’ Lights, presents, stockings, fireplaces,” Carey told USA Today on Nov. 1. “I’ve always loved Christmas so much my entire life, but I grew up not having a lot of money and not being able to experience it like the other kids did.” 

She continued, saying that the song expresses her desires for the holiday. “I wanted Christmas to be perfect, but for a lot of different reasons, it didn’t always end up working out well, coming from such a dysfunctional family. So I think when I wrote it, I just put every ounce of longing for that perfect moment in it.”

According to Carey, it was a team effort to create the song with co-writer and producer Walter Afanasieff, but it’s still her baby. “When we got together, I was like, ‘You know, I think it should start out slow, and then the music should come in and sort of have a Jackson 5, Phil Spector-type moment,’ if that makes sense,” she said. “It was inspired by those songs from the ’50s and ’60s.” 

One of the most essential parts of the song were Carey’s favorite to record

Carey also told USA Today how fun the background vocals were to record. “When I did the background vocals, that’s when I had the most fun in the studio – it’s the most festive part of the song,” Carey said. 

Not only did she enjoy recording those vocals, she said that they’re essential they are to the song, something a lot of people don’t get. “A lot of people who have remade it don’t realize how important those parts were, in the way they were sung and how I arranged them. They added more flavor and made it a complete record.”

“All I Want For Christmas Is You” isn’ just her baby, but she enjoys it too. She fully steps into her holiday duties as the Queen of Christmas and posts about it annually. This song won’t go anywhere anytime soon.