“Merry Christmas”, Mariah Carey’s Christmas album, was first released on November 1st, 1994. It is 39 minutes and 31 seconds of pure “contemporary holiday” music featuring “authentic, gospel flavoured background vocals”, if you wanted to know.  Carey sings traditional holiday songs, religious songs and even a few original Christmas tunes of her own, like “All I Want for Christmas Is You”, which is apparently the 11th best selling single of all time. Yes, out of all the songs in the world, ever. The album itself was sold over 15 million copies word wide and is the best selling Christmas album ever.

I know, I know. I am just as shocked as you. My money was on the 1981 spectacular ‘A Chipmunk Christmas’ that I had on cassette as a child. The dulcet tones of Alvin, Simon and Theodore screeched Christmas at me in a way no other ever has.

My Mum and Merry Christmas by Mariah Carey.

My mother fucking loved this album. Once it hit December, it was on repeat. Carey’s vocal range showcased in every festive chorus. This was one of the few bones of contention between us.
Each year, I would try to hide the CD and each year, she’d find it. I’d point out other Christmas albums, request other Christmas songs (“So this is Christmas“, anyone?), threaten to boycott our annual Christmas Eve bash (as if I’d have missed it! ), offer up my Chipmunks cassette or I’d just start whinging really loudly. Between songs, of course. Try to spend a month each year from 1994-2007 listening to Merry Christmas without learning all the damn words. Impossible! Even if it is definitely not your taste, it is damn catchy.


Christmas, 2008.

When my mum died in 2008, I suggested, in all seriousness, that the album be buried with her. It seemed fitting and right. The idea was vetoed, with others believing that she’d want us to keep the tradition alive each December. I think we had one Christmas without Mum and with  Mariah Carey’s Christmas album. Every high note and jingly bell was like a further stomping on my shattered heart. I wish I was being melodramatic but I’m actually not. I remember listening to it and doing that thing where you laugh and joke on the outside but inside it is a very different story.

Unfortunately (depending on your perspective), Mum’s copy of Mariah Carey’s Christmas album got left outside. I swear I had nothing to do with it. It was left on an outdoor stereo that my Dad had built under the roof of the family pergola and there it perished. I can’t remember what exactly was wrong with it but stuff had grown on it and we couldn’t play it anymore. We took it as a sign that Mum did not, in fact, want us to keep enjoying it without her. It was summarily binned.

After the demise of Mariah Carey’s Christmas Album.

I was relieved; I saw the demise of Mum’s CD as a small reprieve in that I wouldn’t be forced to listen to the album anymore.

Except for one thing.

It seems that every single shopping centre in Australia is haunted by my Mum because they play that fucking album on repeat for the whole of December. Just like she did. And it kills me. Not because I cannot stand the album, though there is that. Just because it reminds me so much of my Mum. I physically can’t listen to it without getting choked up and teary. If it’s a particularly bad day, I may burst into ugly, hiccuping sobs in the middle of the discount sports shoe store, much to the bafflement of fellow shoppers who were quietly elbowing each other as they rummaged through the sale table. Yes, that happened. It’s not the only instance. Just last weekend, walking around an outdoor Christmas market, I almost choked with emotion while eating a spring roll because “All I Want for Christmas Is You” came on over the speakers.


8 Years On…

I know people say to “remember the good times” when you lose someone, but that’s actually really hard. The good memories hurt the most. I hear Mariah Carey’s Christmas album playing and I’m reminded of my Mum when she was at her very best. She had a crowd of people over to eat, drink and get merry at home. Or she was holding court at her table at the local club, resplendent in a Santa hat and laughing. Piling up gifts for the grand-kids or busy in the kitchen. Choosing a Christmas outfit for the dog. Yes, really.

My Mum, just before a Christmas Eve party.

“Every other season comes along
And I’m all right
But then I miss you
Most at Christmas time”

-“Miss You Most (At Christmas Time)” song by Mariah Carey.



#IBOT @ Capturing Life.

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  • Merry Christmas Amy’s Mum. The world is shit that it took you away. I’m so sorry xxxxx

  • This time of year is spectacularly hard when you are missing the ones you love. Hope you can be gentle with yourself.

  • Awww, Amy. Lots of love to you and to your mum (wherever she is, playing Mariah on repeat). You have just given me a new appreciation for Mariah as to be honest …. I don’t love her … I don’t even like her singing much … but I guess she does do Christmas well. I never met your mum but because she’s living within you I will now think of you whenever I hear Mariah’s “All I want for Christmas is you” album.

    • Thank you, Leanne, what a lovely thing to say xx

  • I love that album too Amy’s Mum! It’s so good I like to play it all year ’round 😉 Big hugs to you Amy at this difficult time of year.

  • Mel Roworth

    Much love to you Amy. Christmas is certainly that time of year where those missing smiles feel further away than ever.

  • Oh Amy, big hugs to you I can imagine how difficult this time of year must be. xx

  • Every time I hear that song, I’m going to think of your mum. She has good taste in Christmas music and I love that she thought of everything, right down to the outfits for the dog. Because everyone knows canine couture matters! I can imagine how much you miss her. Christmas must be so bittersweet, all those happy memories but so much missing. Big hugs for you, Amy x

  • Oh mate, I can’t imagine how tough this time of year must be. xxx

  • Music is such a powerful memory trigger. It’s good in some ways but shocking when you hear it and aren’t prepared xox

  • TeganMC

    Oh Amy this is beautiful xx

  • Agh, you got me right in the eyes. Bless your memories, Amy. x

  • Aww Amy. I got goosebumps and tears reading this. I will now think of you and your mum whenever I hear that song. I can’t believe well it did as a hit. Who’d have thought?! I guess we all want our loved ones to be with us at Christmas though. xxx

    • Thanks Bec. I watched Mariah on carpool karaoke the other day, and so many of the previous guests also belted it out. I had to laugh (and cry!)

  • Oh just beautiful lovely, as always. I bloody love All I Want for Christmas, I think you (maybe not on repeat) and your mum have impeccable taste 🙂 lots of love x x

  • Oh, you’re so right. The good memories can be so painful! Wishing you a very blessed Christmas Amy!

  • Yep. Good memories are painful. My mother passed on the 16th of December, and Christmas hasn’t ever been the same. She was the glue that held our family together. All I can do, is try and be that glue for my girls and our family now, but Christmas is still hard. Big hugs to you this Christmas x

    • And to you, mate. It’s not a nice boat to be in but we aren’t alone xx

  • Your Mum obviously had great taste in music. It’s timeless Mariah’s Album, like the memories you have of your Mamma. XX

  • LydiaCLee

    This is really a lovely post. It seems a sweetner to a difficult time (the humour marking the occasion). I am curious to what are the best selling 10 songs ever tho!

    • It’s always interesting to look up stats like that. Peoples tastes amaze me!

  • Such a beautiful post x

  • Flashbacks to my time in retail with this album on repeat for two months. This is a gorgeous post – and you’re right, the good memories are difficult to think on sometimes, but it’s also nice to think of our loved ones at their happiest sometimes.

  • jess

    It is amazing how music is so clearly linked with memories. A song can trigger emotions from 20 years ago that you didn’t realise were still in there. I have to admit, I love a bit of ‘All I want for Christmas is you’, but only because of the Love Actually scene. Big hugs for you around the festive season xx

    • Oh yes, songs and emotions are very clearly linked for me!

  • Massive virtual hugs coming your way. I think I may be allergic to Mariah Carey at Christmas time. I seem to break out in hives and become incredibly irritable when I hear her songs, especially the Christmas ones at this time of year.

  • Oh Amy, I’m so sorry, it must be so hard because Mariah is EVERYWHERE this time of year. What a beautiful memory of your mum though, even with the sobbing tears. x

  • Oh Amy, I’m so sorry it’s this song, but it’s very cute your Mum loved it so. I think any song in Love Actually gets me teared up because well love is ACTUALLY everywhere. Airport departures are the killer!!! xx