Mariah Carey deserves the Queen of Christmas TM she applied for
For full disclosure, I will declare my bias upfront. I, Shona Hendley am (unashamedly) a member of The Lambily (a collective term for Mariah Carey’s fans).
Partly, but not solely due to this, I believe that the singer-songwriter should be permitted to trademark the Queen of Christmas, an application that was recently (in a very Scrooge-like manner) denied by the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Mariah Carey sings during a pre-taping of The Christmas in Rockefeller Center Lighting Ceremony in New York, 2013Credit:Charles Guerin/ABACAUSA.COM
Last week, it was revealed that Carey’s company Lotion LLC had applied to trademark not only the phrase “Queen of Christmas” but also “Princess Christmas” and “QOC” (Queen of Christmas). The application, however, was denied after a full-time Christmas singer, Elizabeth Chan, filed an opposition.
“I feel very strongly that no one person should hold onto anything around Christmas or monopolise it in the way that Mariah seeks to in perpetuity,” said Chan in an interview with Variety. “That’s just not the right thing to do. Christmas is for everyone. It’s meant to be shared; it’s not meant to be owned.”
Celebrity and trademarking are like Santa and Mrs Claus; they go hand in hand. Michael Jackson trademarked the phrase “King of Pop”, and Beyonce and Jay-Z (aka the Carters) had the names of their twins, Rumi and Sir, trademarked.
But a holiday like Christmas? Plenty of Australian businesses have had success trademarking around the theme, but it remains out of reach for celebrities.
So, while Carey is currently trademark-less due to Lotion LLC’s failure to respond to the objection in time, she is still undeniably The Queen of Christmas even without the little TM next to her name.
You see, Lambily member or not, Carey’s contagious festive spirit cannot be denied. Most famously, her holiday hit All I Want for Christmas is You – originally released in 1994 on her fourth studio album, Merry Christmas – has become the 11th biggest-selling single of all time. It is catchy, it is undoubtedly adorned with festive cheer, and it is everywhere come December.
Since then, Carey has developed or contributed to a range of Christmas-inspired creations, from the recently released children’s book The Christmas Princess (written with two co-authors), to a 2020 holiday-themed McDonald’s menu, as well as multiple Christmas movies and television specials. Two of these, Mariah Carey’s Christmas Special (2020) and Mariah’s Christmas: The Magic Continues (2021), were released during the COVID-19 pandemic – something she says was her (very Queen-like) way of bringing holiday joy during difficult years.
Jessica Ford, Lecturer in Screen and Cultural Studies at the University of Newcastle, says the reason so many people associate Mariah Carey with Christmas is that she offers us a secular way to celebrate the occasion.
“While other celebrities approach Christmas with a more Christian bent, Mariah offers a more commercialised, materialistic and commodified approach.”
She offers a “charming, earnest, sincere representation of Christmas, which is also kind of tacky and corny, and she really invests in that,” Ford says.
Because Carey is also a businesswoman, and a clever one at that, her commercialised, tacky, Christmas-themed approach has branched out to other areas, notably an abundance of festive merch – from T-shirts with Carey’s beaming face, to onesies, wine glasses and even facemasks – which can all be purchased from Carey’s dedicated online shop.
The fact is, Carey already unofficially holds the title.
Mariah Carey performs during her holiday special “Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special” on Apple TV+.Credit:Apple TV+ via AP
As Ford says: “The trademarking is only impacting Carey’s estate. Everyone else just thinks she is the Queen of Christmas. And let’s be honest, TM or not, at this point it’s just how big her pile of money is anyway.”
But as a true Lambily, I believe Carey truly and sincerely adores Christmas, and it isn’t all a front to “monopolise” the occasion (that’s just a perk).
“There are rules that I set,” Carey told USA Today of her approach to the festive season. “I don’t care who it is – the kids, if I have guests, whatever – nobody is allowed to play or watch anything other than a Christmas-related thing. If I wake up in the middle of the night and walk into the living room and the music isn’t playing and the lights aren’t on, I just can’t handle it.”
So, come on, let’s not be divas about it. It’s time to make Carey’s wish come true. All she wants (deservedly) for Christmas is you … TM.
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