It’s that time of year when temperatures drop, mistletoe abounds and Starbucks brings out the peppermint mocha. Some call it the holidays. Others call it Mariah Carey season, a nod to her chart-topping “All I Want For Christmas Is You” suddenly defrosting and playing on repeat.
But while Carey might’ve filed a petition to be the one and only “Queen of Christmas,” that royal title will remain free for anyone to claim this winter.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office denied Carey’s applications to trademark “Queen of Christmas.” Earlier this month, the agency also rejected the singer’s applications for “Princess Christmas” and “QOC.” Last year, the pop star had signaled she wanted to splash such phrases onto a wide range of items, from skin care products to dog leashes to coconut milk to music titles. What ensued was a legal battle with another “Queen of Christmas.”
Elizabeth Chan, a singer whose career is exclusively devoted to Christmas music, filed a series of oppositions to Carey’s trademarking bid — which would’ve prevented future use of the Yuletide moniker.
“The kind of music and the Christmas culture that allowed [Carey] and me to be a ‘Queen of Christmas’ is what I wanted to offer to generations after we’re long gone,” Chan told The Washington Post on Tuesday. “Whether it’s grandmothers baking cookies or Etsy sellers or Christmas movies, it takes a lot of people to help usher in the season, and for one person to outrightly own that is wrong.”
Chan’s connection with Christmas runs deep. The 42-year-old was baptized on Dec. 25. Her daughter’s name is Noelle, after the French word for Christmas, and she refers to her grandmother as the original “Queen of Christmas.” Professionally, Chan also operates a bit like Santa Claus, popping up every winter with a new collection of holiday tunes.
The New Yorker dubbed her “The Queen of Christmas” in a 2018 profile. Three years later, she released an album with that same name. Today, it’s become her “badge of honor” — but also one she hopes future Christmas royals will be able to wear proudly. That’s why she legally opposed Carey’s claims.
“This isn’t about who’s the queen of Christmas,” Chan said. “This is about [Carey’s] attempt to basically monopolize ‘Queen of Christmas’ in a very big overreaching way. Like, how many ‘Queens of Christmas’ could we have missed? And how many other new Christmas songs would we have missed?”
For as long as singers have put out Christmas music, there have been as many queens and kings reigning supreme on the holiday. Brenda Lee, the singer behind classics like “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” from 1958, has been named as much. In the 1990s, David Letterman bestowed the title on “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” singer Darlene Love. This year, some have predicted Alicia Keys will become a new monarch with her latest album, “Santa Baby.” When it comes to kings, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and Michael Bublé have all carried the crown.
But in her trademark application, Carey argued her link to the nickname is inextricable — citing a 2021 Billboard article dubbing her the “undisputed Queen of Christmas” as proof. Since “All I Want For Christmas Is You” came out in 1994, it’s become an inescapable anthem and one of the most popular songs of all time. And come every Nov. 1, it’s a sure bet that Carey will declare “IT’S TIME!!!” to trash the pumpkins and cobwebs and switch to candy canes and garlands.
Still, when it came to fighting for the title, Carey essentially let her request fizzle out. From June to August, her legal team filed several motions to extend the proceedings. When the deadline to respond to Chan’s opposition hit, Carey had not yet submitted a counter argument, ultimately letting the trademark application lapse.
The reason is unclear. Neither Carey’s attorney nor her representatives responded to requests for comment from The Post.
“We saw this as a case of trademark bullying, where essentially Mariah Carey’s company tried to trademark ‘Queen of Christmas’ in dozens and dozens of different fields,” said Louis W. Tompros, Chan’s attorney. “It was extremely broad, permanent and . . . it was not a term that she was alone using, so it wasn’t right.”
Now, the title remains free for anyone to claim, he added.
“Tomorrow you can go out and proudly wear your ‘Queen of Christmas’ sweatshirt, and the ‘Queen of Christmas’ on radio stations can be a new person every year,” he added. “Man or woman, whatever they want, anyone is the ‘Queen of Christmas.’ “
Love, the other singer who criticized Carey’s application when it was filed, on Tuesday congratulated “all the other Queen of Christmases around the world, living and whom have passed.”