Mariah's Simple Christmas Wishlist
Mariah Carey says she doesn't want a lot for Christmas - just a car with
champagne to greet her at Aspen airport, a hot tub and a bedroom made to look
like the North Pole.
The pop diva shares her secrets with a US magazine saying she is looking
forward to celebrating with husband, Nick Cannon, 27.
"I'm really looking forward to being in love on Christmas," Carey,
38, tells Redbook.
And for the singer the festive season involves a trip to Aspen that begins from
the moment she flies into town.
She says: "The first thing that happens is I get off the plane and get
into the car, where they have Christmas music blasting and a bottle of
champagne ready to pop open.
"It sounds awful but I'm a big kid in that way.
"As soon as I get in that car, I am engulfed in Christmas. I think Nick
will be up for that, I really do. He'll be laughing.
"I'm usually working right up until Christmas, but no matter what's going
on, no matter where I am, whether it's right after a tour or a video shoot
somewhere, on December 21, I head to my house in Aspen and start celebrating.
"I have an extended group of friends and family from all over - as far as
Sweden and the United Kingdom, even - and every year we gather in Aspen to make
it the most festive Christmas ever.
"We try to outdo ourselves every year.
"This year, in addition to everything I love about celebrating the
holidays, it's all going to be heightened because of Nick - in a really good
"I think he senses that Christmas is a big deal to me, so he's sort of
just going with the flow, so that's cool.
"I'm pretty sure his family and friends will be out there too. We have to
figure out, but we're gonna make it work."
Carey's traditions include everything from the way the house is decorated to
holiday escapades like skiing in the snow and taking dips in the hot tub.
"Aspen is all about the snow," she says, "and the environment,
so it automatically puts you in that celebratory mood.
"I don't really do up my New York apartment for Christmas; I save
everything for Aspen.
"The house there is all done up with lights and bells - not over the top,
but quaint. It's like a gingerbread house.
"And then you open the door and the first thing you see is this enormous
tree and a manger.
"I started going to Aspen the year after my album Butterfly came out, and
that year I collected a ton of butterfly ornaments.
"So every year, before we get up there, I have a woman who comes to the
house and sets up what we call the butterfly tree.
"It's gorgeous, all silver and gold with angels and butterflies on it and
gold, silver and white ornaments.
"And we have a manger set up in the front room because, to me, the season
is about celebrating, about being with friends and loved ones, but first and foremost
it's about the birth of Christ, and I think it's important to remember
Carey has included aspects from her childhood into her very own winter
The singer, who married Cannon in April, says: "Every year we do what we call
the 'Charlie Brown Christmas tree', where we string up those big red and green
bulbs and hang tons of ornaments - mostly ornaments my fans have sent me over
"They did pictures of, like, me and the dog, just really cute stuff.
"A couple of years ago, one of my friends gave us the idea of taking
Polaroids of each other and then decorating them and putting them on the tree.
"That was really fun; I think we might do it again this year. It's a
wonderful time for us all to bond and really get into the spirit.
"Last year I was very inspired by the movie Elf_so we set up one of the
upstairs bedrooms like the North Pole, all covered in fake snow, with tents and
an area where the kids could play with toys like Etch A Sketches.
"My friend's two children were three and one at the time and they were in
While she likes to have a traditional Christmas, Carey says she and her friends
try to make it "our own."
"The focal point of the week is the 23rd, when we do a real sleigh
ride," she says.
"Depending on how many of us are up there we get one or two horse-drawn
sleighs and we bundle up and go riding in the snow under the stars.
"We always drink cocoa with butterscotch schnapps to keep warm, and we
sing at the top of our lungs, not even remotely trying to sound good.
"Later, we go in the hot tub in our Christmas bikinis, then roll in the
fresh snow and jump back in the tub."
"Christmas bikinis," Carey says include the "Santa ones"
that she loves although they "don't stay on very well, so I usually just
do a red bikini with a Santa hat."
The singer also has an agenda for the night before Christmas, saying:
"Every Christmas Eve I make linguine and white clam sauce for everybody.
"They always ask: 'Are you gonna make your clam sauce?'
"I'd be worried if Nick hadn't tried it yet, but he did and ate the whole
"I also make stuffed shells. It's kind of random, because I'm not Italian
but the recipes were my father's and he gave them to me before he passed away,
so it's become a tradition.
"And we always have A Charlie Brown Christmas on TV [while we eat].
"Before the kids go to bed, we leave out cookies and a note for Santa.
"The rest of us stay up really late that night and I usually end up
wrapping presents until the sun comes up.
"My problem is, I do too much shopping out there because I never get a
chance before that, so I'm sitting up all night wrapping.
"Then I sleep in Christmas Day, which kind of ruins Christmas morning for
She then adds: "Well, they don't have to [wait].
"Definitely I always tell everyone to let the kids open presents before I
"We do stockings; we all have stockings with our names on them, even the
Dinner on Christmas Day is a glamorous affair. The singer says: "Actually
that's the night we dress up for dinner.
"Last year, my pastor came and did a service for us and ate dinner with
"And when I say dress up, I mean I'm in a gown.
"I've got lots of vintage pieces and I wear either red or white and
"Usually, a couple of days before, while everyone else is skiing, I just
sit around playing dress-up.
"I don't know what that's about - I mean who does that?
"But skiing means being cold and getting up really early - two things I'm
not very good at."
Carey's extravagant Christmas traditions are a far cry from the ones she used
to have while growing up in New York.
She lived with her mum after her parents divorced when she was quite young.
"My mother, now she was festive," the singer says.
"She always wanted Christmas to be exciting. We didn't always have enough
money for a lot of presents, but she'd wrap up whatever she could - even an
orange - and say it was from the cat or something, just so I could have things
"I think that when kids are little it's really all about opening things;
it doesn't matter so much what they are.
"And my mother always made things very fun."
With a mother who was an opera singer and a vocal coach, music filled the
household during the holidays.
"She usually had a Christmas party where she'd make mulled wine and invite
all her friends and we'd decorate the tree and everyone would sing
carols," Carey says.
"So music is very important to me around the holidays.
"By the end of the week in Aspen everybody is ready to kill me, because from
the minute we get there to the minute we leave, I have the Christmas music on.
"Usually it's satellite radio, but we throw our favourites in there, like
the James Brown Christmas album and the Jackson Five Christmas album.
"Oh, and I love the Chipmunks' Christmas album.
"It's such a throwback to childhood - just laughing and having a good
The singer also celebrates the season with those in need.
She says: "One year I did a concert for Camp Mariah, which is a camp I
started that benefits underprivileged children.
"And every year I work with the foster kids of Denver.
"We do a holiday event for them, and the last couple of years - I worry
about saying this in case any of them read it - Santa has come and he looks so
much like Santa, a real beard and everything.
"And all the kids get gifts and get to take pictures with him."
But this year she will also be thinking about what to give her new husband,
actor Nick Cannon.
"I've had a few ideas, but I wouldn't want this to come out before Christmas
and give all my ideas away."
And the woman who had a hit with the song All I Want for Christmas Is You, says
she doesn't know what gifts she wants.
"Honestly, I haven't really thought about it," she says.
"I just want to have a really good time - a restful, enjoyable time. I
want to be ecstatic and have the best Christmas ever.
"And I know that's a really huge request right now.
"There's so much going on in the world that's pretty dismal, but I've
always had that glass-half-full outlook.
"That's how I am. And I really think it'll be a memorable Christmas."
- This interview is featured in the current issue of Redbook, on newsstands now.