Queen of Christmas Mariah Carey officially declares the beginning of the holiday season
via Mariah Carey / YouTube

What day does Christmas season officially start? There seems to be four camps on the issue.

One group believes that the Christmas season starts the day after Thanksgiving, on Black Friday.

Another group thinks that it starts immediately after Halloween, on November 1. This group clearly doesn't give Thanksgiving it's proper due.

Some people believe that Christmas season starts the moment the first holiday decorations pop up in a retail store. When is that these days, July?


Others search for the song "All I Want for Christmas is You" on Google Trends, and the moment they see a spike in searches, it's time to start celebrating.

via Google


Mariah Carey, who's been unofficially crowned the Queen of Christmas in recent years, proclaimed the beginning of the Christmas season at midnight on November 1 after receiving a call from the man himself, Santa Claus.


In the video above, Carey receives a phone call from "SANTA" who says nothing but "Ho ho ho" to which Carey replies, "It's time" and then shrieks a note that only she could manage.

RELATED: Kid boosts faith in humanity by filling an empty candy bowl from his own Halloween stash

The ringtone, of course, is "All I Want for Christmas is You."

Carey has become synonymous with Christmas over the past decade or so after her 1994 song has crept its way into part of the American Christmas canon.

The song is one of the few songs in the past 40 years that has become a Christmas tradition, alongside the likes of "White Christmas" or "Let it Snow."

Carey's co-writer for the song, Walter Afanasieff, believes it has become a hit because it's a rare uptempo Christmas song that's more "adult" than children-oriented, like traditional Christmastime iconography such as Santa or Rudolph.

The song is a throwback to the '60s sound and in many ways resembles the Phil Spector/Darlene Love hit "Baby Please Come Home."

RELATED: A powerful case for why we should only celebrate Christmas every other year

Queen Mariah has announced that the Christmas season is here, so you can finally indulge in one of its most joyous songs. Give it a listen, you know you can't resist.

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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