Mariah Carey, Christmas, song

Mariah Carey Christmas song ban.

Mariah Carey's uber famous "All I Want For Christmas Is You" has been a staple of the holiday since the late '90s. Who can remember the last time they entered a department store without trying–and failing– to match that impossible whistle tone during the final chorus? It's about as synonymous with Yuletide cheer as Rudolph, only sassier.


Well, apparently a (still unidentified) bar in Texas has had quite enough of the holiday pop hit. Someone there taped an unceremonious piece of white paper next to the jukebox that stated plainly "Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas Is You will be skipped if played before Dec. 1. After Dec 1 the song is only allowed one time a night."

I mean, the whole "when to start playing Christmas music" debate has been a source of contention for years. I personally cringe when November 1 rolls around and carols permeate the radio stations, but clearly this bar had an even stronger stance. The paper was tweeted by a critic for National Review. From there, the tweet went viral.

Those familiar to retail had a shared trauma response. "If you haven't worked retail then let me explain.The song plays 50 times a day on the store radio from November 1 (maybe earlier) to December 25. It's hell," wrote one "victim."

Another (soon to be divorced) man wrote: "I need to print this out for my wife," which received the prompt response of "How about you let your wife enjoy things she likes before she decides you aren't one of those things?" Yup, holiday drama is already coming in hot.

One Twitter user responded with "Is this the war on Christmas I've heard about?" which caught the attention of Carey herself.


Carey's response? In a word, iconic. The pop singer posted a photo of herself from a 2015 ad for the mobile video game "Game of War," completely decked out in battle armor and holding a sword. Move over Xena, there's a new warrior princess in town. And she's ready to defend her Christmas kingdom.

Carey was quick to garner support from her fans. Like this person, asking where to join her army.

Another wrote "me on my way to fight for the queen" accompanied by a video of Carey on a jet plane and singing yet another holiday song. That's some kind of allegiance, if you ask me.

Carey posted another video on Instagram, showing three jack-o-lanterns sitting in a row with the words "it's not time." Scary, sinister music plays and a bell tolls. Carey, wearing a sparkly red gown and sky high heels sneaks in through a door holding a giant candy cane the size of a baseball bat (you might see where this is going). With a swing of her candy cane, Mariah destroys one of the pumpkins, changing the message to "it's time" while her famous-slash-infamous song plays. If a war on Christmas is what they want, a war on Christmas is what they'll get.

This got even more fan responses, including the person who wrote, in all caps, "MARIAH INVENTED CHRISTMAS." Not historically accurate, but the sentiment is palpable.

If you think that's something, check out the other Twitter user who wrote "SHE IS CHRISTMAS SHE IS SANTA SHE IS THE GODDAMN TREE." Seriously, don't mess with Mariah fans.

Though that one bar in Texas might have won the battle, the victor in this War for Christmas is still Queen Mariah, most definitely. She's already promoting her new Apple TV special "Mariah's Christmas: The Magic Continues," following up last year's "Mariah Carey's Magical Christmas Special." Which might be maddening to some, but to many, it embodies a fun, cheeky, more modern way to invite the holiday spirit. And hey, at least you know TV specials don't play on repeat while you do your Christmas shopping…

Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

True

Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

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As a Gen X parent, it's weird to try to describe my childhood to my kids. We're the generation that didn't grow up with the internet or cell phones, yet are raising kids who have never known a world without them. That difference alone is enough to make our 1980s childhoods feel like a completely different planet, but there are other differences too that often get overlooked.

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