This is why Mariah Carey deserves – nay, needs – to be Christmas number after this hellfire of a year

Mairah Carey on stage with a man in a Santa Claus costume

If “All I Want for Christmas Is You”, Mariah Carey’s 26-year-old holiday mega-hit, reached number one in Britain today, Jeffrey Ingold knows exactly what he would do: “Pop the champagne, tweet a lot, stream the song for hours and cry.”

But the Mariah Carey super fan no “loser”, he sought to stress to PinkNews, as he exactingly listed how he’d celebrate if and when the song finally, for the first time since its release, topped the official UK charts.

“I swear I’m quite cool, OK!”

But he would certainly have reasons to make merry. For both the ineffable songbird and the head of media at Stonewall, a top LGBT+ charity, as soon as the clocks strike 12am and the calendar rolls into November, it begins a plucky campaign to push “All I Want for Christmas Is You” to the next level.

And this year, where many Britons battered by the coronavirus feel more like lumps of coal this Christmas, the need to spread the Carey cheer is more important than ever. Whether it be Twitter threads or spots on national television, Ingold is determined to get Carey’s holiday track to the top of the Official UK Singles Chart.

The song, despite it being a festive banger since its release in 1994, has only ever peaked number two on the chart, compiled by the Official Charts Company.

And only last week did Ingold appear on Channel 5 News fronting the movement. “No one deserves a UK #1 more than Mariah Carey,” he tweeted alongside the video of the interview.

‘”All I Want for Christmas” captures the dreamlike idea of Christmas we need right now,’ says Mariah Carey super fan

Ingold’s love of Mariah Carey started young. “I’ve been I’ve been a fan since I saw the poster for Glitter in the movie theatres when I was about 10,” he said, “and I desperately asked my mom if I could see that film.”

She said no. But Ingold’s interest in the whistling singer-songwriter never stopped – it grew. “I was a struggling gay kid in school with no friends and her music and voice just made me feel okay about who I was, and kind of made me feel safe.”

Years since and Ingold can tell you at a breakneck speed exactly where and when he has seen Carey.

“I’ve seen her 16 times,” he explained, the words seemingly springing from his lungs, “the last time was February this year when I saw her in Las Vegas [Nevada], thank god it was the last thing I did before lockdown.”

“All I Want for Christmas Is You” is arguably the last modern entry into the Christmas song canon. It’s blasted in shopping mall speaker systems to frazzled shoppers’ delight and even remixed and blared by disc jockeys in queer clubs each year.

Mariah Carey at Beacon Theatre

Mariah Carey performs during the opening show of Mariah Carey: All I Want For Christmas Is You at Beacon Theatre on December 5, 2016 in New York City. (Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Mariah Carey)

But with nightclubs still shuttered and shoppers still cautious to hit the high street, silence and unease have come to define Christmas in 2020.

“This year has been so horrendously awful for so many people,” Ingold reflected, “and I think ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ captures this kind of wonderful, fantastical, dreamlike idea of Christmas that’s really hopeful and that’s what people need in these times.”

Getting the song to the top of the charts isn’t just mood boosterism to Ingold, though. “There are far too few Christmas classics by people of colour, let alone going number one, and it’s good to have a woman of colour in the number one slot this year.”

As Ingold underlined, as much as converting the Carey nonbelievers – apparently, they exist – is crucial, Spotify and other music streaming services have thrown spikes at the singer’s feet.

Many official music charts count both paid and free streamed songs for less than store-bought CDs when it comes to tallying sales. Hundreds of thousands of streams may only translate, in some music charts, to a few thousand sales, doubling the difficulty of song-makers in achieving the commercial juggernaut that is a Christmas number one.

The song has been edged for years by British listeners – a number two spot here and there – but has never quite reached number one in the Official UK Singles Chart, despite it containing far fewer homophobic slurs than other Christmas classics.

At the time of writing, Carey’s tune is in a high stakes race with Wham! for number one on the Official Charts – a razor-thin 1,300 chart sales between them and all still to play for.

Even Carey herself commended Ingold for doing the Lord’s work when he appeared on Channel 5 News to encourage people to stream “All I Want for Christmas” and dance to the song, and if Carey doesn’t hire him as a backing dancer we will file a lawsuit, to be honest.

“Thank you, Jeff!” the 50-year-old tweeted.

“Now we can only hope to make it happen ? the dance is my favourite part ?.”