>> Sunday, December 18, 2011
You can't go anywhere at the moment without a Christmas song
But one being played more than any other is the Mariah Carey smash "All I Want For Christmas Is You."
Since it was first released in 1994, the classic track has spent more than 50 weeks in the UK Top 40 and sold millions of copies worldwide.
And that's before you factor in Mariah's new version with Justin Bieber along with Michael Buble's reworking of the hit on his No1 Christmas album.
Luckily she doesn't get sick of the song as she is a massive fan of Christmas- and not just because it signals another huge payday.
Speaking exclusively to The Sun, Mariah, 41, said: "I start planning my Christmas in June.
"It's absolutely my favourite holiday and I've always loved everything about this time of year. I love cooking and I'm a smash-hit wonder in the kitchen.
"I'm going to be making the turkey, cranberry sauce and all the trimmings this Christmas. I cooked at Thanksgiving and it was a real success with everyone asking for seconds."
Mariah's love of festive anthems, including Bing Crosby's White Christmas, led her to write "All I Want."
And even she is surprised by its lasting appeal.
She said: "I'm amazed and humbled by its popularity, even all these years later. And I think it's great that people have the song as a ringtone.
"Who'd have thought, all those years ago when I wrote it, that it would still be having an impact today?"
This year the song has been kept in our heads- and charts- by the star's duet with teen sensation Justin Bieber who has released a Christmas album of his own this year.
It was a no-brainer for Mariah to work with him as it introduced an army of young Beliebers to her famous Crimbo track.
She said: "Justin's definitely a young phenomenon- fun, cute and very talented. That's why I wanted to work with him."
But it's not just pop stars who have added to the song's popularity this year.
Earlier this month sailors on the HMS Ocean warship uploaded a video of themselves miming to the track to celebrate their return home after serving seven-and-a-half months in Libya. The ship initially set off on a seven-week training exercise before being diverted to support the UN air mission during the uprising against Colonel Gaddafi. The now-famous sailors returned home last week.
Their video went viral on YouTube scoring the heroes over 2.5 million views.
Even an impressed Mariah is a fan of the clip.
She tweeted: "This is the best thing I've ever seen, you guys just made my day!"
She told us: "I love their take on it. I think it's the cutest thing ever. Very good lip-synching too.
"If I'd had more time, I would have liked to have gone down to Plymouth to meet the singing sailors and their families.
"Sadly, my trip to London is so short, I just don't have time. But I'm very glad that they've all made it home for Christmas." Mum-of-two Mariah, who has sold more than 200million records in the last 20 years, will spend the festive period with friends and family in snowy Aspen, Colorado.
Mariah, who has been married to TV presenter Nick Cannon, 31, for three years, said: "Luckily Nick is almost as over-the-top festive as me. One year we hired Santa Claus to come round with real reindeer who looked as if they were going to fly off into the snow at any moment. Everyone loved it."
This year the couple will spend their first Christmas with their eight-month-old twins, Monroe and Moroccan.
Monroe is named after superstar Marilyn and her brother's name comes from the Moroccan Room in Mariah's apartment where Nick proposed to her.
The children feature in the video for her new single When Christmas Comes, which is a duet with John Legend. She said: "I actually wrote that song when I was pregnant. There's a line in it that says, 'We can laugh together as the children play'. So it was special having the twins with me for the recording of the video."
During her pregnancy Mariah regularly posted pictures of her huge baby bump online and kept her fans updated about "dem babies" as she refers to them.
She explained: "I had a tough pregnancy. Because I was carrying twins, I was super-heavy and I think my bones just weren't used to holding up that much weight.
"I don't think I understood the enormity or the magnitude of what being pregnant does to your body. By the end I could hardly walk.
"But I don't want to dwell on that really, or sound as if I'm complaining, because I know I'm very blessed. I'm loving motherhood. It's a beautiful place to be and they're very good kids." Mariah credits her own mother, Patricia, for getting her interested in singing when she was a toddler.
The pair sang a duet last year, "O Come All Ye Faithful/Hallelujah Chorus," which was released last year on Mariah's second festive album, Merry Christmas II You.
And she hopes she can pass a love of singing on to her kids, too.
She said: "I started singing at home with my mom when I was four. I've always talked about her influence on me for my whole life. And with our duet, I felt as if we had come full circle.
"I certainly can imagine singing with the children round the tree when they're older because they really respond to music and love me to sing to them.
"And I do feel that musical ability is something that's handed down. We shall see."
Mariah has quickly shed her baby weight and credits the Jenny Craig Diet Plan- a company which ships special healthy ready meals to you- for helping her to slim down.
She said: "I had a lot of weight to lose because I'd retained so much water. Someone recommended the "Jenny" programme to me and it was exactly what I was looking for.
"It's quick but also very nutritious. I also did gentle aqua exercise as often as I could."
Mariah was so impressed with the "Jenny diet" she has become its US ambassador.
She said: "I wanted to help create awareness about healthy eating and losing weight. My pregnancy and weight gain made me realise what some women grapple with all their lives. At one point I thought I would never see my bone structure again."
Mariah was in London to pick up a Noble Gift Humanitarian Award for her charity work.
The singer said: "Several years ago I co-founded Camp Mariah, which is part of the Fresh Air Fund. This enables inner-city kids to look at their educational and career opportunities while enjoying camping adventures outside of the city.
"I'm planning on going camping with the kids again next summer."