Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 yesterday, 25 years after its 1994 release. Here’s your nine-step plan to Billboard dominance over a quarter century:
1. Fight your music label when executives suggest that you, recent chanteuse of Music Box (worldwide sales over 30 million), release a holiday album. Begrudgingly fill the holiday album with covers like “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” but toss in a song with no chorus and a strangely long intro called “All I Want for Christmas is You.”
2. Publicly implode: That includes recording Glitter, having an emotional breakdown, going to a rehab center, and getting a $35 million payout from EMI Records to go away.
3. Decide that you. love. Christmas. Release an album called Merry Christmas II You and join Justin Bieber’s Under the Mistletoe album with a duet called “All I Want for Christmas Is You (SuperFestive!).” Begin referring to yourself as The Queen of Christmas.
4. Tell everyone that you wrote the song alone in upstate New York in 15 minutes, despite your cowriter’s claims otherwise as to location and process. You stopped talking to him 20 years ago, anyway.
5. Start campaigning annually. “Every year we focus a campaign around new ways to market ‘All I Want for Christmas,’ because the opportunities for people to hear this perennial classic just seem to grow and grow,” says the chairman of Sony Music Group.
6. Build what The New York Times calls “an extended universe around the track,” including the full song as a plot device in the rom-com Love Actually, a children’s book, an animated film, a mini-documentary, multiple YouTube rereleases, endless I-love-Christmas media appearances, and a deluxe edition of Merry Christmas with four renditions of the song (sung in a cathedral, with Lil Bow Wow, and on a dance mix).
7. Tour. Other artists tour around themes; you tour Christmas. Every year. Like its your job. Because now it is. You do shows in places like Boston, Washington, D.C., and Atlantic City. This year, you close it out at Madison Square Garden in a glitter suit-leotard with dancers in full-body bear and snowman suits in front of a holographic screen of building-size candy canes that appear to be falling on you.
8. Thank your higher power for the rise of streaming music. Spotify’s Christmas Hits places your song first. The song is streamed 45.6 million times in the second week of December, on track to pass 200 million for the month.
9. When your song hits No. 1, post 18 butterfly emojis on Twitter and a gif of your 20-something self air kissing the universe. Who cares if The New York Times says that you “do not acknowledge age or the passage of time.” You are the Queen of Christmas. You are laughing all the way to the bank.