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All Mariah Carey Wants for Christmas Is a Tree (or Four) in Every Room

In an ELLE DECOR exclusive, the Grammy Award–winning Queen of Christmas reveals her maximalist holiday decor—and challenges her Pinterest fans to get the look.

mariah carey christmas tree decor
Dennis Leupold/ Courtesy Pinterest

No one can do Christmas quite like Mariah Carey. Who else, after all, could boast a freshly Diamond-certified holiday anthem, drop a new Christmas single, host a glittery seasonal spectacular, and reveal her own holiday menu at McDonald’s—all in the span of a month?

It comes as no surprise then that, when this special time of year rolls ’round, the five-time Grammy Award–winning chanteuse also goes all out when it comes to her own holiday decor. “I wait for it all year long,” Carey confessed to us on a call from Los Angeles. “Like, I’m telling you…it’s my favorite time of year.”

mariah carey christmas tree decor
A view of Carey’s Los Angeles living room. Magical details include glittery ornaments sporting her initials and faux snow on the windowpanes.
Courtesy Pinterest

Therefore, the singer doesn’t just settle for one tree. In fact, Carey has a veritable forest spread between her several homes. This year, she teamed up with Pinterest to show off her decor as part of the platform’s “Create Your Take” campaign, a series in which celebrities challenge their followers to share their “take” on a specific theme. Carey, for her part, hopes to inspire her legions of fans to “go big for Christmas” this year. And that doesn’t just mean taking a page from Carey’s book and assembling a quartet of towering Christmas trees in front of your fireplace: “We got hit with something really hard,” Carey says of the pandemic. “The Pinterest moment is about going big for Christmas, but I mean it and I meant it in a way like, let’s go big in our hearts. Let’s have the best holiday we’ve had in years.”

Here, Carey divulges how she makes the season sparkle.

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She Loves a Neutral, Unified Scheme

Anyone familiar with Carey’s 2002 episode of MTV’s Cribs will know that the singer adores a glamorous, Art Deco–inspired scheme: “You know, that 1940s Hollywood look with the dark floors against the cream,” Carey explains of her TriBeCa penthouse in New York. And though she doesn’t decorate that home’s formal, Mario Buatta–designed living room (“My kids are 10 years old now, and I’ve succeeded in that they don’t even really know that room exists—it’s miraculous,” she jokes of the adults-only space), Carey brings that classic, neutral palette to her trees elsewhere. In her Aspen, Colorado, vacation home, where she will spend the Christmas season with her twins, Monroe and Moroccan, “We do the off-white lights,” she explains. “I’ve had the tree ornaments for years. There are vintage gold ornaments and harps and we have an angel on top of the tree, but it’s all in that gold-and-white palette that I really love.”

mariah carey christmas tree decor
Monarch butterflies float amid Carey’s richly-decorated mantel garland.
Courtesy Pinterest

And Butterflies Are Everywhere, of Course

It wouldn’t be Christmas in Carey’s home without her signature motif close at hand— butterflies. In her sitting room in Los Angeles, faux monarchs festoon an evergreen garland draped over her mantel. And handmade butterfly ornaments roost in her Aspen tree too: “They’re cream with an edging of gold around them—they’re very subtle, very beautiful butterflies,” she says.

She Keeps a Tree in Her Kitchen

Why should trees be relegated just to the living room? In Carey’s Aspen home, she makes sure there’s one set up in her kitchen. “We did that in more of a red-and-white kind of vibe this year—a swirly, candy cane kind of thing,” she says of the sweet, sweet holiday fantasy.

“When I’m there I want to feel like, wow, every single thing I’m looking at outside and inside is making me feel so festive,” she adds.

There’s a Special Tree Devoted to Fans and Family

There are a lot of holiday traditions in Carey’s household (she loves to take her kids on open sleigh rides, and Santa Claus himself even pays a visit), but one decor ritual she holds close to her heart is what she affectionately refers to as her “Charlie Brown tree,” a smaller tree devoted exclusively to her fans and family. “We take Polaroids of ourselves—cute little moments and the dogs and stuff—and then we put them on the tree,” Carey explains, “and we decorate it with little ornaments from the fans that I’ve collected and saved over the years.”

“For me, my fans are my family,” she says.

mariah carey christmas tree decor
A view of one of Carey’s white-and-gold-themed Christmas trees in her Los Angeles homes.
Courtesy Pinterest

She Decorates Year-Round

Carey has been dubbed the Queen of Christmas for a reason—her 1994 holiday anthem, “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” became the first song in recorded music history to be certified Diamond (that’s a whopping 10 million units sold, in case you were counting); this year, she also released a new Christmas single, “Fall in Love at Christmas” with R&B artist Khalid and gospel legend Kirk Franklin. To get into the holiday spirit, Carey will decorate her rehearsal space, regardless of the season. “Wherever I’m singing it gets decorated,” she insists. Think of it like method acting—but a whole lot merrier.

mariah carey christmas tree decor
M.C. stands for Merry Christmas—and Mariah Carey.
Courtesy Pinterest

Her Decor Supports the Reason for the Season

The holidays are characteristically glam in Carey’s house, but to her, it all helps foster magical moments with her family—and she encourages her fans to do the same. “Look, I can sit here and say, ‘I need a burgundy cashmere throw delicately draped on my Ralph Lauren sofa with a gold pillow’ and whatever. We love it all (and by the way, I do like it all to look perfect so I am not going to pretend I don’t), but it’s about being at home,” Carey reflects.

“It is surrounding yourself with things you love and people you love.”

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