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  • Tue, 22, Dec, 2020 - 5:40:PM

An ode to the wonderful women of Christmas

Mariah Carey / Wikimedia Commons

According to legend – both secular and religious – the ‘reason for the [Christmas] season’ comes from men. On the secular side, there’s Santa Claus. Per the religious angle, the birth of Jesus Christ. Now, I’m not here to yuck anybody’s yum. Both of these guys seem like very fine gentlemen – and I’m an equal fan of the two. But it does strike me as odd that a holiday so (generally) orchestrated by women is ostensibly in celebration of two dudes. So please, allow me to celebrate some of the women who make Christmas the best holiday of the year.

Meg Ryan

Not all of Meg Ryan’s romantic comedies are Christmas themed – in fact very few of them are – but Meg Ryan just feels like a Christmas icon, doesn’t she? Whether she’s lugging Christmas trees through a chilly New York with Billy Crystal (sporting some truly cosy turtlenecks) or messaging Tom Hanks via some very rudimentary nineties technology, Ryan is a key player in the Christmas hall of fame. Put her in more movies.

Joni Mitchell

It’s coming on Christmas, they’re cutting down trees opens the iconic Joni Mitchell track River, which technically makes Blue a Christmas album (I jest, kind of). But unlike Ryan, who represents the fizzy, joyous side of the season, Mitchell casts a Melancholy Christmas. They both have their place.

Unlike a miserable Christmas, a Joni Mitchell-style Melancholy Christmas is its own kind of joy. It’s the feeling of staring out the bus window and pretending you’re in a sad music video. It’s the quiet beauty of lit-up houses at midnight. It’s end-of-year tears. Joni Mitchell also cements her place as a Christmas icon via a very important musical cameo in Love Actually.

Emma Thompson

As I wrote last week, I will not be ashamed of loving Love Actually. But I might have been, if it weren’t for Emma Thompson. Thompson’s storyline is the thread that makes the film. It would be an okay film without her – but with her, the film becomes excellent. It has also turned Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now into a Christmas song, which I don’t believe it was ever intended to be.

Mariah Carey

But back to the joy. Watching Mariah Carey embrace her status as a Christmas Icon has been absolutely thrilling. While many a pop singer has attempted to write a Christmas classic, most of them end up sounding like a Christmassy pop song. Which is fine. But All I Want for Christmas is You, written and released by Carey in 1994, is one of the few modern-day releases that really sounds (and feels) like a classic. The best song since Wham's Last Christmas to enter the Christmas canon.


Mums, really, are the reason for the season. Surrogate mums, pretend mums, birth mums, television mums. Thank your mum this Christmas. And from us here at Villainesse, have a very good holiday.  


  • Christmas /
  • Women /
  • Feminism /
  • Mariah Carey /
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