DFW Music News

A Dallas Bar's Ban on Mariah Carey's Christmas Song Starts a Holiday War

All we want for Christmas is another pop song as good as Mariah's. But Dallas bar Stoneleigh P isn't having it.
All we want for Christmas is another pop song as good as Mariah's. But Dallas bar Stoneleigh P isn't having it. Mat Hayward/Getty
Stay calm, Thanksgiving crusaders, the Stoneleigh P has your back.

Now that Halloween is behind us, holly jolly die-harders can rejoice. Nov. 1 marks the unofficial beginning of the holiday season. Bring out your holiday sweaters, deck the halls and blast Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.” Just don’t do it at the Stoneleigh P.

On Oct. 22, National Review critic Kyle Smith tweeted about a now infamous sign at Dallas' Stoneleigh P, plastered on the bar's jukebox. The sign reads, “Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You will be skipped if played before Dec. 1. After Dec. 1 the song is allowed one time per night."

The Stoneleigh P has been a Maple Avenue fixture for 48 years. Meant mostly for regulars, the ban on Mariah Carey’s chart-topping Christmas anthem has been an inside joke for the past three years. But once the bar’s stance on the tune hit Twitter, the inside joke immediately incited the annual Thanksgiving vs. Christmas cultural debate.


The holiday season appears to inch up the calendar every year. Before trick-or-treaters have taken to the streets, department stores are already propping up Christmas trees, stocking the shelves with ornaments and prepping their holiday playlists.

The bar’s sentiment resonates for many who agree that the spirit of Christmas needs to take a seat until the Thanksgiving turkey has been carved and digested.

One Twitter user believes the ban should include all holiday tunes and should be a constitutional amendment. Mariahites pledged their loyalty to the Christmas song, while dissenters responded by advocating for compassion for retail workers haunted by the overplaying of holiday music. Listen, Grinches, we hear you. Maybe calling it hell is a little much, but we can understand how joy and cheer can be off-putting; that holiday cheer mess needs to stay in its lane. But Ms. Carey disagrees.
The tweet gained remarkable traction and caught the attention of the music icon. The queen of Christmas responded to the tweet with a photo illustration of herself geared up for war over the debate. Christmas activists responded to the call for defense by taking the battle to the review site Yelp. Stoneleigh P’s Yelp page was bulldozed with low ratings.

Laura Garrison, Stoneleigh P general manager, told NBC 5 that Yelp contacted the bar about the non-service related reviews on Nov. 2.


"We've got a bunch of bad reviews ... Mariah Carey lovers or Christmas lovers, bad reviews online,' Garrison told the outlet. "So I actually got off the phone with Yelp today. Yelp's really good about flagging, not recommending reviews that don't have anything to do with our service."

The negative reviews have since been taken down.

One Twitter user decided to organize the holiday schedule by designating Nov. 1-24 for Christmas, Thanksgiving day for, well, Thanksgiving, and Nov. 26-Dec. 25 for Christmas. Perhaps this will ease the tensions. After the last two years of unrest, let’s allow for 2021 to be the year of the Thanksgiving and Christmas truce. If rockin around the Christmas tree before Thanksgiving day brings you joy, go for it. If Christmas is best served post Thanksgiving, change the station, or as the Stoneleigh P suggests, just skip the song.
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Desiree Gutierrez is a music and culture intern at the Dallas Observer. Equipped with her education from Dallas College Brookhaven Campus and the University of North Texas' Mayborn School of Journalism, Desiree has transformed the ability to overthink just about anything into a budding career in journalism.