ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Mariah Carey
"I don't do years," Mariah Carey likes to say. "Instead I live Christmastime to Christmastime."
Who can argue with her? The icon — with five Grammys, 19 No. 1 hits and more than 200 million records sold under her built — has long loved the holiday, which brought her solace during her troubled childhood, she wrote in her memoir The Meaning of Mariah Carey.
The 52-year-old remained festive as an adult, and this year, the Carey household is extra festive. Twenty-seven years after "All I Want for Christmas Is You," she's back with another holiday single, "Fall in Love at Christmas."
Carey also has a new Apple TV+ Christmas special — Mariah's Christmas: The Magic Continues —which costars a Dolce & Gabbana dress she says weighed 60 lbs. (and required the help of "six burly men" to carry). And she might have a few more holiday surprises for her fans.
Apple TV+ Mariah Carey
Speaking to PEOPLE, Carey, 52, gave some tips for how best to "spread some holiday cheer, darling."
"Christmastime really is my favorite part of the year," Carey — the undisputed Queen of Christmas tells PEOPLE. "But it's not like, 'Oh, I only emerge from the sea at Christmastime.' "
She adds with a laugh, "But I live for that stuff, and it makes me laugh."
"They never change, baby. They stay the same," she says. "People can either get on board, or they can do their own thing. And the kids are growing with me, because most of these traditions I kind of do for myself."
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Carey says her sense of festive actually comes from her own mother. "I have to say that whatever disagreements she and I have ever had, I definitely got that [holiday spirit] from her," she admits. "She would be making some sort of Norwegian mulled wine, and her eccentric friends would sing Christmas carols. And she was into it."
Her father, however, was not. "My dad was very much the strict disciplinarian, the engineer," she explains. "I remember when I went to his house one Christmas, I was like, 'Why doesn't he have a tree?' It's not for everybody, you know? Most rational people will tell you it's not realistic."
Here are a few holiday Do's and Don'ts from the Queen of Christmas herself. Starting with one major don't for a holiday party: "Bleak people cannot come."
DON'T: Christmas decorations in October ("Only if you're under duress," she says.)
DO: Artificial Christmas trees: "Unfortunately we kind of have to deal with that now because we don't wanna kill all the trees in the land," she says.
DON'T: "Ugly" Christmas sweaters
DO: Milk and cookies for Santa
MAYBE A DON'T? Homemade tinsel. "I don't know what that is," she says.
For more from Mariah Carey and the holiday season, grab a copy of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday.