Mariah Carey says Christmas is ''important'' to her because her holidays were always ruined when she was a child.

The 49-year-old singer comes from a ''tragically dysfunctional'' background, and has said she now strives to make the festive season the best it can be for her twins - eight-year-old Morocco and Monroe - because she never got to have a magical Christmas growing up.

She said: ''I grew up looking forward to the holidays all year long, but because I have such a tragically dysfunctional family, certain family members or ex-family members would ruin it every year. As an adult, what I've tried to do is take what I always wished Christmas would be and have the perfect holiday season.''

The 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' hitmaker credits her mother with helping her develop a love for the festive season.

She explained: ''[My mother] is the reason why I love Christmas so much. She got me into it. She was super-festive and tried really hard even though we had no money.

''She would wrap up fruit in newspaper and give it to me like, 'This is from the cat!' She would sing Christmas carols and make mulled wine and have her friends over. I got that from her, and whatever our differences are, I'm so thankful for that.''

And Mariah's family life is also the reason she has an ''optimistic'' outlook on life, because she says she needed to be positive to ''survive''.

She added to Billboard magazine: ''I come from an extremely damaged childhood. But the thing is, from the manure comes a flower. You have to go through some stuff where you can get to a place where you can be optimistic because if you don't have that optimism, you won't survive.''