Originally published on Advocate.com December 24 2011 12:44 PM ET
You can’t really fake that," Mariah Carey said to The Advocate last December, referring to her fondness for creating Christmas music. "I don’t think people who don’t love Christmas could translate that into a great Christmas song." She should know, as the interview coincided with the release of her second collection of holiday songs, Merry Christmas II You. Watch Carey sing her own composition "Oh Santa" below. Both with her decade-defining band Eurythmics and as a solo act, Annie Lennox has kept fans enthralled with her thrilling contralto vocals, gender-bending videos, and her humanitarian work raising HIV/AIDS awareness. In July, the singer recalled when she first learned of the AIDS pandemic 30 years ago, writing, "Back then the story of the impending epidemic would have appeared to be the implausible imaginings of a dark science fiction film." Lennox performs "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" below."What pushed [Barbra Streisand] forward wasn’t a hunger for fame as much as a desire to be accomplished, brilliant, and beautiful," William Mann, whose biography Hello Gorgeous is due next year, wrote in an essay about the entertainer in August. Besides breaking music charts and box office records throughout her career, Barbra Streisand frequently shatters rules of what's expected of her. For example, few expected a Jewish girl to sing the religious Christmas carol "Silent Night" in the middle of a hot New York summer, as she did in her A Happening in Central Park concert (below)."My love for my gay fans is just pure, authentic love for them as supporters of me from the beginning, and me feeling connected to their struggles as someone who is a part of their fight," Lady Gaga said to The Advocate in July. The busy performer-activist made time to tape the holiday special A Very Gaga Thanksgiving, during which she performed a lush rendition of the staple "White Christmas" (below).Olivia Newton-John, whose new wedding-themed comedy A Few Best Men will open in the spring, has been a longtime favorite of LGBT fans and a supporter of marriage equality. In July, the singer spoke to The Advocateabout her experience performing at New York's gay pride the night after same-sex marriage was legalized in the state. "The air was electric, and there was so much excitement in the air from the couples," she said. "It’s wonderful that it can be recognized. People who have had long relationships and care about each and take care of each other should have the right to be married." Watch her perform "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" below. "In the pantheon of gay icons, Karen Carpenter may not be seated at Judy’s right hand, but she’s closer than you think," wrote Randy Schmidt, author of the definitive biography Little Girl Blue, making a solid explanation for the late singer's enduring appeal to the LGBT community. There are legions of people who consider The Carpenters' Christmas Portrait their favorite holiday album. Watch Carpenter sing "Merry Christmas Darling" below.