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What it Means to Have a White Christmas

As the days steadily march towards Christmas weathermen and prognosticators take center stage to predict — or not — a “white Christmas”.

In Ohio they are saying the 2nd half of December will be too warm for much of a chance of snow on the ground come Christmas Day. In Detroit they are saying there is a very good chance at having an inch of snow on ground. And in Minnesota they say the pattern of mild weather will likely change before Christmas.

Not to put pressure on these people but we need to be clear what exactly a “White Christmas” means. It does NOT mean that snow will be on the ground Christmas day. It does NOT mean that Christmas Day will even be snowy.

A “white Christmas” is actual snow falling from the sky and piling up on the ground beginning Christmas Eve day, continuing Christmas Eve night, and snowing even still ALL Christmas day.

Snow that is already on the ground does not count towards a white Christmas. The stuff has to fall from the sky on cue and not end until it is over — preferably well after December 26th.

That’s the deal with white Christmas. Nothing less.

Christmas purists have to stand up for many things.

We say “Merry Christmas”. We open presents on Christmas morning, not Christmas Eve. Only Bing sings White Christmas, only Nat sings The Christmas Song, and only Frank sings Jingle Bells. We don’t put any kind of spice in our eggnog, genuine Christmas trees are real, and yes, we believe in Santa Claus.

And a white Christmas means snow falling for Santa to land on beginning no later than Christmas eve morning. Santa, of course, can still come even if the yard is filled with mud. But for it to be “perfect” there has to be real snow.

Yes, we know that means more than half the world will never have a perfect Christmas. We can’t help that. We feel for those people. They should move if it is so bad for them.

But the perfect Christmas is not the usual Christmas. It is a rare thing. A gift.

But let’s get it right people.

A lot of things detract from the perfect Christmas. Plastic stars on fake trees, stockings that are used just for decoration, “O Holy Night” sung by Barbra Streisand — these are all abominations.

We endure them in places because people don’t know better.

But “white Christmas” is a concept easy enough to understand. It does not happen often. When it does, we relish it. We bask in it. We remember it and we celebrate it.

Predicting it is hard and dangerous work. Weathermen beware.

Father of 7, Grandfather of 7, husband of 1. Freelance writer, Major League baseball geek, aspiring Family Historian.
  • T
    Terry Wood
  • December 8, 2015
Such absolutes about what is and isn't proper at Christmas sounds a bit Grinchy to me. While I prefer Crosby's version of White Christmas over others, there are dozens of wonderful renditions of the song. Nat King Cole's voice is unforgettable, but Mel Torme wrote "The Christmas Song" and sings a fine version of the song. Christmas is what it is to each individual, and that's what makes it truly special.
Terry. Relax, man. We're just kidding.
  • S
  • December 16, 2015
The abominations... True and made me laugh! But a white Christmas rule.... Many years ago my two children wanted a white Christmas... I told them living in Massachusetts they would probably get their wish... But they took matters into their own hands and emptied six boxes of tissues throughout the living room, even creating snow mounds near the Christmas tree. I never laughed harder! We had a white Christmas alright... But to this day I don't even remember if there was snow outside.

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