A white Christmas is a Christmas with the presence of snow : either on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day , depending on local tradition. This phenomenon is most common in the northern countries of the Northern Hemisphere. Because December is at the beginning of the Southern Hemisphere summer, White Christmases there are extremely rare, except in Antarctica , in the Southern Alps of New Zealand 's South Island , and in parts of the Andes in South America as well as the southern tip of the continent, in places like Ushuaia, Argentina.
The opposite of a white Christmas, when there is no snow and thus the ground is bare, is traditionally known as a "green Christmas," from the color of bare grass. The notion of "white Christmas" was popularized by writings of Charles Dickens.
The depiction of snow-covered Christmas season found in The Pickwick Papers , A Christmas Carol , and his short stories was apparently influenced by memories of his childhood, which coincided with the coldest decade in England in more than a century.
The song, " White Christmas ", written by Irving Berlin and sung by Bing Crosby with the Ken Darby singers and John Scott Trotter and his orchestra and featured in the Paramount Pictures film Holiday Inn , is the best-selling single of all time and speaks nostalgically of a traditional white Christmas and has since become a seasonal standard.
The criteria for a "white Christmas" varies. In most countries, it simply means that the ground is covered by snow at Christmas, but some countries have more strict definitions. Although the term White Christmas usually refers to snow, if a significant hail accumulation occurs in an area on Christmas Day, as happened in parts of Melbourne on 25 December , this can also be described as a white Christmas, due to the resulting white appearance of the landscape resembling snow cover.
In most parts of Canada it is likely to have a white Christmas in most years, except for the coast and southern interior valleys of British Columbia , southern Alberta , southern Ontario , and parts of Atlantic Canada — in those places Christmas without snow is not uncommon in warmer years, with the British Columbia coast the least likely place to have a white Christmas.
The year saw some of the warmest weather on record, with such places as Quebec City experiencing their first green Christmas in recorded history. In the United States, there is often—but not always—snow on the ground at Christmas in the northern states, except in the Pacific Northwest , with Alaska the most likely to see snow on the ground at Christmas.
In the contiguous United States, the highest probabilities are in the Upper Midwest and parts of northern New England , along with higher elevations of the Rockies. Some of the least likely white Christmases that have happened include the Christmas Eve Snowstorm , which brought the first white Christmas in 50 years to New Orleans. The storm also brought the first measurable snow of any kind since to Brownsville, Texas , and its twin city of Matamoros , Mexico. The Florida winter storm of also occurred immediately before Christmas causing a white Christmas for cities like Pensacola and Jacksonville.
In the United States the notion of a white Christmas is often associated in the American popular consciousness with a Christmas celebration that includes traditional observances in the company of friends and family. According to research by the CDIAC , the United States during the second half of the 20th century experienced declining frequencies of white Christmases, especially in the northeastern region. In the United Kingdom , white Christmases were more common from the s to the s, during the Little Ice Age ; the last frost fair on the River Thames , however, was in the winter of — Although most places in the UK do tend to see some snow in the winter, it generally falls in January and February.
However white Christmases do occur, on average every 6 years. Christmas was a white Christmas in some parts of Britain,  with thick lying snow which easterly winds had brought over the previous week. Travel over much of Britain was badly affected by ice and snow on roads, and was made more slippery by partial daytime thaw followed by overnight refreezing. It was the first white Christmas anywhere in the United Kingdom since In Ireland , the prospect of early winter snow is always remote due to the country's mild and wet climate snowfall is most common in January and February.
Bookmakers offer odds every year for a white Christmas, which is officially lying snow being recorded at local time on Christmas Day, and recorded at either Dublin Airport or Cork Airport bets are offered for each airport. Since , countrywide, snow has fallen on 17 Christmas Days , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and , with nine of these having snow lying on the ground at , , , , , , , and At Dublin Airport, there have been 12 Christmas Days with snowfall since , , , , , , , , , , and The statistical likelihood of snow falling on Christmas Day at Dublin Airport is approximately once every 5.
White Christmases in Romania have been rare in recent times, and they will likely continue so, due to the geographic position of Romania and climate change. In recent years, blizzard and snow falls usually start in January and they usually end at the beginning of March. However, at high altitudes, white Christmases are common. In recent decades, white Christmas in Zagreb - defined as the presence of snow cover on the ground on Christmas morning - has been observed in , , , and - most recently, as of - in In general, due to the influence of the warm Gulf Stream on European climate, chances of a white Christmas are lower farther west.
For example, in southern France a white Christmas is rare, while in Bucharest , Romania , which is at a similar latitude, it is much more likely. Northern Italy and the mountain regions of central-south Italy may also have a white Christmas. In cities such as Turin, Milan or Bologna a Christmas with falling snow or snow on the ground is not a rarity. White Christmases are also common in the Carpathian Mountains , as well as the Alps. Because Christmas occurs during the summer in the Southern Hemisphere, white Christmases are especially rare events there, apart from Antarctica , which is generally uninhabited.
A white Christmas elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere is approximately equivalent to having snow in the Northern Hemisphere on 25 June. Some places like Ushuaia and Stanley, Falkland Islands have received measurable snowfall on Christmas Day on numerous occasions.
In New Zealand's Southern Alps , snow can fall any day of the year, and a white Christmas is possible. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Federal district 8 Wausau Wisconsin 91 Wilmington Delaware This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. December Learn how and when to remove this template message. Retrieved 22 May Penguin Random House.
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