Posted by: pyeager | December 16, 2009

The Romanticized White Christmas

Weather is one of the great mood setters, used extensively in television, movies, books, and song to set a scene; however, snow is one weather type that is often used in a contradictory fashion. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, I am again talking about the romanticized white Christmas.

I already talked about how there seem to be two winter seasons based on the way in which snow is perceived before and after Christmas (Five Weather Seasons?), but before you conclude that I’m going all Scrooge again, let me say that I love snow for Christmas. The difference is that I love snow, not love snow just for Christmas–and that’s where the contradiction arises for many of us.

Christmas Scene

Adults, tucked cozily in a room with a warming fireplace, glowing Christmas tree, and freshly unwrapped gifts, interrupt their loving conversation with family and friends long enough to lift their heads from their eggnog to look out a large window to see the perfectly behaved children sled riding and building snowmen while a gentle snow blankets the backdrop of a field of pines dotted with bright red cardinals. That, or something like it, is what most of us imagine Christmas will be like.


Since this is a weather blog, I’ll refrain from saying much about the potential problems with the scene unrelated to the weather (Will the children behave? Will family annoyances be put aside?) and just briefly make the point that any day with weeks (months?) of hype cannot possibly meet expectations. Christmas is a main emphasis in many of our lives for at least a month (and the stores often place Christmas decorations for sale prior to Halloween), so it rarely meets its lofty expectations.

Snow Is the Beneficiary!

Snow, since it plays such a large role in the idealized Christmas, is so romanticized through all the holidays that any practical considerations related to snow are dismissed–inconvenience is never part of a warm, fuzzy daydream. Travel delays, the cold, the slush, the boots (and hats and gloves), brushing off the sleigh, I mean car, shoveling the sidewalks and driveways are all forgotten in the image of the perfect Christmas.

If there is a white Christmas, then people aren’t as happy as the expected because of those previously dismissed practical considerations now have to be dealt with, leading to more disappointment with the season. If it’s a brown Christmas (no snow, dead grass, leafless trees), then they’re disappointed with that as well.

Solution: Love Snow All Winter!

The inconveniences related to snow are all real, especially related to travel, but it does paint a scene so well that I think the answer is to enjoy the snow all season long–assuming that you live in an area that receives snow. If you’re stuck with it, you might as well enjoy it!

White Christmas Posts from Friends

Some of my blogging friends have written about snow for Christmas in recent posts–from a more practical sense than I have today:

–Paul Yeager

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