It is that time of the year again when there is a chill in the air, holiday shopping has begun, and storefronts have put up Christmas wreaths. As the world decks up to celebrate Christmas day along with merrymaking with friends and family, the question on everyone’s minds is, “Will it be a white Christmas this year?” If Met office reports are to be believed, chances of heavy snowfall are high on the Christmas day this year.
Waking up to a snow-covered Christmas morning is a wish straight out of Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ and many harbour dreams of a white Christmas as they call it. Adding to festive cheer, the snow sparks a feeling of bonhomie and mirth among the joyous revellers all over the world. We are also reminded of the cold and wintry night that Jesus was born through the traditional hymn coming from the churches as well as the remixed carols that the DJs love to belt out at the Christmas parties and Yuletide balls.
What is a White Christmas?
While many have the misconception that a white Christmas refers to a blanket of snow all over the town, it actually refers to something else entirely. If the official definition of a white Christmas is to be adhered to, then the occurrence of a single snowflake falling on Christmas day counts as a white Christmas. The point of contention here is that sometimes snowflakes fall without any real snowfall due to inclement weather conditions, but does that still qualify as a white Christmas? Well, technically, it does. The falling of at least one snowflake on Christmas day, if recorded, makes it a white Christmas as per the scientific definition from the Met office. Earlier, only the falling of the snowflake at Met office counted for it to be a white Christmas, but nowadays, there are many points spread all across the cities that can record and send the reports to the Met office directly.
However, only a single snowflake falling and no record of a blanket of snow is a bit of a killjoy to the images that readily spring to mind when we hear white Christmas. Thus tradition demands there be enough snowfall on Christmas eve, so it stays till the morning or snows some more on Christmas day for it to be a white Christmas that takes our breath away.
The science of snow and snowflakes
Precipitation is at the root of forming snow. When precipitation rises high up in the sky, it becomes cold and turns to very tiny ice crystals. The ice crystals sometimes collide and stick together. When the temperature is low, and there is a presence of moisture in the air, those ice crystals fall to the ground as snow. However, for the snow to fall, the temperature has to be between sub-zero and 2° Celsius. The ice crystals fall to the ground as snow when they become heavy.
Will it snow on Christmas this year?
The Met office has predicted a wintry white Christmas this year, with forecasts about La Niña taking over from mid-November to early December. As is common knowledge, La Niña refers to the cooling effects of a lower sea surface temperature and usually precedes a season of heavy snowfall. The weather forecasts thus point towards a Christmas blanketed in snow for the countries in the northern hemisphere.
The forecasts and reports of La Niña have resulted in widespread hopes for a white Christmas this year as revellers all over the northern hemisphere are already dreaming about waking up to a Christmas morning cloaked in Dickensian snow. Basking in the yuletide spirit of merrymaking with friends and family remain the top priority for most while a few might head out for a vacation, snow predictions notwithstanding.
White Christmas classics
Celebrating Christmas has the old-world charm that many of us long for all year-round. It is finally that time again when the Christmas countdown has begun, and we can hardly wait for a visit from Santa Claus and his favourite reindeer's. Settling in with hopes of a white Christmas, here is a list of activities for having an enjoyable Christmas with friends and family, or alone, in case you wish to have some quiet time by yourself this Christmas day.
- Attend a Christmas service
Find out the Christmas service timings at the local church and head there for a traditional Christmas service. Replete with the singing of hymns and carols, you will be transported to another world altogether while ushering in Christmas with a difference. The camaraderie in the community and the festive mirth among people is not worth missing so go ahead and make new friends this Christmas day at the church service.
- Groove to a Christmas playlist
A classic that never goes out of fashion, creating a Christmas playlist is one of most fun activities enjoyed by many on Christmas day. Here are some of the timeless classics for a groovy Christmas playlist that will surely lift the spirits and add to the yuletide cheer.
- Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Jackson 5)
- White Christmas (Frank Sinatra)
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Bing Crosby/ Ella Fitzgerald)
- The Christmas Song (Nat King Cole)
- Jingle Bells (Rosemary Clooney)
- This Time of the Year (Brook Benton)
- Jingle Bell Rock (Bobby Helms/ Glee)
- All I Want for Christmas is You (Mariah Carey)
- Silent Night (Josh Groban)
- It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (Michael Bublé)
You can add your own favourites to the list or get one on Spotify and play your favourite holiday tunes for a memorably musical Christmas.
- Build a snowman or go tobogganing
If the dreams of a white Christmas do come true (and they seem likely according to the Met office predictions), then get outdoorsy and build a snowman or head to the nearest slopes for some tobogganing. For the uninitiated, tobogganing is akin to driving a sledge on the snow so you can don mittens and a Santa hat to play Santa all around the woods for a day of fun and frolic with friends.
- Cook, bake or stir up Christmas favourites
They say baking is another word for relaxation and you would hardly find anyone who turns down a well-baked cake smelling like Christmas. You can stir up some Christmas favourites at the kitchen for a fulfilling way to enjoy the holiday this year. Here are some of the classic dishes that can be enjoyed in Christmas and require a little effort and time in the kitchen. Sugar cookies, gingerbread houses, cornbread-is-a-skillet, cheesy rice, Yule logs and eggnog make for some classic Christmas treats that you can make without much hassles. It is best to call some friends over so you can spend a rejuvenating day indoors, cooking classic Christmas delicacies while listening to your favourite carols.
- Spread some joy and cheer
Upholding the values of spreading joy and cheer among all, you can spend the Christmas day volunteering at the local soup store for putting smiles on the faces of the less fortunate. You can also volunteer to be Santa for the local kids around the block and leave presents for them at the shelter of your choice. Many philanthropic foundations and do-gooders call for volunteers during the holiday season to share the festive mirth among all, and you too can be a part of something that signifies the true meaning of Christmas spirits this Christmas day.
- Take a spin around the town
Drive around the town (cautiously, in case it snows) to fondly gaze at the Christmas decorations and some window-shopping. The fairy lights and town square decorations look splendid around this time of the year, and the storefronts deck up with wreaths and mistletoe. If you are lucky enough, you might get a kiss under the mistletoe that tops off your ultimate Christmas day experience. You can also plan a Christmas lunch with the friends in town at that snazzy place you had been meaning to try out for ages and what better day than Christmas? Make reservations in advance in case you want to go for lunch in town as most places are usually filled with revellers basking in the Yuletide spirit. Alternatively, you can also get tickets to a Winter Wonderland or The Nutcracker Ballet show, both being an all-time hit with the young and old alike.
- Snuggle in for a movie marathon
Ditch the web series on Netflix for a day and snuggle in for a classic movie marathon, just like the old times. With some port wine and eggnog and a heap of freshly baked sugar cooking with frostings of your choice, get those sheets, dim the lights and wander into the world of cinema that brings holiday cheer to your home. Here are some all-time favourite Christmas movies that you can enjoy with your friends and family for having a reel white Christmas.
- It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
- Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
- White Christmas (1954)
- Die Hard (1988)
- Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)
- Little Women (1994)
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
- Love Actually (2003)
- The Polar Express (2004)
- A Christmas Carol (2009)
With fun activities lined up all through the day and plans to soak in the festive spirits on everyone’s favourite holiday, do not forget to spread the cheer and happiness among people all around you. It is that time of the year to hum carols under your breath and gift-shop for dear ones with the Met office reports stoking the fire of hopes for a white Christmas straight out of a Hallmark card. Go ahead and have fun!
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