Saturday, 31 December 2011

Are White Christmases a thing of the past?

There are Christmas cards all over my book cases. I like to spot trends so, now that I know there aren't going to be any more cards, I've started looking for themes. This year, in order of popularity, they are:
1. Snow scenes.
2. Birds and animals.
3. Nativity scenes and/or carols.
4. Random Christmas decorations.

There's a lot of crossover, of course. Snow scenes with animals. Snow scenes with robins. Christmas decorations in the snow. I nearly did a Venn diagram, but I'm not quite that anal.

You'll have spotted the trend though... snow. Which is strange because in my garden there are still nasturtiums in flower: annual plants that don't survive frost. Even if Christmas didn't live up to the 'mildest ever' hype, the Met Office figures say this has been the second warmest year on record.

Are we going to have to rethink Christmas? I know from experience (and statistics) that White Christmases don't really happen in England very often. But I've grown to love, and hope for, a crisp clear day with a blue sky. A bracing walk to wake yourself up after an excess of alcohol, carbs and sleeping in. Not a series of grey, dull days that make you feel grey and dull and almost wish the holiday was over.

I have a Facebook friend in New Zealand so I know there are other ways of doing Christmas. But in this hemisphere? In this country? We're going to have to plan ahead: how, in years to come, to feel Christmassy without the cold.

I seem to have spent much of my adult life in a search for the 'best Christmas ever' - ever since I realised that the half-remembered childhood patterns aren't going to work any more. Other things have taken their place, but the constant is the winter. A festival of lights only works when it's dark. And a winter festival only works when it's cold.

But that, of course, is what the song White Christmas is about. It wasn't written in, or for, this country. And it wasn't written about experiencing snow, but wishing for it. After me... 'I'm dreaming of a white Christmas'.

We can always keep on dreaming. Maybe that's what all the cards were about.

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