Thursday, 9 December 2010

December - I'm dreaming of a White Christmas

 Snow, Ice and Christmas often go together, although why it should is a bit strange! There is no snow or ice in the Bible story. However, snow does fall in Israel. Bethlehem and Jerusalem are on a range of hills about 1600 ft (500 m) high. The hills often have very cold weather from November to April and snow can often fall. Early English Christmas cards rarely showed winter, favouring flowers, fairies and other fanciful designs that reminded the recipient of the approach of spring. 

Frost Fair of 1814 by Luke Clenell

The reason that we think of Snow and Ice at Christmas is probably down to the Victorians, most noteably to Charles Dickens' 'Christmas Carol'. When Dickens was a child, Britain had very heavy snow falls around Christmas. During the 17th and 18th centuries in London, a winter fair was held on the frozen River Thames.

 England has had only seven white Christmases throughout the 20th century. According to the Met. Office in London, snow fell on Christmas Day just twice, in 1938 and 1976. The last time we had a White Christmas with snow falling across the UK was 2004, although large parts of the southeast England missed significant falls. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are more likely to have a white Christmas than England.