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Dreaming of a White Christmas

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It's right on cue, Charlie Brown!

"At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May's newfangled shows;
But like of each thing that in season grows."
Berowne, Love's Labour's Lost

Unless a work of fiction takes place in a tropical or arid setting, or in the Southern Hemisphere, it will always snow in winter. That's how you know it's winter.

Christmas time, in particular, is always a Currier and Ives picture-print type of affair (something that gets lampshaded in the song "Sleigh Ride"). In fact, those prints played a big part in helping to originate cultural expectations of snow at Christmas, as they were first produced in the 19th century during the tail end of the three-century-long climatic cold snap known as the Little Ice Age—a period which saw increased winter snowfall in both Europe and North America.

Characters in Christmas movies, Christmas specials, Christmas episodes, and so forth consequently tend to spend a great deal of time outdoors strolling, snowshoeing, skiing, sledding, sleighing, skating and/or snowmobiling through gently falling snow, and likely as not there will be at least several inches of fresh powder on the ground already. The snow is there just to look pretty. Thus, it does not melt or turn slushy, nor is it ever coated with dirt or litter. It is never accompanied by freezing winds, icy rains, or sleet. It can always be easily molded into snowmen or snowballs (real snow has to be warmish and wet first). No one ever has difficulty traveling in it, unless that's a plot point, and it even conveniently vanishes in time for the next episode. Why, it's almost like Mother Nature herself knows it's Christmas time and has decided to act accordingly.

This is most often seen in Hollywood depictions of New England or the Midwest, but will probably be the case in any setting if your writers are from southern California, where there's a much warmer ecosystem and December typically brings pouring rain and flash floods. What little snow they do see is usually the dry, powdery kind from ski trips to Lake Tahoe, not realizing that snow elsewhere tends to be far more wet and heavy.

In reality, white Christmases are likely to be seen only in specific regions when they're seen at all. In North America, this means the United States in Alaska, the Northeast (especially New England and Upstate New York), the Upper Midwest, and the mountains, and Canada outside of coastal British Columbia. In Northern Europe, particularly Scandinavia and Russia, Christmases are almost always white, with permanent snow cover generally arriving in late November or early December and lasting until anywhere from March to May.

In the United Kingdom, especially Southern England and Wales, there's seldom much if any snow at Christmas (although, given a recent spate of possibly-climate-change-related cold snaps, this might be changing in the future); interestingly, there seems to be some degree of regularity to when it does happen, however. Much of the popular imagery of an "old-fashioned" white Christmas goes back to Charles Dickens, who was really just being nostalgic for his own childhood white Christmases in the early 19th century... which just happened to fall during the latter part of the aforementioned Little Ice Age.note  Really, when you consider that pretty much all of Christmas as we now imagine it, and even Christmas being a popular holiday at all, was started by Dickens' A Christmas Carol, our modern-day Christmas would essentially not exist had it not been abnormally cold during the author's childhood.

Japan is a pretty warm place, with weather closely resembling the East Coast of the United States from roughly Boston to southern Georgia. Tokyo is at nearly the same latitude as Norfolk, Virginia and the Outer Banks of North Carolina, an area which gets snow in the winter every few years at best. For European reference, that roughly equates to Southern Europe, which includes Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal, countries which are famous for their warm weather and where it rarely snows unless it's on high altitudes.note  Thus, if it snows in an anime or manga, it will either be in a scene set in the far northern island of Hokkaido (whose capital Sapporo is known for its snow sculptures), or under very specific circumstances such as Snow Means Love, in which it has to snow for the trope to work. It's also worth mentioning that outside of Hokkaido, one of the best places in which to see snow in Japan around Christmastime is Aomori Prefecture and Fukushima Prefecture in the Tohoku region; Aomori City in particular is often described as one of the world's snowiest cities south of the Arctic circle, and with picturesque scenes such as these, it's hard not to see why it has this reputation.

One of the few places to consistently avoid this trope is Australia; even the laziest of writers would find it hard to miss that Christmas falls at the height of summer in the Southern Hemisphere, and Australia being the best-represented country of that hemisphere in Anglophone culture, Popcultural Osmosis has caught up with the fact that they do things differently there.

Trope Namer is the song ''White Christmas'' by Bing Crosby, composed and written by Irving Berlin. Compare Let There Be Snow, for when a character specifically wishes for snowfall in a place or time where it would be unlikely.

Sub-Trope of Holiday-Appropriate Weather.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Sailor Moon S: The Movie, it starts snowing quite heavily in Tokyo in the lead up to Christmas (the film takes place in the Christmas season), though its being artificially generated by the Big Bad.
  • The first segment of Darker than Black:Ryuusei no Gemini, set in Vladivostok around Christmas and the New Year, has the city covered in snow — which amused the locals to no end, because it, like the most of Manchuria, is known for its dry, windy winters during which the city receives notoriously little snow. In fact, some years may be entirely snowless, and the heaviest snowfalls usually happen in March anyway.
  • One of the winters portrayed in the Death Note anime is actually completely snowless, to the point where it rains in January — which is actually a normal weather for the Tokyo area. You'd need to head north or into the mountains to see snow in Japan, though some areas in the Japanese Alps are arguably the snowiest places on the whole Earth.
  • Defied in Girls und Panzer in the Christmas Episode of "Motto Love Love Sakusen Desu", in which the Oarai school ship goes near Australia for Christmas, with Anzu saying that one advantage of school ships is that you can go to warm places for the winter. There is snow elsewhere, though, such as at the Nishizumi house, where Maho is hosting a Christmas party with several of her teammates.
  • Discussed but ultimately averted in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, where Shirogane comments on having yet another snowless Christmas in Toyko immediately after he and Kaguya have their Relationship Upgrade. Kaguya on the other hand is actually happy about this, since a desire for normalcy is a big part of her character.
  • Lampshaded in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, where Hayate wonders if there will be snow later during Christmas Eve. Naturally snow does begin to fall on that night right after they kill the berserked self-defense program, combining this with Snow Means Death, especially since the first Reinforce performs her Heroic Sacrifice on the snow-covered Christmas Day.
  • Downplayed in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid. It starts snowing on Christmas Eve, but not enough for it to stick. Tohru explicitly refers to it as a White Christmas.
  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas: Zero's Journey, this is the default weather in Christmas Town, and the climax of the story once again takes place on Christmas Eve.
  • RahXephon has a weather-controlling enemy show up specifically to justify having a white Christmas. Subverted in that everyone is quite surprised by the snow and it is in fact cold, which at least one character finds desperately uncomfortable.
  • Strawberry Panic!'s anime adaptation ends on a snowy day, but with green leaves on all the trees.

    Comic Books 
  • A comic tie-in for Batman: The Animated Series had Mister Freeze escaping and deep-freezing Gotham during an unseasonably warm Christmas. Batman fights him in a cemetery near the graves of his parents, and as it turns out, Mrs. Fries as well. They were married on a snowy Christmas, and Victor was feeling really nostalgic.
  • Averted in The Death of Superman, where a week after the funeral, it was Christmas, and it was raining instead. Captain Marvel commented that he wished it would snow, but Green Lantern and Batman reminded him that since they had to bury Superman the week before, the rain seemed appropriate, and no one really wanted to think about the holidays anyway.
  • Parodied and invoked in a Christmas story from Monica's Gang. Smudge, excited to play in the snow like he saw in cartoons and movies, gets out of his house during Christmas Eve expecting cold, only to realize it is is summer in Brazil during December, and thus, really hotnote . Wanting to please Smudge and get him as his recruit in his quest to pollute the world, the recurring supervillain Captain Fray disguises himself as Santa and brings snow to the neighbourhood... but Smudge soon discovers the "snow" was just foam.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes. Every single strip set in the winter has feet of snow, enough to make giant snow beasts. Calvin apparently lives in Northern Canada. (Or Ohio in the '60s, '70s, and early '80s, as Bill Watterson did. Yes, there really was that much snow. Even now, the northern part of the state in particular gets quite a lot of snow due to the influence of Lake Erie.)
    • Although there are some strips where Calvin complains bitterly about the lack of snow, and one in particular where he lights candles around his sled and then lies on it, praying to the snow demons. There's also a quote something along the lines of, "If I was in charge, we wouldn't see the ground between November and March!"
  • Frazz deconstructs this one here, pointing out that even Michigan doesn't always see a white Christmas, and much of the world (including Bethlehem) never does.
  • Garfield often has a few inches of snow on the ground around Christmas time. As with the others, somewhat justified as the strip is set in central Indiana, where snow is not uncommon.
  • Peanuts usually features plenty of snow in its Christmas and wintertime strips, but as with Calvin and Hobbes this is pretty well justified by the setting (generally accepted to be in or around the Twin Cities of Minnesota, in this case).

    Films — Animation 
  • 101 Dalmatians is set in Britain, and on their way from Suffolk back to London, the puppies go home in the snow and it's said to be around Christmas time.
  • At the end of The Nightmare Before Christmas Santa Claus, to show there's no hard feelings, introduces snow to Halloween Town on Christmas.
  • Considering that The Polar Express starts out in Grand Rapids (located in one of Michigan's infamous snowbelts) and leads to the North Pole, it makes sense that there would be plenty of snow on the ground.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Babe has a similar issue, set as it is in New South Wales.
  • Batman Returns is the only Batman movie in the franchise that takes place around Christmas and has snow fall upon the normally dirty streets of Gotham City. (Ironically, it is the only Batman film except for the 1966 TV-inspired original to be filmed in Los Angeles, California, where it almost never snows. The nine Warner Brothers soundstages used had to be refrigerated, forcing the actors to bundle up even though it could be 70 degrees outside!)
  • No one in the film version of Bridget Jones' Diary even remarks on the tooth-rottingly quaint white Christmas happening around them, even though this almost never happens in Southern England. And the film ends with Bridget kissing Darcy in a prettily snow-covered street in London.
  • At the end of the Charlotte's Web movie, it snows when Wilbur lives to see Christmas, and the snow reminds him of Charlotte.
  • Subverted at the beginning of the 1987 TV movie A Childs Christmas In Wales; Thomas is disappointed that it's raining on Christmas Eve. He cuts out some paper snowflakes, and his grandfather gives him a snow globe as an early Christmas present and tells stories about childhood Christmases (which involved a great deal of snow). But there's no actual snow to be seen in the present-day scenes until the very last scene of the movie, when Thomas has fallen asleep and his grandfather opens the bedroom window and catches some of the softly-falling snowflakes in his hand.
  • Inverted in Christmas In Wonderland. Although the film is set in Edmonton, Alberta the ground is snow-free, a very rare occurrence indeed.
  • A Christmas Story has this, but it's entirely justified: The story is set in northwestern Indiananote , which is bordered by just enough of Lake Michigan to be hammered by lake-effect snow every year.
  • The first two Die Hard films take place at Christmas. It only snows in the second film, outside the District of Columbia, though; the original is set in Los Angeles. (With a few exceptions, the DC area usually gets snow in late winter, if at all, not in December, and huge snowstorms are rare.)
  • The happy little town in Edward Scissorhands starts getting snow very suddenly because Edward, who is believed dead but actually self-exiled in the castle above the town, is making ice sculptures. One wonders where the ICE came from, though...
  • In Elf, it snows around Christmas (a snowball fight happens once) in New York, which is a relatively common though not every-year occurrence.
  • Far and Away: In a heavy Boston snowfall, Joseph and Shannon break into a rich family's house, where they find a Christmas tree and a Christmas dinner set out. They share a kiss and are about to start eating when the owners return, forcing them to flee.
  • Averted in Gone with the Wind. Set in Atlanta, Georgia, were snow in itself is a rare occurance, even more so on Christmas. note  Instead, it rained on Christmas.
  • In the film version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when Harry and Hermione go to Godrick's Hollow, the snow there is the first indication that it's Christmas Eve.
  • And that trope-naming song? Its premiere came not in the film of the same name, but rather 12 years earlier in the film Holiday Inn. The version in that film is actually a romantic duet between Bing Crosby and Marjorie Reynolds.
  • Home Alone depended on this trope as a setup. Not that this would be terribly unrealistic for Christmas in Chicago, a city known for its occasional blizzards (although actual white Christmases are bit hit-and-miss).
  • In It's a Wonderful Life, the presence or absence of falling snow on Christmas Eve is used to show whether or not George Bailey exists in a given reality, an early version of a Butterfly Effect.
  • Adressed in The Legend of Frenchie King. The setting is a community of French immigrants in Texas during Christmas and one of them complains about the heat and how it'll be his 17th Christmas without snow.
  • In the film version of Mame, the "We Need a Little Christmas" number concludes with the characters leaving Mame's apartment just as it's beginning to snow... in November.
  • Surprisingly averted in the original Miracle on 34th Street. Granted, most of the film takes place indoors anyway, but even the final scene of Susan finding the house on Christmas Day shows a completely snow-free neighborhood (something which is admittedly not unheard-of for Long Island in December).
  • In the Western film The Proposition, Christmas is used quite centrally, but there is no snow, because the characters are in the Australian Outback. Emily Watson gets a bunch of cotton and pretends it's snow.
  • Subverted in the film White Christmas, which takes place largely at a resort hotel in Vermont suffering for business due to an unseasonably warm winter. It finally snows at the end of the movie, which takes place on Christmas Eve.
  • In Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?, Aunt Roo wakes up Katy and Christopher on Christmas morning by flinging open the curtains and shouting, "Children! Children! Wake up! Wake up! It's snowing!"
  • Whether or not there will actually be snow for Christmas is a key plot point and gives the French film Y aura-t-il de la neige à Noël? its title.

  • Averted in A Christmas Carol, suprisingly enough. Much is made in the narration about the bitter cold, thick fog, ice, etc., but snow is not mentioned save for a single passage (which relates to Scrooge and the weather in general):
    External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn’t know where to have him. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. They often “came down” handsomely, and Scrooge never did.
  • Played with (alongside many, many other Christmas tropes) in the Discworld novel Hogfather. In the middle of Hogswatchnight (specifically, in the alternate time-dimension used by the Hogfather to travel the Disc in a single night), the usually muddy streets of Ankh-Morpork are covered in pristine white snow — but it's acknowledged that by morning this will look more like coffee meringue.
  • In the novel Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, the unconscious shaping of his world by Adam Young means that his home town of Tadfield has the sort of weather he thinks it ought to have: "It never rained on Bonfire Night and always snowed on Christmas Eve".'
  • In Henry Huggins, Henry worries that he'll get a green Christmas, but he gets a white one instead.
  • Honor Harrington: Grayson usually doesn't get snow at Christmas, as they stubbornly retain their use of the Gregorian calendar even though their planetary year is nothing like Earth's. It does happen occasionally though, such as near the start of the 9th book, when the calendars just happened to coincide.
  • A interesting variant in Connie Willis' short story "Just Like the Ones We Used to Know" has it start pouring snow nationwide just after midnight on Christmas Eve morning... and not stop until Christmas comes. A White Christmas indeed.
  • In The Moomins, Moomintroll wakes up from hibernation on Christmas and it's snowing. Justified because the Moomins live in Scandinavia, where Christmases are nearly always white.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Any Christmas Special or Christmas Episode will naturally have this.
  • Series/31Minutos: The song "Calurosa Navidad" (Hot Christmas) tackles this from the Southern Hemisphere-residing perspective of a bunch of Mall Santas who still have to dress in thick red-and-white outfits in the middle of hot Chile summers.
  • Naturally doesn't happen in the Christmas episode of Bottom, leaving Richie to wonder, "Why doesn't it ever snow? You can't build a drizzle man, can you? Or play drizzle balls?"
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer had it in "Amends". Justified, as it was a magical snow sent by the Powers That Be to save Angel.
  • Community was set in Colorado, but filmed in Los Angeles, meaning no snow for outdoor shots.... But they get around this in the holiday episode "Comparative Religion" by having the big climactic fight in the artificial snow of an outdoor 'winter wonderland' tableau.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Subverted in "The Christmas Invasion". At the end, after the aliens are defeated on Christmas Day, snow starts falling amid a meteor shower. Then the Doctor mentions that it's not snow, it's ash — the alien spaceship burning up in the atmosphere.
    • In the following year's Christmas Episode, "The Runaway Bride", the Doctor uses the TARDIS' previously unseen powers of weather control to create a small snowfall on demand.
    • And in the year after this, it was water from the ballast tanks of the Titanic (the spaceship version).
    • In "Planet of the Ood" [an ice-planet], the Doctor exclaims loudly and full of joy, "Finally, proper snow!" This is, of course, a normal episode and not a Christmas special.
    • He did finally see proper snow in the 2008 special, set in 1851, but he didn't notice.
    • In the "The Waters of Mars", it snowed without any type of interference. But, again, "The Waters of Mars" wasn't a Christmas special (It aired and was set in November)
    • The 2010 Christmas special has ice crystals trapped in fog by Kazran's weather machine. When Abigail's singing resonates with the crystals, it snows.
    • The 2011 Christmas special is mostly set on another ice-planet.
    • In the 2012 Christmas special, the snow is the villain!
    • The 2013 Christmas special is set on yet another ice planet, where it's constantly snowing over a town that's actually called Christmas.
    • The 2014 Christmas special opens on a snowy Christmas Eve ( possiby All Just a Dream) and is also partly set in the Arctic.
    • It's not clear if the planet in the opening of the 2015 Christmas special is another ice world, or if it's just winter there, but it's snowing.
    • The 2017 Christmas Special opens in the Antarctic, and there are white flakes floating about at the end (the 1914 Christmas Armistice), although that's probably ash again.
  • Subverted in the Drake & Josh Christmas special, where at the end it looks like it's the whole "miracle snowfall in San Diego" scenario but ends up being hard cheese shredded by a maniac and his beloved wood-chipper. This is a revision of the original plan by Drake and Josh to make snow by putting ice in the wood-chipper, which instead caused hundreds of dollars of property damage in a frozen drive-by.
  • The past few Christmasses in EastEnders have been white ones, even though Walford appears to be the only part of London to get any snow.
  • The Eureka Christmas episode "O Little Town" has the town getting steadily warmer due to the energy buildup as it shrinks. When the energy gets released via a giant-snowflake shaped hydrogen crystal, it snows (and the crystal itself becomes a Christmas star).
    • The second Christmas episode "Do You See What I See", the advanced tech that goes wrong is an attempt to create holographic snow as a surprise for the kids.
  • The second The Flash (2014) Christmas Episode ends with everyone commenting on how depressing a rainy Christmas is ... until Caitlin decides to use her An Ice Person powers to do something about this.
  • Since Full House takes place in San Francisco, which is in California, Aunt Becky (originally from Nebraska) finds it hard to get used to Christmas without snow, as seen in the 1992 Christmas Episode "A Very Tanner Christmas." So at the end, during a big holiday get-together party on Christmas Night, Uncle Jesse surprises Becky with a beautiful snow-covered backyard, made possible by ordering 17,000 snow cones. Naturally, Becky loves it, and the episode ends with the family and their friends playing in the snow to the sound of "Walking in a Winter Wonderland."
    • In the second Fuller House Christmas Episode "Oh My Santa," at the end it actually starts snowing in San Francisco on Christmas Eve. Lampshaded by the main characters, claiming how it doesn't snow where they are, but they find the gently-falling snow very beautiful anyways.
  • Adding to the surreal level of "ooh isn't that pretty"-ness in Gilmore Girls, it snows every winter just in time for the Lorelais to take a stroll. Justified in that Stars Hollow is in Connecticut.
  • Played straight (and combined with Let There Be Snow) in a Christmas episode of The Golden Girls, in which all of their travel plans are cancelled and the four women are stuck in Miami for the holidays. Miami, Florida. Earlier in the episode, they complain about how hot it is and how they haven't seen a white Christmas in some time. But with the help of an outside observer, they rekindle their Christmas spirit and stand awestruck at the door of a diner, watching as the snow falls. They're also quite happy to see the snow, despite being held up to see their families, and it's also specifically mentioned that the snow is really light and whippy.
    • Just for the record, it actually has snowed in Miami. But that was a freak, one-time occurrence... and it also wasn't at Christmas.
  • Averted in Greek. Chapter 2 begins with "spring" semester — which actually starts in late January. In Ohio. Without a flake of snow in sight. (As an aside, those of us who live in the colder parts of the United States love how it's called Spring Semester despite starting in what is usually the very worst part of winter.)
  • James May's Man Lab: Since he's never seen one, James tries various methods to create a white Christmas, using everything from cloud seeding to liquid nitrogen. Alas, only a tiny quantity of "real snow" was produced in the end, and the crew was forced to resort to fake snow.
  • Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger: Near the end of their Christmas Episode (44), Luka / GokaiYellow uses the powers of Magimother to make it snow.
  • Lampshaded and justified in a Mary Tyler Moore Show episode:
    Phyllis: You know the wonderful thing about living in Minnesota? We always have a white Christmas.
    Rhoda: The thing that gets me is the white Easters.
    • Another episode had Lou Grant deliver a rant on how he hated snow. Then he moved to Los Angeles for his spinoff show... and, during his first Christmas there, he got all nostalgic for the snows of Minneapolis.
  • The M*A*S*H episode "Dear Sis" features one of the more unsubtle examples of this, when they are all in the mess tent celebrating, and then it starts snowing and they stare out the windows in amazement. For a brief moment, the camp actually looks pretty (as lampshaded by Colonel Potter), but an ambulance arrives seconds later with wounded and the staff has to get back to work.
    • Then again, considering they're supposed to be in Korea (despite behaving as if they're in Vietnam and the show lasting about four times as long as the actual Korean War), snow in December wouldn't exactly be unusual.
    • Another Christmas episode, "Death Takes a Holiday", has snow start falling at the very end of the final scene... even as trees thick with green summer leaves are visible in the background. D'oh!
  • The Christmas Special for Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, "I'm Dreaming of a White Ranger", has the citizens of Angel Grove get a white Christmas after the Rangers save Santa Claus from Lord Zedd. This is the only Christmas special the series gets for over a decade and there's no more snow in any Ranger city after that.
  • Played straight in a Christmas episode of My So-Called Life; Angela and her mother stand in the falling snow outside a church.
  • This occurs in the Santa Claus episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, where Mike's dream comes true and it snows. In space.
  • Played with in Roswell, where Isabel at one point makes it snow in New Mexico for her brother's benefit.
  • Highlighted in the SCTV sketch "The Fella Who Couldn't Wait for Christmas", starring a fidgety Ed Grimley:
    "Oh, I can't believe it's gonna be a white Christmas; it could't be much better, I must say. Thanks, Bing! Oh, as if he had anything to do with it, but ya know, in a way I'll bet he did!"
  • The Secret World of Alex Mack averts this. Paradise Valley is set in the American southwest, and lampshades this in the Christmas episode by reporting the weather is still quite hot and sunny with no snow at all. Played straighter in the series tie-in novels: Zappy Holidays has cold weather in it.
  • An episode of Third Watch's fourth season had a very heavy snowstorm hit New York (although not at Christmas), and Faith Yokas' daughter Emily was trapped in a car. The squads find her, get her to hospital, and the episode ends. The next episode begins on the next morning — and there's no sign whatsoever that the storm ever happened.
  • Played with in the first-season Christmas episode of Veronica Mars; to create a feeling like this, the hosts of the big party have set up a snow machine outside, along with carolers. (This being Veronica Mars, the husband then gets stabbed by the woman he cheated on his wife with, for sleeping with a third woman that night, at the big Halloween party, when he was about to try cheating on his wife with a fourth woman. Ta-daaa. Veronica, narrating, says to herself, "No, Veronica, there is no Santa Claus.")
  • Averted in The X-Files Christmas episodes. One takes place in San Diego and the other in Maryland. Scully notes during the one set in Maryland that the forecasters were calling for rain, and maybe a White Christmas. Not unusual for the setting; though Maryland does get snow, the winters tend to be mild and wet rather than cold and snowy.
  • Schitt's Creek: All the episodes take place in spring or summer, except the Christmas Episode, so it naturally snows on Christmas Eve as Johnny and Moira walk back to the motel. The town is implied to be somewhere in rural Canada, so it's not a stretch to think it would snow.

  • The rarely-heard intro to the Irving Berlin song for which the trope is named reveals the reason the singer is "dreaming of a white Christmas": he's in Beverly Hills.
    • It was also somewhat ironic at its peak of popularity in December, 1942. American troops were fighting only in North Africa (Sahara Desert) and Guadalcanal and New Guinea (in the southern tropics) at the time.
    • Berlin actually wrote the song while lounging by a swimming pool in Phoenix. Similarly, Bob Wells came up with the lyrics for "The Christmas Song" (Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose, etc.) while trying to "think cool" during a summer heat wave in Los Angeles.
    • At the end of the Vietnam War, as the North Vietnamese Army approached the outskirts of Saigon, the Armed Forces Radio stations began playing Christmas songs (It was late April). Vietnam vets have said that when they heard Bing Crosby singing "White Christmas" on the radio, they knew that the end was at hand.
    • Speaking of Bing Crosby, he was from Tacoma, WA. It's rare to have snow on the ground in December there.
  • This trope has been so ubiquitous for so long, many popular Christmas Songs don't actually even mention the holiday and are really just songs about winter. "Jingle Bells",†  "Jingle Bell Rock", "Sleigh Ride", "Frosty the Snowman", "Winter Wonderland", "Marshmallow World", "Let It Snow", "Baby, It's Cold Outside", "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm"... all of these are just secular, seasonal tunes that make no mention of any holiday, and would be appropriate long past December. In fact, the more romantic ones wouldn't be out of place for Valentine's Day (February 14), but for some reason that holiday is never associated with winter despite taking place in the thick of it. Instead, these songs are rarely heard on the radio or in department stores after December 25th, and never, ever after January 1st.
  • A popular song by the country group Alabama has the line "It's Christmas in Dixie/It's snowing in the pines." While parts of Virginia and Tennessee, which are technically in the South, do get significant snowfall because of being in or near the Appalachian mountains, the states most people THINK of as "Dixie" (Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina) are usually far too warm for snow.
  • The music video for the Dashboard Confessional song "Stolen" shows it snowing at the Hotel Del Coronado in... Coronado, California, which is across the bay from San Diego. It NEVER snows in Coronado. Ever.
  • The Australian Christmas carol "Christmas Where the Gum Trees Grow" quite understandably averts this:
    Christmas where the gum trees grow
    There is no frost and there is no snow
    Christmas in Australia's hot!
    Cold and frosty's what it's not!
    When the bloom on the Jacaranda tree is here
    Christmas time is near!
  • Deliberately subverted by Greg Lake's "I Believe in Father Christmas" (Lyrics by Lake and Pete Sinfield):
    They said there'd be snow at Christmas
    They said there'd be peace on Earth
    But instead it just kept on raining
    A veil of tears for the Virgin Birth
  • Pet Shop Boys released a Christmas single in 2009 appropriately and accurately called "It Doesn't Often Snow at Christmas".
  • Gene Autry's song "If It Doesn't Snow on Christmas" (hilariously and profanely covered by Joe Pesci) concerns itself with how Santa Claus will make his rounds in the absence of the white stuff.
  • Parodied in Mitch Benn's "Christmas Single".
    In the second verse, I guess the moment's right,
    To express the hope that Christmas will be white,
    Though it hasn't snowed at Christmas since 1962,
    And no-one in their right mind really wants it to.
  • "Pine Cones and Holly Berries", from Here's Love (a musical adaptation of Miracle on 34th Street), alludes to this in its lyrics:
    Snow clouds hang low and threat'ning;
    Maybe it won't, praying it may...
  • The traditional English carol "In the Bleak Midwinter" posits these conditions ("Snow had fallen, snow on snow") at Christ's Nativity, although most Biblical scholars doubt the event actually took place in December... which, in Bethlehem, wasn't likely to be snowy anyhow.
  • Played for Drama in "The Cat Carol", where a cat is left outside on a snowy Christmas Eve night. She keeps a mouse warm, but even though it survives, she dies from hypothermia.

    Puppet Shows 
  • One Muppet routine, featured in such television appearances as a Perry Como Christmas special and The Ed Sullivan Show, involved a group of reindeer who are concerned that it's three days before Christmas and it hasn't snowed yet, as if it needs to snow on Christmas.
  • Spitting Image had a satirical ditty called "Santa Claus Is on the Dole", which begins thusly:
    Snow is lying on the ground
    And in the air the sleigh bells sound
    The frosty patterned windowpane
    It's British summer time again...
  • In the Thunderbirds Christmas episode "Give or Take a Million", Brains arranges for a white Christmas on the tropical Tracy Island by setting up a snow machine.

    Video Games 
  • Played straight in Batman: Arkham Origins, where a Christmas Eve blizzard conveniently empties Gotham so the only people on the streets are criminals and Dirty Cops.
  • In Egg Cave, the site has a Christmas theme which includes snow.
  • In Moshi Monsters, every December, around Twistmas (the Moshi Monsters equivalent of Christmas), a creature called the Great White Furi sneezes, which makes it snow (it's implied to be his snot, but it doesn't have the consistency of snot, so it's possible that this creature sneezes out frozen water).
  • Zigzagged in Neopets: Christmas is not celebrated in the game's world Neopia per se, but they do celebrate a similar festival called the Day of Giving, complete with pine trees and advent calendars. Around Christmas/the Day of Giving, the site itself has a snowy theme, and the site places a heavy emphasis on the perpetually snowy Terror Mountain area (which houses the Advent Calendar), but the in-universe weather still varies depending on location.
  • When winter arrives in Proteus, the snow starts falling and the snowflakes play music for you.
  • The homepage for the Christmas version of Super Sized Family, known as "Holiday House", features snow.
  • In the custom Tomb Raider game TRSearch HQ: Emergency!, it's Christmas at Croft Manor and it's snowing heavily outside. Then the next level is "British Mountain Ranges".
  • The protagonists of World in Conflict meet Christmas in Cascade Falls, a small town near Fort Teller. The town is evacuated because of the Soviet assault, but the Christmas decorations are still in place—and it's covered in snow. That map is one of the snowiest in the entire game, in fact, possibly even more so than the ones set in Russia.

    Web Original 
  • The official websites for CBeebies and CBBC have a snowy theme around Christmas.
  • In the web video The Mine Song but it's Jingle Bells, the Mine Song from LazyTown is rearranged so that it scans to Jingle Bells and the creator has also added snow to the video.
  • Ross's Game Dungeon's Christmas episodes typically operate under the logic that "snow equals Christmas", as the game being reviewed usually has nothing to do with Christmas, but does have plenty of snow. As of 2016, the only exception to this has been Still Life, and that only has half of the game taking place during Christmas.
    Ross: I'm really not trying to dodge actual Christmas games to look at, but almost every Christmas game I've seen falls into one of two categories: a minigame that you can do in 5 minutes, or some existing game with a Christmas skin on it. There's a few exceptions, but that's what, 3 games?
  • Springhole: The author dislikes this trope because they think it's a "gift-wrapped insult" to people who live in places where white Christmases are unheard of.
  • Rowdy C. of TV Trash discusses this in his review of Home Alone: The Holiday Heist: After a character says "Will you look at that snow? Never got that in California", he cues up a picture of a snowy scene in Fresno and says, "That's Hollywood for you, thinking that California doesn't go any farther north than Bakersfield."

    Western Animation 
  • Also nearly averted in the Christmas episode of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius entitled "Holly Jolly Jimmy." It doesn't start snowing until the very end, on Christmas morning.
  • Subverted in the Adventure Time episode "The More You Moe, the Moe You Know". Jake looks at the snow-covered landscape and laments about BMO's "birthday-holiday overlap" because "everyone's already jollied out". But according to Finn, there is no holiday happening beyond the birthday, and Princess Bubblegum admits that the winter wonderland is the result of a failed experiment of hers... implying that the snow alone prompted Jake to wrongly assume the proximity of a Christmas-like event.
  • In the Arthur Christmas Special "Arthur's Perfect Christmas," one feature Arthur wants in his ideal perfect Christmas is to have snow during the Christmas season. However, a number of things are slowly not turning out to match Arthur's ideas, including the lack of snow. In fact, on Christmas Eve, when he is outside, he notices a lone snowflake and his hopes rise, only for it to start raining heavily. However, it DOES finally snow on Christmas night, after the relatives have left, to which Arthur has found it to be a perfect Christmas after all, but in a different way.
    • There have also been various episodes taking place in the wintertime where there is plenty of snow in Elwood City, and Christmas is barely mentioned in a couple of them, such as "Arthur and the Crunch Cereal Contest," "Sue Ellen Moves In," "D.W.'s Snow Mystery," "Arthur's New Years Eve," "The Long, Dull Winter," "The Blizzard," "Arthur's Teacher Moves In," "Prunella's Prediction," "Arthur's Snow Biz," "Castles in the Sky," quite a bit actually.
  • Referenced but averted on Blinky Bill: In Blinky Bill's White Christmas, the kids desperately want it to snow, but it doesn't because they're in Australia. In the end, they decide to pretend that paper scraps and sawdust are snow, and play in that.
  • From the obscure animated Cabbage Patch Kids Christmas Special: the Kids take one step outside their magical Cabbage Patch (where It's Always Summer) and find themselves in waist-deep snow in a picturesque White Pine forest that might as well be North Conway, New Hampshire. Then they take a ride to "The City" and find an equally picturesque setting with people in furry coats and old brick buildings frosted with ice and snow and such. According to a small sign in a park, the city in question is... Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Dimmsdale in The Fairly Oddparents is located in California, yet they manage to get snow at Christmastime. It all melts away by December 26th, and does not snow again for the rest of the winter, except in the town's ski resort.
  • In Futurama, the episode "Xmas Story", it's Christmas (or Xmas as they prefer to call it) and it's snowing.
  • Spoofed in an episode of Hey Arnold!. The first half of the show (each entire episode holds 2 different stories) is about a very bad heat wave over the city that renders almost everyone crazy from the high temperature. At the end of that story, a single snowflake can be seen floating down from above. Part 2 of the episode, a different story, is about how the town is suddenly blanketed with a thick sheet of snow.
  • A Lilo & Stitch: The Series Christmas episode featured snow in Hawaii. This enters the realm of complete ridiculousness. (Hawaii does get snow, only it's at the top of Mauna Kea on the Big Island, not Kaua'i where the show is set.)
  • In the Little Princess episode "I Want to Be Good", Little Princess is trying to be good for Christmas and it's snowing. The show is set somewhere in the UK.
  • The beginning of the Looney Tunes short Putty Tat Trouble has Tweety shoveling snow out of his nest and lamenting "This is what I get for dweaming of a White Chwistmas!"
  • A Subversion of this trope is the main plot of The Looney Tunes Show Christmas Episode. There has been a heatwave, so Lola puts on an adaptation of A Christmas Carol, while Daffy and Foghorn Leghorn set up a giant fan to blow cold air from the North Pole.
  • In The Loud House episode "11 Louds a-Leapin'", it is Christmas and it's snowy weather. Justified since The Loud House is set in Michigan, where snow on Christmas is relatively common.
  • Naturally it's snowy in The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh Christmas Episode "Winnie-the-Pooh and Christmas Too!", but there have been quite a few other episodes where there's snow and it doesn't take place around Christmas, such as "Find Her, Keep Her," "The Magic Earmuffs," "The Wishing Bear" and "Tigger is the Mother of Invention." Strangely in the Valentine's episode "Un-Valentine's Day," it looks more like the middle of spring instead of February, where there is no snow, and the characters aren't wearing any winter clothing when outside (Christoper Robin even has his usual T-shirt and shorts on.)
  • Nearly averted in the Christmas episode of Recess, where it is remarked that it is quite warm for December. Then at the end of the episode, down comes the snow.
  • An exception is the Rocko's Modern Life Christmas Special, where O-Town hasn't had a white Christmas in years, until Rocko and a young elf bring Christmas cheer back to the town. Rocko is Australian, and as such would have celebrated Christmas in the summer, till he came to the US. However, "O-Town" is an actual nickname for Orlando, Florida and the only snow the average Orlandoan sees is at Blizzard Beach water park at Disney World (although a map of the United States shown in "I Have No Son!" implies that Rocko lives in Ohio, near the Great Lakes; snow is fairly common in that area)...
  • Rugrats:
    • In an early episode, a California flag is seen outside the local post office, making you assume that's where the show is set. In the Christmas episode the families rent a cabin in the mountains, so they can have "a real White Christmas". But then, a later episode involves a blizzard happening at the characters' home.
    • In a related incident, in one episode we get a changing seasons montage, including snow, only to find out it's only been a week. As one character comments: "Crazy Weather we've been having, eh?"
    • There was an early episode where the babies pretend to be explores in an icy land, all taking place in their snow covered backyard.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Subverted in one episode when Bart, expecting a snow day from a blizzard the previous night, walks outside to find "unseasonable warmth".
    • Also subverted in an episode where the Simpsons travel to Australia during the winter in America. Homer, having taken a sled, is disappointed to be told by Lisa that it's actually summer in Australia.
    • The creators have also said that the whole origin of the "Mr. Plow" episode was because they wanted to do an episode where it was snowy but not Christmas.
    • EVERY Christmas in Springfield is white. In fact, in the episode "White Christmas Blues," due to the nuclear emissions released from the power plant combined with the air from the tire yard fire, Springfield becomes the only place in America to have a white Christmas, thus attracting many tourists for the season.
    • In "Tis' the 30th Season," it appears that only Springfield and surrounding areas have snow on Christmas; when the family drives outside of Springfield there is no snow anywhere, and not just Florida but also Tennessee. On their way back they seemingly come across a snowstorm... but it turns out to be an asbestos factory. Earlier in the episode, it even starts snowing on Thanksgiving night as a sign that Christmas is coming.
  • The Snowman: While the original comic book wasn't set on Christmas, the cartoon adaptation is.
  • In the TaleSpin Christmas Episode "Jolly Molly Christmas", Molly dreaming of a white Christmas is a plot point. The climate in Cape Suzette is subtropical or tropical, so the adults keep telling her that this is impossible. In the end, it begins to snow nevertheless.
  • In a Christmas episode of Taz-Mania, it's snowing outside. In December. In the Southern Hemisphere.
  • A first-season episode of The Transformers subverted the trope by having a snowball fight in July in the middle of a desert, made possible because the Decepticons were draining heat from the Earth's core. That desert never saw snow for the rest of the series.
  • The Rankin/Bass Christmas special White Christmas has this as part of its storyline.

  • Films and stories about the life of Jesus usually feature warm if not desert-like weather. However, Christmas nativity scenes sometimes (thought not frequently) portray Jesus' birth as having taken place during snow. Snow in Bethlehem is only slightly more likely than it is in Jerusalem, where it is exceedingly rare (just over 30 days of snow, cumulatively, in the last 60 years), and has never been recorded to occur before January. The Roman Empire saw global temperatures several degrees higher than they are today. However, it's quite likely to have been raining. And this is assuming that Jesus was actually born in December... many historians are convinced that the Roman Catholic Church placed Christmas in the early winter to coincide with the Winter Solstice in order to attract pagans and that he was more likely born in March or April.
    • This isn't really debated among historians at all. It's an established fact that the birthday of Christ was moved by the Roman church to coincide with Saturnalia (Roman Winter Solistice), just like nearly every Christian holiday was moved to co-opt a more popular Pagan holiday the locals refused to give up.
      • The question of time of birth comes from cues in the Biblical text that are not consistent with winter. For one, shepherds would not be tending sheep flocks at night during the winter (but they would in Spring).
    • One of the best known Christmas carols, "In the Bleak Midwinter" by Christina Rosetti, portrays Nativity in this way.
    • Not everyone celebrates Christmas in December. Orthodox Christians celebrate it in January, if only because the Orthodox Church still uses the old Julian calendar, which is currently off by two weeks (Christmas thus being January 7). In the Julian calendar Christmas is still December 25. Note, though, that not all Orthodox Churches use it; some have switched to the modern (Gregorian) calendar and thus celebrate Christmas in line with the non-Orthodox churches.
  • Beyond the 60th North latitude (or 50th in a deep continental area, like the entirety of Russia), a white Christmas is almost guaranteed. The first snowfall will be in late November, and the permanent snow cover has usually arrived at latest for St. Anna (9th December). The further north, the earlier.
  • A variation was intentionally averted for many years by the National Football League with the Super Bowl. The game has traditionally been played in late January or early February, when many big football cities are covered in snow. However, up until the NFL pardoned the Meadowlands (just across the Hudson from New York City), who eventually won their bid for the 2014 game, they required host city candidates to have either a domed stadium or average temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Now there's a chance that Dreaming of a White Super Bowl will become a reality.
  • Although the country is at a similar latitude to Spain and France, Japan is one of the more likely places to see consistent white Christmases, in part due to its placement next to Russia and China, which regularly send cold air across the Sea of Japan during the winter. While Western and Southern Japan have a much more mild climate and generally don’t get snow, Central and Northern Japan (the Chubu and Tohoku regions, plus Hokkaido) can get snowfall several meters thick during the winter, with Aomori City and Sapporo particularly famous for their snow festivals around Christmastime.
  • Parts of Australia nearly had a white Christmas in 2010 which for Australia would be rare, considering Christmas is in the summer there.
    • In 2006, freak weather conditions resulted in up to 30cm (a foot) of snow falling in some areas of the Victorian and New South Wales highlands on Christmas Day.
    • At least one hotel in southern Australia has been known to arrange "Yuletide Festivals" in June, when there is snow in those parts.
  • In 2009, a December 22-28 snowstorm that hit the Midwestern US hard stretched far enough south to give Dallas, Texas its first White Christmas since 1929. Other parts of Texas had snowfalls of 9 or more inches.
    • In 2004, a Christmas snowstorm brought significant snowfall to parts of southern Texas and Lousiana. El Campo, Texas, saw 11 inches on Christmas Eve. In Brownsville (a far-South Texas city bordering Mexico), it was their first measurable snowfall since 1899.
  • The city of Raleigh, capital of North Carolina, has never had snowfall on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day since the city was founded in 1796. Yet there have been white Christmases in other relatively nearby cities (like Durham and Chapel Hill), just NEVER Raleigh itself.
    • Coastal North Carolina is worse— we're lucky enough for it to snow even once a winter, let alone accumulate. Even then, the snow comes in late January or in February, which are normally colder months than December. Though it did snow on the night of Christmas Day in 2010, and wound up dumping 15 inches of snow the next day. What's worse, the coast is absolutely frigid during the winter, with lows frequently dipping down into the 20s and teens. It just doesn't snow, ever.
    • Speaking of Norfolk, Virginia, it does snow there during winter at least once almost every year. But hardly ever in December. Nevertheless, because of cultural conventions, we always (vainly) dreamed of a white Christmas while growing up.
  • During the holiday season of 1989 the United States experienced near-record low temperatures. It snowed on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for the first time in five decades, and on Christmas Night it got cold enough nationally for a light snowfall to occur in Southern California of all places.
  • After the holiday season of 1999, eastern Massachusetts has only had two white Christmases, in 2009 and 2010, even though during the rest of the winter the region is often very snowy.
  • Downplayed by Thomas Kinkade, of all people. His city Christmas pictures are realistic enough to have slush in the streets instead of everything salted down clean and dry.
  • The Pacific Northwest has a good snowstorm about once a decade. But the wet, windy Decembers are enough for a carol ("Christmas in the Northwest") to have a chorus saying it's a "gift... trimmed in green"
  • Averted in the Midwest during the 2010s, in the Decembers of 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015 (the latter two had theirs in November instead).
  • While snow usually starts in the New York City region around December, the city's last official white Christmas was in 2002. (The infamous 2010 blizzard took place on Christmas weekend, but began the day afterwards).


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Hollywood Winter


Pizza Tower Freezerator

A rare Video Game example, the level title card for "Refrigerator-Refrigerador-Freezerator"

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Example of:

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