It’s been a busy day today, but I’ still no further along with my Christmas preparations. This morning I joined a volunteer group that my boyfriend manages for their winter conservation task. While they got stuck into coppicing, I built a fire and cooked jacket potatoes for everyone. Then this evening I went to work, helping out at Glow in the Park, a night run event at Eton Dorney.
Standing in the dark at the finish line, in the wind and rain, I started thinking about white Christmases.
There isn’t one official definition of a white Christmas; obviously the chances of snow on 25th December are much greater in the northern countries of the Northern hemisphere, and local definitions vary to reflect local conditions. In Canada, there must be 2cm on snow on the ground at 7am on Christmas day, whereas in the USA there must be at least an inch of snow at 7am (metric system; what’s that?!).
A British white Christmas (where due to our relatively mild, damp climate, and the warming influence of the Gulf Stream, snow is less likely in December) is officially defined by the Met Office when snow is observed falling over the 24 hour period of December 25th. If there is a considerable amount of snow already lying on the ground, that doesn’t count, but if a few flakes are seen to fall, even if they melt before touching the ground, we’ll take it!
I come from North East Scotland, where we have a much greater likelihood of winter snow than other parts of the UK. The infographic below shows snowfalls on Christmas day over the last 50 years. The big spike from the early 80s to the mid-90s (and that I grew up in the northern, snowflake filled part of the map) must explain why I seem to remember that almost all of my childhood Christmases were snowy.