Jesse Ferrell

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Exposed: Why We Dream of a White Christmas

November 18, 2009; 11:09 AM ET

UPDATE Dec. 2013: Climate.Gov has released a newer and more accurate version of their "Chance of a White Christmas" map, based on the new 1981-2010 data set. Unfortunately, due to it being a different design, I can't compare it to the previous climate data set any more than I did last year in my blog entry "White Christmas vs. Global Warming."

ORIGINAL REPORT (Nov. 2009):

With holidays coming up, the song "Over The River" starts playing in my head... but why did the "horse" have to "know the way through... drifting snow" in a Boston suburb for Thanksgiving? It turns out that most Holiday lore was invented in the 1800s during a climatic event known as "The Little Ice Age," when pre-holiday snow was common in the populated areas of New England and Europe. I've dusted off a blog entry that I wrote in 2006 and have refreshed it with larger graphics and corrected links.

Read on to find out to find out the meteorological significance of these holiday gems:

"Over the River and Through the Woods" (1840s)

- November snow was common in Boston

Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" (1840s)

- London would often have snow cover in December

"Twas the Night Before Christmas" (1820s)

- December snow was typical then in New York City

- Reindeer (Arctic animals) aren't found at this latitude anymore

The Song "A White Christmas" (1942)

- Was done later but they were "dreaming" about stories their grandparents told them

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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Jesse Ferrell
Jesse Ferrell's WeatherMatrix blog covers extreme weather worldwide with a concentration on weather photos and Social Media.