“White Christmas” by Bing Crosby

I suppose for most Winnipeggers to have snow on Christmas day is not all that uncommon. In fact, it would probably be unnatural to not have had snowfall yet in the season, but growing up in southern B.C. I really came to appreciate the magic and mystery of the possibility of a white Christmas because the best we usually got was rain.

American composer Irving Berlin is possibly best known for his composition “White Christmas,” immortalizing this mystical possibility that some of us can only dream of. The classic Christmas ballad “White Christmas” was originally written for the 1942 film Holiday Inn, in which entertainer Jim Hardy (played by Bing Crosby) decides to open an inn that is only open during each of the American holidays. Therefore, the song “White Christmas” only features in one small part of this movie. From the public comments Crosby made about the song at the time, it was evident that he did not think it was a song of any consequence.

There are some who speculate that because the song was popularized by Holiday Inn during World War II, and people were clinging to Christmas’ “just like the ones they used to know,” the song’s hopeful message: “May your days be merry and bright,” only became so well-known because of the time in history, and would not have otherwise.

However, 12 years after Holiday Inn, this song was still dear to the hearts of many because the hit musical White Christmas, which featured the theme of “White Christmas” throughout, was the highest-grossing movie of 1954. And though I was a child of the 1990s and not the 1950s, I grew up watching my VHS tape of White Christmas, and not just at Christmas. I loved that movie year-round.

I don’t know what it is about nostalgia and those things that remind us of older times and other places (even if they aren’t necessarily our memories) that leave us with such a warm pleasant feeling, but I know that “White Christmas” is that thing for me.

Last year, right after exams were finished in the fall semester I was booked to get all my wisdom teeth out. Needless to say it was not the most enjoyable experience and for the days leading up to Christmas I was lying like a limp sleepy vegetable, unable to eat anything but applesauce in my parents’ basement. I watched Christmas movies and ate applesauce for days, and the one movie that just made the whole wretched wisdom teeth removal process bearable was White Christmas. Even with a wad of gauze in my face I still couldn’t help trying to sing along.

Despite the magic and wonder of the song, though, I still didn’t get a white Christmas last year, so I moved to Winnipeg to increase my chances.