Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Countdown to Christmas: Blame it on Irving Berlin

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

The sun is shining
The grass is green
The orange and palm trees sway.
I’ve never seen such a day
In Beverly Hills LA.
But it’s December the 24th
And I am longing to be up North.

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know.
Where the treetops glisten,
And children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow.

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write.
May your days be merry and bright.
And may all your Christmases be white.

Irving Berlin penned the lyrics to White Christmas in 1942 while living in L.A. and missing his family in the Northeast. What most people aren’t familiar with is the long-forgotten first stanza of this famous song [see above] where he laments about being where the grass is green and palm trees sway. He could only dream and reminisce what it used to be like.

So, I blame it on Irving Berlin. If it weren’t for White Christmas, we might never have gotten it into our heads that we needed snow at Christmas in order for it to be a ‘perfect’ Christmas.  Is this where the notion that it should be snowing at Christmas comes from? What about all those Christmas movies where it magically starts to snow on Christmas? What about all the commercials on television during this time of year—isn’t it always snowing? Somehow snow on Christmas has become the ideal, and if you don’t have any you feel cheated.

Really, he ruined it for me. I’ve always expected snow for the holidays. When it didn’t come, it just didn’t seem like Christmas. I grew up in upstate New York where snow was usually plentiful by Christmas. When we moved to Florida in my teen years it seemed very strange indeed not to have any chance of it. On to Colorado, where in the earlier years there was very often snow on the ground for Christmas. But not always. I think the best Christmas-y weather and feelings as an adult came when we lived in Germany for two years back in 1983-85. It was cold, snowy, and walking through the Kriskindlmarkts sipping on glüwein to keep warm always put me in the mood.

I’ve always had this little dream vision in my head about taking a sleigh ride through crisp, frosty air and pulling up to a house brightly lit from within, complete with a roaring fire. Maybe I’ve combined several Christmas songs into my dream. I found the graphic above in my stash of clip art [I added the words] which pretty much is my vision of what it should be like.

One year Rick and I did manage to stay at a lovely inn in Aspen for my birthday [which comes a mere three days after the big event] where there was a lot of snow and we even went for a sleigh ride. But the sleigh was more like a wagon on runners and many other people shared the ride with us. It was close, the closest I have come to living out that dream, but not it.

As I sit in my study typing this entry, we have a gray and bleak day outside my window. It’s been raining; not snowing. The temperature stands in the high 40s and is not going to be dropping anytime soon to allow those gorgeous ice crystals to form and drop to earth. It’s very much looking like we’ll be having a non-White Christmas this year. Again.  ~ Sigh~  Over the years I’ve resigned myself to the fact that the ‘perfect’ White Christmas will only ever exist in one place: in my imagination. Down deep inside I know that snow does not make a Christmas, yet every year I keep watching the weather forecasts and the sky. Hoping. Waiting.

Mr. Berlin, it’s all your fault.


Welcome, I'm Lynne. You know me better as a 'new' Jersey Girl. But now I've moved once again, this time to North Carolina. Here I write about my thoughts, good food, and of course, dogs.

© 2006-2023 Lynne Robinson All photography and text on this blog is copyright. For use or reproduction please ask me first.

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