Nothing like a White Christmas

Jerry Apps
For those who live in the northern part of the US, snow and Christmas go together says author Jerry Apps.

For me and many others who live in the north, snow and Christmas go together. Maybe it’s because of songlines like, "I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,” crooned by Bing Crosby.

The song debuted Christmas Day 1941, just three weeks after Pearl Harbor and the beginning of World War II. It provided those of us who were living at that time a powerful image that helped us through the war.

Other songs add to that nostalgic view of Christmas with snow such as “Winter Wonderland" (1934), and “Let it Snow” (1945).

Or maybe the words “Dashing through the snow with a one-horse open sleigh,” to the tune Jingle Bells, performed at each of the eight Christmas Programs I was a part of at our one-room country school. Jingle Bells was written in the mid-1800s and continues to be popular to this day. 

Oh, not to forget — Does Santa Claus ride in a wagon, or in buggy, or a convertible auto? No. He rides in a sleigh. How could Santa make his rounds with no snow?  Unthinkable.

As a kid, Christmas meant Christmas vacation, two weeks away from school. Two weeks to go skiing and sledding, and building snow forts, and throwing snowballs at your brothers. Christmas vacation without snow was like going swimming in a dried-up lake.

Often overlooked, but I suspect not so much this year with all the COVID worries, Christmas lights sparkling on new-fallen snow are as beautiful as anything imaginable.

Merry Christmas to all.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Freshly fallen snow makes Christmas special.

Jerry Apps

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work, go to