It’s not my favorite Christmas song, but close to it. And it’s not my favorite Christmas movie, but close to it. I’m talking about, “White Christmas.” Whenever I hear this on the radio, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know…” it puts a smile my face. Especially if it’s sung by Bing Crosby with that super-smooth baritone voice.
This is a pic of me and my wife a couple of nights ago during a recent snowfall in a little storybook town near Disneyworld, called Celebration. Of course, it’s not real snow, not in central Florida. Every night in December they close down main street to cars and, once every hour, they turn on these snow machines that blow white sudsy snowflakes all over. We were there with our kids and grandkids and made a great memory.
It also brought back a fond memory of one of my favorite Christmases as a child…
At the end of my 5th grade year, our family moved south to Florida so my Dad could work on the Apollo Space Program. I’ve lived there pretty much ever since. But that year was special. It was the year I experienced my last Christmas with snow (real snow this time).
We lived near Philadelphia. For fans of my first novel, The Unfinished Gift, the neighborhood closely resembles what I described in the book. We could always count on it being cold at Christmas, and that it would snow at least a few times during the winter. But getting those two things to connect at the same time? That was pretty rare. When it does, it’s magic.
It did, that very last year in 5th grade.
I remember my little sister on that Christmas Eve (who is now a grandmother), screaming as she looked out the window of our living room. “It’s snowing! It’s really snowing!” We all ran to look.
Behind us, the Christmas tree stood sparkling in the corner, surrounded by tempting presents. The stockings were hung, thumbtacked to the stairway (we didn’t have a fireplace). Sugar cookies and egg nog were set out on the coffee table. But none of that mattered now. My big brother opened the front door, and we all ran outside, spinning around with our mouths open, trying to catch the snowflakes on our tongues.
“Kids, get in here. You’ll catch colds,” our mother yelled, to no avail. Still twirling, I looked back at her. She stood there smiling in the doorway (she’s with the Lord now, has been for several years).
We eventually did come inside and finished our Christmas Eve traditions. But every few moments, one of us would get up and check on the snow’s progress. Every time we did, it was still snowing.
And it kept snowing, all night.
We awoke on Christmas Day not to just the delightful scene we expected to find in our living room, but to a Winter Wonderland outside. A full two feet of snow had fallen, with drifts of four to five feet in some places. I’ve yet to see a Christmas card that matches the beauty that lingers in my mind, even now as I recall that moment.
And like a Christmas gift that keeps giving…the next day, the snow plows came through, piling up two equal mountains of snow on opposite sides of the street. Our street was filled with kids (kids who played like the Leave It To Beaver era). The plows had made perfect snow forts. So all week long, it was our side against their side of the street.
We had some of the most amazing snowball fights in kid history.
Let’s hear some of your favorite Christmas memories as a child.