Adults, tucked cozily beside a warming fireplace, glowing tree, and freshly unwrapped gifts, interrupt conversations with beloved family members long enough to lift their heads from their eggnog to look out a picture window and see the perfectly behaved children sleigh riding and building snowmen while a gently falling snow blankets a backdrop of pine trees dotted with bright red cardinals.
That, or something like it, is what most of us imagine Christmas will be like.
For those who celebrate, a White Christmas is one of the most romanticized of all Christmas-related events and activities. However, this year will be markedly different from the last couple of years in terms of the number of people who will be able to enjoy the white magic on Christmas Day, according to Weather Trends 360.
Just 28% of the nation will have a White Christmas this year, according to company representative Nancy Hite-Norde. This would be a five-year low.
Weather Trends predicts that snow cover will be more widespread in the west than the east this year, with the areas with at least a 90% chance of having a White Christmas including the mountains of Washington, Oregon, and California, most of the Rocky Mountains, the northern plains, parts of the upper midwest, and northern New England.
The forecasting company notes that some wet snow might fall in parts of the northeast on Christmas Eve but not stick around for Christmas Day and that a stormier pattern is expected from the middle of January through March.
Nearly 60% of the nation had some snow on the ground on 2009, which was close to a record. The snow extended fairly far south into the southern plains and covered the highly populated regions of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
Last year, snow cover was not quite as expansive, covering roughly 53% of the nation, but that included a rare Christmas snow storm in parts of the deep south, including parts of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia, as is indicated on the snow cover map of early on December 26, 2010.
If this forecast is correct, then the romanticized White Christmas might not materialize for many of us, but, come to think of it, that might be for the best. Overly romanticized events are rarely as good as expected -- maybe we'll end up without weather-related travel delays and fewer slush and salt stains on the carpet.
Besides, the kids would probably become whiny and sick from spending too much time in the cold and snow.