Will it snow for Christmas?

December 19, 2022
3-5 minutes

It's a question we all ask every year: will it snow for Christmas? It is a special moment that many of us look forward to, so why does it only happen sometimes? In this blog post, we'll take a look at the science behind snow on Christmas day, and what the chances are of it happening this year.

Is snow on Christmas day common?

For many of us, snow on Christmas day is something we only get to experience occasionally, if at all. This is because it depends largely on where you live, and the weather patterns of that region. In areas where snow is common in winter, Christmas day can bring a white blanket of snow, while in other areas it may be too warm for any snow to stick.

In some parts of the world, snow on Christmas day is a rarity - for example, in the United Kingdom it has only happened twice in the past 20 years. This is because the climate in the UK is milder than in snowier regions.

In the United States, areas in the north and east tend to get snow on Christmas day more often than other parts of the country. This is because these areas are cold enough for snow to form, and the weather patterns in these regions often bring snow during the winter months.

Overall, snow on Christmas day is not a common occurrence, but it does happen in certain parts of the world more than others.

maps of the USA, showing the chances of snow on Christmas day
The History of snow on Christmas day in Paris

Historically, snow on Christmas day in Paris is not a common occurrence. In fact, it has only happened a few times in the past century. The most recent instance of snow on Christmas day in Paris was in 2010, when the city was blanketed in a thick layer of snow that caused widespread travel disruptions and brought holiday cheer to the streets.

However, it's not just Paris that experiences infrequent snow on Christmas day. In fact, much of France tends to be milder than snowier regions, with the exception of the mountainous regions in the east.

picture from Paris under the snow in 2010, les Invalides, street under the snow, white ground
© AFP / Bertrand Guay - Paris under the snow in 2010

Celebrating Christmas in snowy regions

In snowy regions around the world, people have developed a variety of traditions, customs, and activities that are specific to the winter season and the holiday season.

In countries like Canada, the United States, and Sweden, people often celebrate Christmas with outdoor activities such as skiing, ice skating, and snowball fights. These activities are a great way to enjoy the winter weather and get into the holiday spirit.

Family skating on the ice together

In other snowy regions, such as Russia and Finland, people often celebrate Christmas with traditional foods and drinks, such as roast pork, boiled potatoes, and glögg (a warm spiced wine). These foods are a comforting and hearty way to stay warm in the cold winter weather.

Many snowy regions also have unique Christmas traditions and customs. In Norway, for example, people celebrate Christmas Eve with a special meal called "julebord," which includes a variety of traditional dishes and drinks. In Japan, people celebrate Christmas with a mix of Western and Japanese traditions, such as decorating Christmas trees and eating KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken).

ad showing us a tradition in Japan : to eat KFC for the Christmas dinner
Source : The Economist

Can we predict snow on Christmas day?

It may seem like predicting snow on Christmas day is impossible, but it is actually possible to make fairly accurate predictions. Meteorologists use sophisticated models to predict the weather days in advance, and they can often predict snowfall up to a week before Christmas.

These predictions are based on a variety of factors, including the temperature of the air, the humidity, the amount of moisture in the atmosphere, the pressure systems, and the wind direction. By taking all of these factors into account, meteorologists can make a reasonably accurate prediction about the chances of snow on Christmas day.

Of course, these predictions are not always accurate, as the weather can change quickly and unexpectedly. However, they can give us a good idea of what to expect in the days leading up to Christmas.

A man under the snow

Like children waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve, adults may find themselves hoping that the weatherman is wrong this year and that the snow will arrive even if the forecast is for rain. After all, there's nothing quite like the magic of a white Christmas, with the sparkling snow and the cozy warmth of being inside by the fire. For many adults, the prospect of a snowy Christmas brings back memories of childhood holidays and the excitement of waking up to a winter wonderland. Even if the forecast is less than favorable, it's hard not to hold out hope that the weather will take a turn for the white. And who knows, maybe this will be the year that the weatherman is wrong and Christmas morning brings a surprise blanket of snow.